I am done with my semester! There were points where I was certain that I would live my life forever chained to the program, but Friday evening eventually came and I graduated from my program with pretty satisfying grades. Before I finished we had to give a huge symposium in which every student represented one country (I was Laos) and we had to analyze and negotiate current issues in the GMS (Greater Mekong Subregion). Each country had to write Papers and present on the issues in their perspective viewpoint. This is not easy, because one topic was dams and Laos is pro-dam, whereas personally I would not parade around like Laos proclaiming that dams are the best thing ever. But I lived a day as a Lao official and debated the hell out of my viewpoint. I ended up doing pretty well - better than I thought.
ANYWAY. After my program ended I packed up my 7 things and started my 6 week journey through Asia, which I am doing mostly by myself. I really want to travel by myself and see how it is. I am 3 days in and so far am loving it.
I sat in a bus for 8 hours and drove to Shaxi. (This time with my passport) I am staying in a cute hostel right next to the main square and went for a quick walk in the afternoon to stretch my legs. When I stepped out of the East Gate of the village and walked towards the river I noticed that about halfway up the mountain opposite of me there appeared to be a small temple. It looked something like this: