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108 braids... the devotional representation of a sacred Tibetan number. Photo by Rebecca Thom, China Semester.

Yet Another Yak

We started our day with a trip to a quaint convenience store nestled between two cinder block apartment buildings. The three of us quenched our thirst with some scrumptious fermented milk. We then crusaded through the city in search of wifi. However, to our dismay, upon our arrival at Starbucks we discovered that our wifi quest was in vain. Dejected but not defeated, we resolved to seek out the next best thing: cellular data plans. We trekked our way through hoards of sales people, dancing cheerleaders, and bloodthirsty motuoches. We fell into the jaws of a villainous Dage. When we discovered his macabre plan to bamboozle us, we scurried off. Grateful and still high on adrenaline from our narrow escape, we enlisted the help of charitable patrons. Among the sea of recruits, one guardian angel in her golden fifties shone through. This savior wove her way through the labyrinth of assertive salespersons and blinding strobe lights. Having guided us to our SIM card oasis, she set off to find other wandering souls in need of assistance. After perusing our options, we came across the holy grail of data plans. With unparalleled finesse and a satisfying *click*, the China telecom employee swapped our American SIM cards for Chinese counterparts. Now wielding the powers of the internet, we strutted our way to the China Construction Bank. Facing a Chinese-speaking, card-gobbling juggernaut, our chances of success were slim. Nevertheless, we were able to withdraw enough cash to fund our adventures to come. The growl of our stomachs next beckoned: we set off in search of sustenance. We made the fateful mistake of almost patronizing the bougiest eatery in town which was poised to drain us of the bounty we had just amassed at the bank. Feeling fond of our money, we awkwardly slithered out of the restaurant and made our way to a low-key super-‘caszh’ noodle joint. FIN.

As mundane as this day may have seemed, the challenges we faced completing everyday tasks revealed an unexpected yet meaningful aspect of our Bridge Year. In the process of our assimilation into Chinese culture, we’ll become more cognizant of the little things that shape our lives.