A Travellerspoint blog

国庆节!

National Day

57 °F

Tomorrow starts the first day of China's National Holiday. They so graciously gave us five days off, a seven day holiday including the weekend. Which means...
Uninterrupted time of study.

Hey, I like studying. Get off my back.

I'm currently getting over my cold still. I just have a few sniffles left over and around 8:30pm I was unable to smell and/or taste anything :/ Good thing I had dinner early. Nothing more annoying that texture in your mouth without the taste.

Anywheeze,

As I was saying a the previous post before my immune system flipped me the bird, many of the elective courses look intriguing. Taiji is 400元, the Chinese instrument is 300元, HSK (Don't know if it's Tues. AND Thurs or Tues OR Thurs...) 480元, and last but not least, pronunciation for 250元. Ironic that possible one of the most productive classes is the cheapest. In case you don't like mental math, that's $60, $45, $71, and $37 respectively. Yeah, once I did the math I thought, "I guess I won't be taking too many classes, haha...". It's supposedly once a week for ten weeks (October 18-December 17th). Again, they last from one and a half hours to two hours. It's definitely cheaper than what I'd pay in the U.S. Namely because half of these classes don't exist where I live. I KNEW I should have joined the Taiji club.

Oh yeah, we had club opportunities as well.

Brief aside time.

Helen and I scouted clubs to join. Well, her more than me. I take it since the majority of people were handing the flyers to her and not me meant that the club was conducted in Chinese. I did get handed about three fliers, though. One of them some club where international students (mainly those fluent in English) would talk with other Chinese language learners and Chinese students.

Later, when we returned to the dorm, Helen caught site of a flyer for the same club, but it was all "Cook dinner with X student and eat with them. Go for a walk in the park together, etc.."

Helen translated the flyer for me and said it sounded like a dating service of some sort :/ Kinda creepy. It's not like I'm NOT keeping an eye out for boyfriend potential, but, uh...I'm better than what this flyer was offering.

Brief aside concluded.

The only thing I worry about the Taiji class is whether or not it's indoors or outdoors. I only brought gym shorts, so if it's outside...yeah. And Asians run small in size so I doubt too many workout clothes will fit me. Same with shoes. Cloth shoes are preferred, not the jogging shoes I've got. GUH. I've been wanting to take Taiji for so long. And it would be awesome to find out what it's like to de-stress! Well, I've got yoga for that, but still.

I'll see once I've sat in on the classes.

My schedule for the National Holiday is tentative so far. So is when I will first head out. I definitely don't want the sniffles when I'm jam packed on a crowded subway. Friday afternoon will be rainy, so I either come back early (if my body is up to it) or I just scout campus since I have yet to see all of it.

In no particular order:

Beijing Zoo/Beijing Aquarium (separate tickets but they're connected to each other).
Beijing Natural History Museum (I LOVE PREHISTORIC MARINE LIFE, PREHISTORIC MAMMALS, AND PRESERVED PARASITES). No, I don't have a fetish for the dead and dangerous :P
China Palaeozoological Hall--Okay, I know you see a pattern with dead stuff, but I swear....
National Art Museum of China
Carrefour--Al right, I know it's a supermarket, but it's a COOL supermarket! And cheap :D
Debating on Yuanmingyuan Park. I kind of want to go with Helen. She can fill me in on the history and legends :D
Other parks--haven't narrowed anything down yet
I hope to check out some temples while I'm at it. I plan on getting a book on ancient Chinese architecture, or at least temple architecture, so a) I know what I'm looking at when I'm there and b) artist habits die never. ;)
Bookstores:
1. The Bookworm
2. Three bookstores at Wangfujing (The Foreign Languages Bookstore 外文书店, The Wangfujing Xinhua Bookstore, and The Export Books Bookstore)

Plus a few others. I'm going to have to map them out and put them on specific days (because I'm organizational like that). But! If you're interested in ever traveling over to the northern China yonder, I'm using these sites as references:
http://www.meiguoxing.com/Shopping/Bookstores_in_Beijing.html

http://www.blcuer.com/blogs/entry/Beijing-Bookstores

I want some nice study material for my journey within the confines of the Sino-Tibetan language...and I want to see if I can find some English books cheaper here than in the States. Mostly likely not if they're imported, but a penny pinching girl can dream, yes?

I sort of do and don't feel bad about not traveling around outside of Beijing for the holiday. I had such high hopes on going to Guilin, but I've not doubt Helen was right in that too many people would be crowding the mountains and such. Not to mention hotels and ticket prices would be jacked up. I felt a stab of jealousy when I overheard a few of my classmates mention they were traveling.

But I try not to regret too long, if at all. Don't pity me. I'm not pitying my situation. Beijing is a hella big city and I'll hardly cover all of it in my days off. I'd feel stupid if I spent a semester here and hardly saw all of it.

You may be thinking, "But that's exactly it. You HAVE a whole semester to explore it, so why don't you travel around China?"

To be honest, I don't really have that much time on my hands. I mean, I saw pictures of Guilin and instantly thought, "That's where I want my honeymoon." I'd want a LOT more than six-ish days there. Same with any other city or town. I don't want the feeling of being rushed. This is the first time I've gone on a study abroad without a tour guide. Without someone rushing us that we only have an hour so we don't have time to do X Y and Z. I don't have a tour guide now, but I still have school. I LOVE that I only have my Chinese class so I can focus ALL of my time on improving my fluency (which is coming along quite well, thanks for asking).

I will take a separate trip back over here (when I'm not sick of planes anymore) and take my sweet time traveling and experiencing China. I'd also like to find the family I've got over here. It's nothing dramatic and Amy Tan style where I've got long lost kin. I just don't have their address :/

Speaking of the Guangdong province, I recently skimmed over a page of Cantonese lessons and realized how much I've forgotten. I really want to pick back up on my Cantonese. I've only retained a few phrases and I'll be honest, it feels kind of neat (and I NEVER say "neat") to switch between dialects. It's also a little difficult since I now know way more in Mandarin than I do Cantonese, so to say a phrase in Cantonese, I actually summon it in Mandarin, then have to translate it into Cantonese. Or I'll infuse the two dialects into something unintelligible e.g. "Ngeih shi Mei guo jan a?"

A combo of Mandarin "Ni shi mei guo ren ma?" and Cantonese "Ngei hai mei gwok jan a?"

I also want to pick back up on my French. I'm really envious of a lot of the students here where Chinese is their third or fourth language.

So, before I die, the languages I demand be in my linguistic repertoire are:

Mandarin
Cantonese
Hakka, another dialect of China. I don't know why, but ever since I was a kid I decided I wanted to learn this dialect :/
French
Japanese. Might as well. I'll know all the Kanji
Portuguese--For some reason I always wanted to learn Portuguese.

Pretty hefty, yes. Impossible? Well, that's one word I can spell but still won't do.

To be honest, I never wanted to learn Mandarin. I grew up hearing Cantonese, so I thought it was prettier and easier on the ears than Mandarin. Unfortunately, colleges only taught the latter, so that's what I learned. I don't regret my decision to learn it, but there ya go.

Helen is gone for the week visiting family in China, so I'm left to tango with the city by myself. It will be exciting.

Posted by CelLung 06:11 Archived in China Comments (0)

The weather is a-changin'

52 °F

It was pretty difficult returning to school after a five day break. Well, three day plus the weekend. I'm slowly getting used to waking up at 6am. I don't have to wake up that early, I just prefer to. There are a few times where I've accidentally fallen back asleep...okay, not accidentally. I gave a mental "five more minutes", closed my eyes, jolted back up with a swear word or two, and checked the time to see that only ten minutes had passed. It's only going to get more difficult when the colder weather sets in and I want to stay under the covers.

Don't get me wrong. I love the cold weather, as I mentioned before. And I like morning classes as opposed to afternoon classes. But I also like staying warm and sleeping in sometimes. All the more coveted the weekend becomes, I guess.

Speaking of weather, it's really started to resemble fall and winter. Not Georgia's fall and winter. Northern China's fall and winter. This morning (9/29/2010) it was 49 degrees outside! I get out there and I think, "Either I'm adequately dressed or it's really not that cold." When I think 49 degrees I'm thinking biting cold and jacket, scarf, etc. As long as I didn't stand still for too long, I probably could have pulled off shorts with a jacket. Ah well. The range is already in the low 50s to upper 60s with highs in the upper 70s. Not too many complaints on my part.

The elective courses were posted this past Monday. I was under the impression that we HAD to choose at least one, but I was wrong. Probably since they all cost money. The choices are: Intensive HSK training, Chinese instrument (erhu), Taiji, Kongfu, Chinese painting, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese characters (for beginners), Pronounciation, and learn Chinese songs.

Starting October 11 and for the rest of the week, the courses are free to anyone who wants to drop in and try the class out. Official registration and the first day of class is October 18th. The classes would only be once a week (except HSK which may be twice a week) and all start at 5pm if not later, and only run one and a half to two hours. Not bad.

I was immediately interested in Taiji, HSK, Pronounciation, and the Chinese instrument. But I think Taiji and Pronounciation are at the same time. I like one but need the other. I have a feeling I'd want to stab myself if I took HSK. Don't get me wrong, I'm interested in the class and I need some HSK training because I plan to take it soon, but an additional two hours to the three hours and 40 minutes of class? Decision decisions.

It's been a long while since I've played an instrument (piano) and I've never played a stringed instrument before. I'd love to learn how but I've always been more of a visual artist than musical artist.

Anyway, I'll have to cut this blog short. I've apparently caught a cold. I first felt congestion this morning that didn't feel like allergies, so I went ahead and medicated myself with Tylenol Severe Cold and Flu or whatever it's called. Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow (I usually do by the next day). I think I've been barely holding it off with the Tylenol. I just have some sniffles, congestion, and the occasional sneeze. This really sucks. I have multivitamins, but I really only need a concentration of Vitamin C. Not going to risk overdosing on everything else with a multi-v. That and almost nothing around me is healthy foodwise. I'm not knocking Chinese cuisine at all. I mean at the markets, there's almost no "juice", only "drink". I don't want orange drink. That's nothing but sugar water. I want orange juice so I'll actually receive vitamins and nutrients. Ugh, in the States I have such a tight grip on what I eat (as far as healthy foods) and I feel that over here I'm at the mercy of the local cafeteria or supermarket. We do have a mini stove top now, so I'll look into cooking some healthy meals. I hate that my body is taking such a hit like this. It's probably going ballistic because of the diet change.

Tomorrow is my last day of class before the seven day national holiday. Instead of traveling around China (because everyone and their mother will be doing so), I will stay and scout bookstores, supermarkets, museums, and the zoo. I'll give a more specific list later when I'm not half dead. My body needs rest and I hope I'm much better tomorrow :/

Posted by CelLung 06:56 Archived in China Comments (2)

The Mid-Autumn Festival!

So much fun!

61 °F

We didn’t end up going to Tai’an afterall. Helen tried to get the train tickets the next day and they were sold out. I wasn’t too bummed, honestly. I don’t know why. Maybe because the town isn’t going anywhere and I can go later. Pick your battles, you know?

Instead, we decided to travel around Beijng :-D

On Wednesday we planned for the Beijing cultural shopping area near Tian’anmen Square. I woke up early, per usual, but Helen needed to sleep in a little :O We left around noon-ish and walked to the Wudaokou subway station (the famous 20 minute walk). It was SUCH a beautiful day! The weather was perfect, and I’ve never in my life uttered that phrase before. And for it to be said in China’s capital, a city famous for smog and pollution. It reminded me a lot of San Francisco’s weather, where it was *just* right, not too hot, not too cold, with a cool breeze blowing. The sun was the type of “fall/winter” sun where it just brightens up the sky, not produce a blazing inferno.

I hadn’t gotten a bike at that point and I quickly learned that not everyone is used to walking long distances. Helen was getting tired about halfway in while I was pretty okay :/ Maybe 25-30 minutes later (we were walking slow…) we made it to the station.

When we first happened upon the shopping street, I realized it was the one we visited briefly during the language program. I figured since I wasn’t rushed this time, I could actually look at things. WE picked up these mini apples that were coated in solidified sugar on a stick. They were good, but so sugary :/ She eventually led us to a gate that led to the older shops/older buildings. Helen knows a lot about Chinese culture, so we’d stop at every few buildings and tell me its history. It was very interesting and I learned a lot :D
A few stores were Beijing’s oldest hat store and shoe store, as well as beautiful architecture pre, during, and post revolution. It was an awesome experience.
Along the way I *finally* got a Mao bag. It doesn’t have his face on it, but it has the red star ;D It’s become my new favorite bag because it’s perfect for carrying books (which will come in handy for later trips to bookstores).
We found a large bargain-type store and sniffed around. Helen wanted to get gifts for her family that were in Fujian for her visit during National Holiday. We came upon this booth that had the cutest cat beads (think of a hybrid Maneki Neko) with characters on them. You could string them together to make your Chinese name. Unfortunately I only knew the first of my three middle names. I explained it *twice* to Helen that I knew my names, but they were in Cantonese and I didn’t know the meaning. I also didn’t know the Mandarin equivalents. Apparently, it is a very sad thing in Chinese culture to not know what your name means :/
We then headed to another shop sort of similar to the first where Helen loaded up on Romance of Three Kingdom dolls. Haha, she loves classic Chinese literature, especially Three Kingdoms.
After that, we searched for a place to eat. We settled on a hot pot place with this grand pa shouting advertisements. We had lamb hot pot :D When deciding on a soup base, Helen didn’t realize the “clear broth” basically meant water. The menu was all in Chinese and she was reading things off, but we didn’t realize we’d gotten water until the pot came out. Ah well. They added slices of ginger and shitaki mushrooms and such. We also ordered duck blood, nappa cabbage, and enoki mushrooms.

All throughout dinner, the grandpa was shouting advertisements, haha. Over and over and over…Something about Old Beijing and Peking Duck, haha.

After dinner…which only cost 66 yuan…Helen suckered me into taking a picture with him :P He was really, really nice about it. He seemed like a good soul.

By this time, night had come and we got a good view neon lights and lit up buildings. It wasn’t until then that the road looked oddly familiar. I had a suspicion that this was the road Dr. Reynolds led us to find that gentleman selling his scrolls for cheap! I remembered there being train tracks, and there were some, but I didn’t make the complete connection.

We wandered around a bit more and went into some shops. I wanted to buy a good luck rabbit for the festival, but they were all too expensive. Instead, we got another sugar-candy treat on a stick. This time it was a melon-tasting type of fruit. The name didn’t translate, so I’ll have to ask what it was called.

It was then that I realized this was the same street Dr. Reynolds took us to when I looked down one of the side streets and saw all the hustle and bustle of people that I remembered. The street has changed so much! When we first went, hardly any of those stores were open or even there. Now it’s a very busy street with all these shops! We were leaving because we were tired, but I plan on going back now that I’ve found it.

  • *travel note** If you’re in the area, take Line 2 (the dark blue line/only line that loops) and take it to Qianmen station. Head towards 文化街 (wen2hua4jie1) “Cultural Street”. If I’m wrong, then it’s 前门大街 Qianmen dajie that has the “shopping street”. Just follow the crowd; it’s probably where they’re going too. You should see a big gate. Cross through it and there you are. You’ll see a Chinese Starbucks.

We bought one more sugar-fruit on a stick. Helen treated me, so I picked slices of oranges and she bought these green bean-type stuffs. They were both good, but I soon felt queasy after ingesting all that sugar :/

Since we were already out, I hesitantly agreed to go to Tian’anmen Square since it was just across the way. I say hesitantly because it had gotten much colder since we came out of the restaurant since the sun was gone and I wasn’t exactly dressed for cold weather [shorts and shirt with sandals]. I could feel my good mood quickly dissipating when I had trouble moving my fingers to work my camera because they were so cold. But, I’d never seen the Square at night so I thought why not. It was beautiful to see everything lit up.

I thought we were going to leave after the Square, but Helen wanted to go to the gate of the Forbidden City. I could tell she really wanted to go so I *hesitantly* agreed. We finally found the way underground that led to the other side and I was thankful for the heat of the subway. As soon as we got back out, I got a minor headache from the cold.

Side note: I’ve gotten three migraines in my life and probably just as many minor headaches. I’m not used the them, but they always put my temper on hair trigger when I have them. Especially in this case because I didn’t HAVE to be outside in cold weather.

I let Helen know that I was cold, but there are a few downsides to having a roommate raised in Canada. She felt perfectly fine and was in fact warm to the touch. I, on the other hand, was raised in the Southern United States. Don’t get me wrong, I love cold weather.

When I’m adequately dressed.

But, I guess the two of us were even. By the time we got back to campus (11-ish at night) we missed the campus bus so we had to walk the 20 minute walk. Again, I’m used to walking a lot, she isn’t. She’s used to wearing shirts and shorts in cold weather, I’m not.

Even Steven.

However, I discovered the super hustle and bustle “night market”, if you will, along Chengfu outside the subway station. Meat on a stick everywhere, as well as people selling clothes and such. We found a book vendor and I…

I bought Twilight.

Don’t get me wrong! I don’t believe in book burning, but there’s always that one exception.

I figured Meyer uses such blindingly simple sentences that I could use it to help my translation skills.

Goodness gracious why did she write that abortion of a literary-

Anyway. I also bought three bananas for 8 yuan. Awesome.

Thursday, Helen was extremely sore. I felt fine, fufufu~ So we both decided to hunker down and do homework/study because we had things planned for the next day. I at least had a quiz on Monday and some homework in my speaking class, so I didn’t mind staying in the dorm.

I eventually went to the student supermarket and bought milk and rolled oats! Now I can make oatmeal with the stove top thing we have! So excited! I also bought chocolate muffins to go with it~

Friday was bookstore day. Helen had a club meeting at 7pm so we couldn’t do bookstore AND museum. Before that, we went and bought me a bike, haha. I practiced on the way with Helen’s bike. I was really wobbly and weaved a lot. I picked out a bike and it was…258 yuan? Including the 16 yuan bike lock. There were cheaper ones, but…16 yuan is cheap for me in general. It’s not too bad an investment since civilization is on Chengfu and it’s going to suck walking 20 minutes in Beijing winter weather. I can finally bike to Yuanmingyuan park and Peking University when they’re giving another lecture.

We biked down to South Gate and towards the subway station. I had a few near misses with people and traffic, but I’m still here :O We get off at Xidan station and get something to eat at this Sichuan restaurant. Helen teases me about eating all the spring onions when there’s meat in the dish. She accuses me of being a vegetarian, haha. The food was good, I must say. We had lamb with spring onions.

The Beijing Book Building (the letter B brought to you by Sesame Street) was indeed large. Four stories of VERY little English books and no Chinese language learning books. I was most disappointed on the latter, and sad that I couldn’t find some English books cheaper than what I’d get in the States. I did buy two books, though. One is a Chinese graphic novel and the other is called 150cm Life. It looks really interesting. I don’t know how to describe it :/ I’ll take pictures of the pages and post them. All in all, it looks really cute. Like, a warm kind of cute, not a superficial type. Did that make sense? Probably not. The graphic novel I got because…well, the guy looked hot. Don’t judge me. But they’re also using fairly simple sentences/characters, so I bought it.

Once we got outside, Helen spotted a stand selling books….AND THEY HAD ONE OF THE ARTBOOKS FOR VAGABOND. I honestly didn’t think I’d find it. I found the one for Blade of the Immortal in Shanghai (with many thanks to Christa :D ), but I didn’t think I’d find my other love~ I learned from the Shanghai experience to scout areas around bookstores but man. This one was maybe thirty feet from the entrance. I wasn’t expecting anything THAT close. Helen found an art book to one of her favorite mangas as well, so we were both happy and flipped through them on the subway back home.

  • *travel note** The Beijing Book Building a.k.a Xidan Bookstore: take line 4 (red line) to the Xidan station, get off on the Xichang’an side, which is exit H. I didn’t see any Chinese language learning books and the English books/magazines are on the basement floor. The selection is limited, just so you know. Some English books are just as expensive as they are in the States, if not a tad more.

Apparently everyone except the language students have the three days off plus the weekend. Everyone else has weekend classes to make up for the days off on Mid-Autumn. A-fufufu~

Posted by CelLung 08:26 Archived in China Tagged festival cold tian'anmen mid-autumn Comments (0)

Almost a week gone by...

rain 61 °F

It’s hard to imagine that I’ve been here almost a week :O It feels a level past forever since I first touched down in Beijing International airport.

Classes have been going well so far. Thursday (I think) I hand lunch with two of my classmates at the cafeteria. I had a meal in a clay bowl that consisted of bean sprouts, overdone eggplant, slightly annoying peppercorns, and an arseload of rice.

I do love rice.

The two dictations I had went well although we had a surprise dictation today where I only knew some of the characters. Our teacher told us that because we won’t be meeting until next week, we had the option of taking the quiz now or next week. By “now” I thought she meant tomorrow, but I forgot we didn’t have her tomorrow. All in all, we had a quiz that the lot of us were not prepared for, haha. I’m glad I can laugh about it :/ It’s not that I brushed off my academic duties over the weekend. I was studying ahead for the listening class even though she hadn’t yet announced when the dictation was. Ah, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, yes?

But I digress.

Lately it’s been kind of rainy. Not Shanghai/Hangzhou rainy (thank the heavens), but light and tolerable drizzles. The rain has made the weather a bit cooler, dipping into the high 50’s. I love it :D

My roommate, Helen and I planned to visit the Beijing of Natural History on Saturday, but she got word of an internship opportunity in Beijing and the paperwork was due on Sunday, so we tentatively moved the museum date to Sunday.

We ended up not going because the paperwork included a lot more than she originally thought. She had to somehow prove her competency in Chinese. The child is fluent in it, so I don’t think she’ll have any issues there, fufufu~

If only I could say the same :/ But I will get there one day! *pumps fist*

I ended up lazing around all weekend, cooping myself up in the dorm except for when Helen and I went out for lunch. I figured I had four months to explore, so why not take it slowly and surely? Heck, I get out of class at 11:40am. I have the rest of the day to do whatever. Well, after homework and a sufficient amount of studying is done, I can do whatever.

On Sunday (I apologize for jumping around the space-time continuum so much…) Helen stopped by the Lotus supermarket since she had to go off campus anyway to buy her books. We decided on getting a mini stove top (pictures to come later) which consists of a single eye and came with a pot.

I was wondering why the student supermarket sold oats for oatmeal. I thought, “Are we supposed to make it in the teapot thing that boils water?” And now I have my answer. I was completely in the mindset of American dorms where they’re all “No electrical anything except for what has already been provided!”

Apparently in Chinese dorms, you can have these things as long as you keep it in the mini kitchen area. The stove top was only 99 Yuan (it was the cheapest). I’d still like to invest in a mini fridge, but Helen and I are only here for a semester. I don’t know if she’ll want to lug it back with her, or if we can leave it in the dorm. Ugh. It would be REALLY nice to have a mini fridge to preserve some of the food we bring back. The yogurt is fine if it’s room temp, but it’s handy when foods can be kept longer in a fridge. I swear I’m not whining. It’s a matter of stocking up on food during the winter months. Look at me, the diligent ant :P

Anyhoozlebees, Helen and I were excited that we could finally make/heat up food.

Along with the stove top, she bought some mooncakes for the festival, a pair of chopsticks for each of us, plastic food containers, some Chinese pastries, and….

Dog liver :O

At first I wasn’t sure if I heard her right, haha. I wasn’t grossed out or anything, I just wanted to make sure I heard her correctly. I hadn’t had any dog anything yet, and I heard a few of my program-mates from the language program say they failed in tracking down any dog meat in restaurants/street vendors.

Helen said that she figured since I was half Cantonese that it wouldn’t be an issue with me, haha. You know what they say about the Cantonese. “They’ll eat anything with four legs except the kitchen table.”

It’s true.

I already had goose liver, so what’s one more vital organ down the gullet? It kind of tasted the same as the goose, but I liked the goose liver’s texture better (from what I remember of it). I had a small amount of trouble eating it at first not because it was dog liver, but the first time I saw a liver was in anatomy and I link certain body parts with the smell of formaldehyde :/

OH WELL. I got over it :D

We set up a bootleg dining room in the foyer by setting the box the stove top came in as a table and pulled our room chairs out to sit. It kind of does suck that there’s no room the we can sit down and hang out in that’s not our room. BUT, that’s the Chinese way. You’re not here to socialize with your roommate, you’re here to study and learn. I can deal.

As for the Mid-Autumn festival, we settled on going to Tai’an in the Shandong Province. Well, Helen left it up to me since she was indifferent and good for whatever. We may climb Taishan, mayhaps a ten-ish hour climb, sleep on the mountain overnight, wake up early to watch the sunrise on it, then take a zip car back down. I like climbing and all, but I told her we really didn’t have to climb all the way. I mean, a ten hour hike is something you train for, not roll out of bed and waltz up. We have the option of taking the zip car up both ways, but she said there’s something kind of ’wrong’ about doing that on a sacred mountain.

She had an unfortunate experience trying to get the train ticket tonight. There was a place on campus we could go to buy the tickets, but she waited in line for an hour with class about to start (with 20 people still in front of her) so she had to leave for class. I felt so bad for her! I honestly should have gone down there, but I didn’t know the procedure of if they spoke enough English or me enough Chinese to adequately communicate. Tomorrow we’re going down there together to hopefully get tickets that are left.

There will be updates on whether or not this will work out. I won’t be too bummed if we can’t go. Can’t miss what you never had, yes? I could get some guts and go somewhere myself during our week break for the national holiday. We’ll see. I’m a little hesitant about going too far by myself. I know China is a relatively safe place, but with my luck, I’d go to the one part of China that housing the largest underground sex trafficking ring in the Asian continent.

I’ll sniff around for places to go.

Posted by CelLung 07:33 Archived in China Comments (0)

The second day o' class

:O

sunny

Second day of class:

Today was the day I started to regret sitting right in front of the teacher, haha. I have a tendency to sit in front of the class. It forces me to pay attention for one. In the States, it’s also so I can see that godforsaken pink dry erase marker that every professor seems so hellbent on using. And in China, when writing on a chalkboard that’s had stuff messily erased makes it hard to read.

The teacher for the first half of class was the speaking teacher (I think). We were learning new vocabulary (生词) and for each word, she had each of us respond to a question. I just hated being the first one almost every singe time >:O

Other than that, class went pretty well. I have a quiz tomorrow over some new vocabulary. Ah~ I love being put to work :D I like the thrill of a test or quiz…when I’m aptly prepared for it, that is.

When I returned from class, my roommate and I went to run a few errands, starting with a lunch break. I need to invest in a bike pretty quickly, fufufu. She offered to let me borrow her bike since our class times don’t clash. I’m only a ten minute walk from my building, so I really don’t mind walking, but the campus is pretty big, and there are cool areas best gotten to on a bike. The last time I rode a bike was last year on the city walls of Xi’an.

With that in mind, she let me try out her bike since she felt safer with me pedaling and her riding since I’m taller and heavier. My ego was a little wounded with my messy steering, so I told her that it was probably safer if she pedal and I ride. That didn’t work out to well.

I’m going to go down near the south gate to buy a bike soon since we’re both interested in sitting in on lectures at Peking University which is right next to Tsinghua. There’s also the Yuanmingyuan Park, but it’s best to use quicker transportation like a bike rather than walking.

SO, we opted to walk, haha. We first went to get her meal card, then we ate at a nearby cafeteria. Then we went to get our school ID made, but the people said I didn’t need one. I was kind of looking forward to having a Tsinghua ID. Ah well.

Next stop was the library. It’s pretty, and big, and SO infuriating that I’m surrounded by so many beautiful books but the only section I can read is the foreigner section. They have some interesting books there; many of the classics, but I was more interested in Chinese language books. My roommate, Helen, spotted some books in the HSK (all of it in Chinese) and a ‘Learn Chinese Slang’ and ‘Learn Chinese Proverbs’ book. They had the stories behind the slang and proverbs in both Chinese and English. She said the stories were very simple so I figured I could practice translating them.

We went to check them out but the woman said we needed some sort paper from the FSAO office so we headed back to get it. The office is near our dorms so we decided another day would be best to return to the library. As we made our way around campus with our handy Tsinghua map, Helen and I talked about China and our interests and such.

She’s from Canada, although her family is from Fujian, China. I was wondering when I first saw her because she’s bilingual in Chinese and English, but she has a decidedly clean English accent. She still has a minor hint of a Chinese accent, but it made me wonder why she was in the international student dorm.

That’s what I get for assuming. Shame on me.

She’s spending a semester as an exchange student, I believe, majoring in Economics. She also likes anime and manga, squee! She’s also big on museums and history :D I’m glad I always manage to have really cool roommates, despite the crappy karma I’ve accumulate over the years, haha.

After some more talking, we got on the subject of the Mid-Autumn festival and the National Holiday.

I told her I wanted to try to go to Guilin for the seven day break, but she said everyone and their mother travels during that time and the mountains would be crowded. Ah well. The next time I come to China I’ll make it a point to go there. By extension, Guanghzhou is out, haha. She suggested some nearby cities like Shandong. It’s only a two-three hour train ride out and one can visit Confucius’ old stomping grounds as well as Taishan.

I suggested that if she didn’t have anything to do for the Mid-Autumn festival, we could go together. She didn’t have anything particular planned yet, so we may end up going together :D For the national holiday she’s going to visit her family in Fujian, so I’ll be alone to wander the streets of Beijing. First, I’d have to see which stores and such are open for the holiday. Wandering too far from Beijing may be too much of a hassle if everyone is traveling.

It was a good day, overall. I have to adjust to her being her since she’s been away for almost a week. I’m trying to overcome my loner personality, I swear. It’s nice that we have separate rooms, though. No offense to her at all, but I’m someone who craves alone time when I need to unwind.

Again, I feel asleep around 8:30pm, heh. I actually woke up around close to 6am! Well, after waking up at probably 5-ish, but I forced myself back to sleep.

>^,,^<

Posted by CelLung 00:03 Archived in China Tagged of day class second Comments (0)

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