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Yes! We like China very much

Whoa, we are done?! We just finished our last workday here, but Tuesday and Wednesday were phenomenal days of collaboration!

Tuesday was the first day that our younger counterparts from NJU really had the opportunity to open up and show us how much they know. Lei Yue and Zhang Rongrong spent the morning learning about database theory(!) with Aaron and Allison, and then spent the afternoon with Justin talking about emissions calculations and cost-benefit analysis. Michael also shared SAFEGUARD with a small group of undergrad students that dropped in for a few hours.

This is way more exciting than it probably sounds! We came to China knowing that we couldn’t possibly recreate our SAFEGUARD project for China so quickly, but rather have been hoping to pass on some sort of wisdom about how to approach this type of analysis. Our Chinese friends were very quiet the first few meetings, but the last two days in the office they have opened up. They are involved, learning incredibly quickly, asking questions and—most importantly—asking all the right questions! Awesome.

Last night we joined Ling and Elma at their favorite local haunt—KFC—for a “Beijing Taco”! Hey, when in China…

After dinner, The 5, Craig and Lei Yue took a walk at the lake, which is gorgeous in the nighttime. We had a great conversation about differing American and Chinese animals and even saw a fish jump a few times. On the way home we ducked in an air-conditioned department store (it’s been in the 90s here, day and night) and were tickled to see that the perfume department was labeled “fumigation”! Lei Yue was just as surprised to hear what fumigation means to us.

After a game of dominoes and some rest, we were back in the office for our last day. What a way to go out, though. As a team (American and Chinese) we were able to put together a database, map the conceptual framework of what SAFEGUARD China might look like, and design a mock-up demo version of how the software itself might operate. We presented the week’s work to three Nanjing University professors. I’m not talking about just The 5 here, either. Zhang Rongrong presented (in Chinese) the entire structure of the database for the model—the database she built this morning! Lei Yue then presented an entire rundown of how to analyze the emissions savings and economics of a GHG-reducing strategy. She opted to present in English (her first public speaking engagement en anglais) and dominated. These girls are going to change the world. The feedback from the NJU professors was encouraging, and we couldn’t feel any better about how much everyone on both sides accomplished together in such a short week.

We celebrated our last day of work together (yeah, we can’t believe it either…) with a drink high above the city—the Sky Bar on the 45th floor of the shiny new Zifeng Tower, Nanjing’s tallest building and the second tallest in all China! We toasted with Craig and Lei Yue not only to all we accomplished, but also to this hugely promising new international partnership we’re so fortunate to be a part of.

Cheers! 干杯 (Gānbēi!)

Off to visit Suzhou tomorrow...

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