The Confucian Temple Mansion and Graveyard

The Confucian Temple Mansion and Graveyard

John Vitiello

Meet ... John Vitiello

China Study Abroad Major: History
Location: Beijing, China
Studying: Spending four weeks immersed in the Chinese culture while visiting majestic, historical sites and studying at the prestigious Institute of Chinese as Second Language of Peking University.

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I really liked this part of the trip I think the real reason why was because of the historian in me. The things I saw I thought I would only ever see pictures of not the real thing I read about in my history books. The temple had much of the same architecture of the Forbidden City but, I had this thought in the back of my mind the whole time.

I am walking where Confucius himself was a few hundred years ago this isn’t a feeling non-history majors I feel really understand. On this trip I am one of three history majors on this trip, and I feel like we enjoy these things a lot more than others on the trip.

John Vitiello For example I saw a tree that was over 1,800 years old; the tree is almost 2,000 years old! I thought it was just amazing. The only problem with this trip is that we went with other students from a different school and they wasted all of our free time waiting in line for a picture with a person dressed up as an emperor.

We of course had to wait for all them to be finished. I really wouldn’t have minded this except that 2 others and I skipped our lunch so we could go check out the stores we had to rush pass and not even look at because the other kids used up our free time.

We also rushed through Confucius’s mansion ( we had to go through his entire mansion in 15 minutes) and his graveyard because they wasted all our time so I couldn’t get many pictures. Even with this set back I still had an amazing time walking where Confucius walked and thought about his philosophies. (tree that’s 1,800 years old)

Being Sick in China

For 3 days I wasn’t feeling to great while in China. I didn’t have a small little cold I lost my voice and couldn’t stop coughing. Luckily for me I just locked myself in my dorm for 3 days and just concentrated on getting better and my Chinese teachers were very understanding about it and let me make up all my work.

Catching up wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be but, being sick in a country where you can’t speak the dominate language is very frustrating. Not only was I sick but, my air conditioner was broken by beeping every 30 seconds like clockwork at 3 a.m. caused me to just have a bad few days back to back luckily I was still able to go to the trip over the weekend despite not feeling at a 100 percent.

Mount Tai

John Vitiello This was an amazing experience for me this was the first time I was at the very top of an actually mountain (not including ski resorts which I just consider to be a giant hill). Dr. Jing Lou was telling us how the climb was going to be difficult but, the first half of the mountain was easy I thought the rest was going to be as well … I couldn’t be further from the truth.

The last thousand stairs or so were almost vertical my foot couldn’t even fit on them on the decent down from the mountain myself and most of the other guys had to like walk a duck so we could fit our feet on the stairs. It was a hard and grueling but, when we got to the top the view was so amazing it was beyond worth it. I took so many pictures on the climb up and I can’t find a single one of my 90 pictures I took that day that can even capture a tenth of the beauty I saw.

This easily trumped the trip to the Forbidden City or anywhere else I have been in my entire life I just wish I could find one picture to show how awesome it really was to be on top of that mountain.

Haggling

John Vitiello Before I went to china I talked to my Chinese friend Jayson of what to expect while trying to buy stuff in Beijing he told me something I take into account every time I buy something EVERYTHING is negotiable. I love to barter and I can tell the locals hate me for it my friend Jayson told me to at least cut everything in half and that’s what I have pretty much done every time.

There are three strategies that I have really used here that have been the most successful two ironically I actually learned in my psych class without even knowing about it. The first is called the foot in the door technique you make an offer and you stick to it no matter what I usually go 40 percent of the actual price the trick is to keep harassing them and to not budge at your offer at all this however only works if you’re the only customer which is actually the case most of the time.

My psych professor gave the example in class of a door to door salesmen when you try to shut the door in his face he puts his foot there and just keeps making an offer until you pay him to leave. I can see the people getting frustrated with a stubborn foreigner who refuses to get ripped off and I love doing this one of my Chinese friends I have met here was actually very impressed that I convinced a guy to go down to 30 percent of the original offer on a shirt and was wide eyed when she saw he agreed to the price.

The second technique is make an outrageously small offer so they pretty much tell you to leave then you with the offer you really want this way they think well at least it’s not the 1 kuai he was asking for and they agree to 5 kuai when the original price was 20 kuai. I don’t usually use that one because I much prefer the foot in the door.

The last technique which I use after the foot in the door technique doesn’t work and that’s to just walk away they will call you back and accept your offer. The best way for this to work is to convince them that you really will leave. Back at home one of my friends hates playing risk against me because I can manipulate my other friends to doing whatever I want. Here in china it’s just like risk at home except this time around I get to bring back a trophy.

The Kung-Fu Show

We saw a Kung-Fu show last week that was a part of our pricing for the trip. I thought it was just going to be a demonstration of the art and be just a good time killer for our trip. The show was however amazing it had a story of a shaolin monk going through arrival to becoming the master. I wasn’t paying attention to much to the story but, more to the crazy stunts everyone was doing.

There were about 10 kids in the show no older than 10 doing backflips but, landing on their head and keep going and going and going. Another guy was being help up with 3 spears, 1 pointing at his neck and 2 in his chest. He was being held up by that and it looked extremely painful but, he didn’t even look like it fazed him. I wish I took pictures during the show but, we were told extensively not to do it so the actors didn’t get hurt.

I could sit here and explain everything that I saw in the show but, it’s really something you have to see in person and not something you can read in a few words online. The stuff these actors go through physically really shows off in the show no mistakes, perfect form, and kept the audience amazed from beginning to end. I and I think most of the audience feel that the 2 hour show should have been longer it was just so amazing we all wanted more.

    — John Vitiello, history major