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Drew's Blog

The Closing Curtain

Monday, August 17, 2009

Well, it has all come to an end. It was an amazing, life-changing journey and I would not give it up for anything. I learned so much, met amazing people, and tried things that I thought I would never in my entire life. I am truly honored to have this oppurtunity and be chosen for this once in a life time oppurtunity.

The moment that will stay with me forever, was the Great Wall hike. I saw some things that aome people will never see in their lifetime. Only 5,000 people have walked where I stepped foot. It was the most amazing thing i have ever seen, and was amazed by the beauty of it. I described in a past post as something you must see for yourself, and i stand by my word. No words are great enough for me to use to describe that wonder.

I want to take this time to thank everyone for making this trip possible. DSA, your an amazing group of people, with a great idea. I hope all goes well for your future business. Thank you to China Star tourism, and the whole china staff, you made this trip everythine it could be. Thank you teachers, you are all amazing people. especially Ms. Sullivan for taking me on this trip and believing that I was qualified to be on this trip. I also want to think the other students on this trip. You all are wonderful people, and i am honored to call you my friends. We grew so close on this trip, and the trip would not be the same with each person there.

So in conclusion, this trip was so unbeliveable that I am speechless. Thank you everyone for making this trip possible, I had the time of my life. Not much more to say... Drew Regino, out.

a night for the ages.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Today, being the last full day of adventure will be remembered forever. It started with a 5 15 wake up call. The past two mornings there was a light tap or two on the door, but this morning felt like some was trying to knock down our door. I woke up with a little bit of a startle, and it was time to get ready. We woke early again, yet for a different reason. Today we were able to learn kung fu with a Shaolin warrior monk. It was truly an honor to be able to take adive from such a talented young adult. We started off with a stretch routine, followed by a hold of three different positions. I can not wait to keep doing these at home, to build legs of a warrior monk. The excerises were not easy. And the holds were nearly impossible for me. I could only hold them for oh so long. The next thing was kicks. They were veru hard to do. We had to keep synchronized with our partner and had to keep our hands up and to the side. We finished in a sweat, just to take pictures on the steps of the temple. Some of the shots came out really cool. After we went back to the hotel and to breakfast. We had breakfast, which by the way was delicious (I finally had some cereal). Down time was next, and perfect for a nap. *fter waking up, we went to practice more kung fu with the warrior monks. This time we went on a special hill, that had been burn down in the ming dynasty. Our tour guide, riley, pointed out out two trees that were still naked without leaves. It was amazing to see the lasting damage. We practiced a special routine, that would be tested later. It was a similiar routine to the one we learned in the kung fu school, but was different at some parts. We finished under the hot sun of china, and had some lunch. We had another couple hours just to relax becuase our test was coming up. We traveled into the Shaolin Temple, and it was time for judgement. We practiced once more and then it was down to business. We had one partner and they watched us perform. I made some mistakes but I did my best, and I passed the test. I received my certificate for passing kung fu, and it was actually stamped with the seal of the master of kung fu. It was so cool to have, and will keep that forever. After we were done, we took more pictures. Theb everyone started to take single pictures with them. They all did special kung fu poses. I was the last to go, and I taught them my famous thinkin pose. It was one of the best pictures of the trip. We had to go back to the hotel after doind a little shopping. We soom learned that the monks and our kung fu teachers would be joining us for dinner. I was really excited for it. Dinner and arrived and it was awesome to understand the monks. They are just bormal human beings who have dreams just like us. One even wanted to be a movie star like the next jackie chan. His name was Andy, and I told him he should be a comdian. He was cracking us up. He spoke some english, so we could actually talk to him. The other monk was Tommy, he did not speak much english, and he wanted to be an abbot, which is one of the head monks. Then I made my way over to the kung fu students, they were really shy, and one of our guides, Mama Ping, told me that the chinese are really shy and it takes a while for them to get out of their shell. After an amazing dinner, we had a special talent show. There was a lot of singing and some absolutely crazy acrobatics. I was amazed by everything. We even sang a chinese song. Some monk warriors did special zodiac routines, basing it off a certain animal. There was a scorpion, and and a monkey. It was outrageous to see. I was going to beatbox, but there was no microphone. It was such a cool night, and I was almost flustered that I was witnessing it. I was the happiest kid in the world yesterday night.

morning prayer

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Today was s day for the ages. It was started by a 4 30 wake up call, which was followed by a quick walk to meet up with staff and students. It was there when I found out I forgot my I'd tag, and had to run back to the room to get it. As I ran back to the room, a dog actually started ti chase me. This was when I saw cory and some of the other guys, and as I tried to move inbetween them, I happened to catch cory in the fcae with my fist/elbow (not really sure which one, and sorry cory). I got my flourescent orange I'd necklace, and hurried back to the group. I just so happened to catch up with my bud cory key. Anyway, after that action packed morning, I was ready for the reason of my early wake up. Today was the day for our "day in the life of". We were viewing the lifestyle of a monk. It was avery interesting way to see the world. The adventure started off with morning prayer in the great hall. It was an extraordinary experience to see how similiar religous ceremonies are. There is a lot of quiet, yet singing and stillness, yet bowing. To me, as a christian, it was a similiar experience with the songs that the monks were singing, of course I actually know what is being sung about in church. The thing I liked most was that prayer was very involved, whether you were singing, bowing, or walking around the hall in prayer. The monks show dedication, as to that's what they do every morning. After prayer, we had breakfast. As we stepped into the dining hall we had to bow our heads and say spirtual words that sound like "army tofu-a". Then came the
food. In the buddhist religion, it is considered disrespectful to leave food on your plate. The meal was vegeterian because the monks do not eat meat. There was a coleslaw looking thing, and pepper and onion looking thing, and to wash it down was milk with sugar in it. I am proud to say that I finished mine, as well as two of my fellow friends. After breakfast was our morning chore. We had to sweep the courtyard, and it was empowering as we saw one of the keepers of the temple, nicknamed "uncle". He was an old man, whi looked like he had been doing this forever. He wanted to help us so bad, and by the end of our chore he picked up his broom and started doing his job. To help out and see how the monks live their lives was such an amazing thing. I will always remeber it, and think to myself "what would buddah do". As. I got back to the hotel, I realized that it was still morning because of how early our day started. It was time to do my new workout. We reached the small dragon kung fu school, and it was time to learn more. This time we dealt with bambo sticks and swords. It was unreal to watch them spin these weapons perfectly. I had a chance to work with the bambo. He taught us a move, that at first looked impossible, but then after I showing us slowly, I was able to do the move. It was sych a cool feeling to learn these crazy skills. After, we went back to practicing the routine we had learned early becuase we have to perform it in front of the students tomorrow. So, we practiced for a couple mor minutes, and it was back to the hotel. We had a two hour rest, to get back our legs, and then it wax back to school. We had to get this routine down in perfection. But when we arrived at the school, we had a performance waiting for us. Some students put on a show with different skills, including flips and jumps, punches and kicks, but there was one part that really amazed me. This students took the chi and focused on one part of the body, and then borke something. One student broke an iron clad with his head. (I tried to do it, and it did not work so well). There was also another student who was held up with spears. One was even on his neck. Another cool part was when this one kid, who was probably 6 or 7 was move his body like a rubberband. There was even one part where he had both legs around his neck, while he held himself in the air. It was a breathtaking performance. But then, we had to practice some more. We started to get really good. We still need some memorizing though. After our tiring practice, we wnt shopping and it was there where I finished my gift shopping, I also bought a pair of shoes... (For 4 dollars american!). Which brings me for my next point, the shopping in china is ridiculous. It is so cheap here, that I wonder how there economy could last, and then I remember that everything is now produced in China. All in all it was great day, a long one, but a great one. It felt like a blur, and the trip is now coming to an end. But hey, we got a couple days left, and I am sure going to make the best of it!

highhhh ya!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The alarm rang at 6 30. I woke up, took a shower, and got ready for my lesson at kung fu. It was the best workout I have ever done in my life. There were squats, punches, kicks, and I had no clue what was happening. In the end, the routine looked awesome and man was I tired. Tomorrow, we have more lessons and I simply can not wait. Then, we went to an ancient astronomy section, and saw how the winter solstice and summer solstices are judged. These things were built over 800 years ago, and its amazing to see that they still work today, and how incredibly intelligent they were. Lunch was next (thank god) and I had the best fish I have ever tasted in my young life. I was telling some jokes, and I learned some new ones too (I cheated by looking them up online through my blackberry, again what would the world do with out technology?). Tonight we have dinner and watching a performance of kung fu. For this blog, I just want to give a shout out to my man cory key, and my man jimbo. Today, we got some good shots boys. Next time, I'm going to do a head flip. Get the shot. Just saying... I did not do a head flip. Theu wouldn't teach me. I was just playing around.

big buddah

Monday, August 10, 2009

Today was one of the most interesting days of the trip. I learned a lot of cool things, and learned things that I will keep with me forever. We started the day off at the Longmen Grove. This was a mountain of sandstone, that was carved into buddahs. But this is not like Mt. Rushmore, there are more than 100000 buddahs sculpted into this mountain. The height ranging from 17 meters to 4 centimeters. The coolest part of the place was learning about the defacing of some of the statues. Some sculptures had the heads obliverated off because some emperors had different beliefs in religion. Taoism and Buddism were the different religions, that were often butting heads. People also pay a heafty salary to steal one of the heads of the scultures, another reasoning for the decapitated bodies. This was one of the more interesting places we have been to. Then, we were on the bus again to go to the Shaolin Temple. As we reached Shaolin, we found that we were going to meet the master at the Temple. It was very important to be respectful towards these very religious people, because they are so conservative. He gave us a lecture on th brief history of the Shaolin monks. He also gave us tips on life, and how we should release all anger, greed, and stupidity. Because if were are to do this, we will be rewarded in the after life. Daniel asked what was the name of the buddhist afterlife is. The master said that we should not worry about our afterlife now, and live in our present ones. :e also stated that it doesn't matter what kind of afterlife we have, he related it to christianity and how christians believe in heaven. The master added that we all have a little heaven in our hearts, and the best way to live our life is with a pure heart, like a childs. I will take what the master had to say, and keep it lodged into my brain. It was so wise, and enpowering. I wonder what there is to be learned next!

all i can eat?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

What's going on everyone? Its drew from china. I am on a bus to go back to Beijing. We have to go to the train station, for an overnight ride to go to the Shaolin temple. With travel in mind, we had to wake up early, and we only had a small event planned for the day. We went to a palace where the emperor would stay. It was said to have 400 steps (I only counted 200). It actually reminded me of the globe theatre that was in England. It was a really nice theatre that was very vivid and colorful. The coolest thing had to be the roof. It was made of gold, and you could actually see the gold scratched off the first layer of the roof. But the top layer was perfectly conserved because they could not get to the top. It was a very interesting fact. Now we are going on an overnight train to go to Shaolin temple to learn kung fu. But the best part of the day, all I can eat McDonalds. Later!

drew in china. day 8

Today was as tiring as the treck at the great wall. We walked down to a normal breakfast of eggs, french toast, and bacon. I was as happy as a man could be. Then we walked onto the bus, and awaited our next adventure, the summer mountain resort. We funneled out of the bus, and walkked through the gates to a small concert. The musicians played music as they would to the emperor. Such music played was the four seasons. After, we were able to go closer to the instruments. I even played one of the ancient string instruments. The most rugged part was climbing what I like to call the mini wall of china. It was a wall closing out the summer mountain resort. The wall was a workout with the very steep hills. It was very very tiring. We then had a picnic to end our trip to the resort. Our next destination was a paper cutting place. There art was very intricate. I made my own, a bat, and then bought two as gifts. It was a very cool experience. To end our night we went to dinner and watched a talent show. We even went up to go and dance for one of the singers. All in all it was a great and eventfull day. Can't wait to see what's next!

drew in china. day 8

Today was as tiring as the treck at the great wall. We walked down to a normal breakfast of eggs, french toast, and bacon. I was as happy as a man could be. Then we walked onto the bus, and awaited our next adventure, the summer mountain resort. We funneled out of the bus, and walkked through the gates to a small concert. The musicians played music as they would to the emperor. Such music played was the four seasons. After, we were able to go closer to the instruments. I even played one of the ancient string instruments. The most rugged part was climbing what I like to call the mini wall of china. It was a wall closing out the summer mountain resort. The wall was a workout with the very steep hills. It was very very tiring. We then had a picnic to end our trip to the resort. Our next destination was a paper cutting place. There art was very intricate. I made my own, a bat, and then bought two as gifts. It was a very cool experience. To end our night we went to dinner and watched a talent show. We even went up to go and dance for one of the singers. All in all it was a great and eventfull day. Can't wait to see what's next!

beatboxing on the great wall

Friday, August 7, 2009

We camped under the stars next to The Great Wall, and boy was it rigorous yet fun. We had to pitch our own tents, and roll out the mats and sleeping bags. The wake up call was set to be at 5 in the morning, and that was not a problem with me. I woke up at 4 30 in the morning out of sheer excitement. The team packed up, ate breakfast, and we were of for our hike. We found out that we were climbing up a very steep hill right off our base camp, and it was the right way to start. Our team reached the first beacon tower shortly after we set off from base, and the view was breath taking. I was talking to a friend during the trip, and we talked about how there are literally no words to describe the great wall, because a single word does not give the wall justice. To really get the feeling of this unbelievable structure, you must go take a look yourself. As I looked at the wall around me, I could not stop wondering how this amazing thing was built. The thoughts soon made it's turn as we made our way from the wall towards a detour. The hike away from the wall was trechorous and demanding. It was simply just walking on top of the wall. We were climbing, sliding, and some were even falling. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Who else can get go through a massive corn field and actually climb up the great wall. It was an amazing experience, and it made me aware of the beauty of the wall. It truly deserves its place as one of the seven wonders of the world.

Running with the greats...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

As I woke up this morning, I realized that today was the day that I most anticipated. Today was the day that I would visit the "new coliseum", the National Stadium, better known as the Bird's Nest. As we drove up to the stadium, my jaw dropped to the floor. The building that was on my television all day, was now right in front of me. And before I knew it, I was knocking the hollow steel. The structure looked like a puzzle, and all I could wonder was how this tremendous building was thought of and created. I stepped through towards the field and soaked it in. I ran down the steps and onto the track, just spinning around looking at what was surrounding me. As I finished looking at the beautiful structure around me, I thought of a great idea. I wanted to run around the track. It actually started off as a 100 yard race with Daniel (he used to run track and beat me, not by much though!). We closed our competition with a jog. The most amazing part, however, was as I finished I realized that I ran around a track where world records were broken, and were the best athletes in the world stood. As a child, you always want to be a professional athlete, even with the odds against you. As you grow older, you find that those dreams may not necessarily come true. But mine did, I was running where the greats have been. It may not be the Olympics, but it is the closest thing to it. It was as if I were an Olympian.

china part duex

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Today was quite an interesting day. We started of with the Urban Planning Center. This was probably the coolest museum I havew ever been to. From the outside it looked like a normal building, as if it weren't special. But as we wlked onto the escalators, you saw the beauty of the interior. It was one of the most modern places I have ever been to. The whole museum was based on the architecture of Beijing personal favorite part of the tour was the murals of the buildings built closest to the present. Included was the bird's nest, water cube, snd the performing arts bulding. (His opened my eyes to the true beauty of Beijing. (Hey also has a huge model of Beijing, where the buildings were less then a foot high. You could see the whole city. We also watched an interesting movie on how the city of Beijing was created. After, we went to the promenade and shopped. It was a beautiful strip of great shopping. We then went to lunch and ate mongolian hot pot (not my favorite meal). We had boiling water with onion, and certain spices and we had to boil the meat. (He waitresses thought me and daniel were hysterical). Then we went to learn calligraphy. I learned to draw the symbol for longevity. We also went to see a traditional Hutong home. (He layout was beautiful because all the rooms were built around the courtyard. We ended that adventure off with a rickshaw ride, which was very cool. The final thing we did was go to the silk museum. It was amazing to see how silk is created with the cocoons. They take the silk worm cocoon and boil it enabling it to stretch out. This is how they make the really fluffy silk comforters. The process was really unbelievable.

ping pong, tenmple of heaven, forbidden city oh my...

Monday, August 3, 2009

To say that today was amazing would be an understatment. First, we saw the temple of heaven, we walked up the steps the center of the earth, abd theb practiced tai chi in the park. Tai chi was awesome and reccomend it to anyone looking for a relaxing yet rigorous workout. The coolest part was facing the tai chi master one on one. The object was to push the other off balance, and I think you know who won.
The next stop was the forbbidden city. This was the most amazing architecture I have ever seen. You know your in china when... You see a building that you could see in america (or anyother part of the world). The detail and how big it was amazed me and my fellow friends. But the next stop I have to say was unforgetable.
Our final stop was to a ping pong school. We actually watched the young students practice, abd then we were able to play. I got coached by the chinese olympic ping pong coach. His tips were so helpful that by the end I really started to play well. The coolest part was that we actually got to play the students. I was with the oldest student there and man was he good. But he took it easy on me and he actually helped me out to. At the end of the class, my ping pong partner gave me one of his ping pong balls (I was the only one to get one) and he even signed it, "x-ray". I took a picture to forever remember that moment. I don't believe the picture will ever be neccessary. Tomorrow, we are going to the urban planning center. I wonder what will be learned there.

hello there ...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I'm officially in china, and have spent my first night in the hotel. Last night I had my first real chinese dinner, and boy did I try some weird things. I am proud to say that I did try everything in front of me (that was interesting to say the least). Today is a tour or the forbidden city and the Tiananmen square. I do have to say that I am most excited for my ping pong lesson today. I will tell you about what happened tonight, so keep checking for a new post. Later...

thoughts on china

Monday, July 27, 2009

well its officially 5 days away, and now the nerves come into play. If course i am pumped to go on this once in a lifetime trip, but this is also the first time away from home (for this long). This is good cause with college coming i better get used to it. I am going shopping soon to buy a box, or maybe boxes, of powerbars, i have a huge appetite and i dont know if i am going to be full with what i get. So i will have a diet of power bars, water, and fish for two weeks, delicious. Thats it for now, next time i blog, i should be in China. (how cool is that?)

China, here i come...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hello there, what's going on everyone. The date is getting closer and closer, and all i can do is wonder about what will happen during this once in a lifetime experience. I am seriously pumped to go on this trip, especially to go to the Bird's Nest and to meet some athletes (this will definetly help my sports managment dreams). I just bought my new sneakers for the Great Wall Hike. Now, all i can do is wait and pack. I welcome all to join me throughtout my journey, as i tell my first hand thoughts of this amazing opportunity.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Essential Programs Details

Duration 15 days
When August 4th - 18th, 2009
Focus History/Culture
Martial Arts
Modern/Ancient Architecture