I apologize for the long hiatus between posts, I've moved from Italy all the way over to China this semester, and I've had complications accessing American sites through Chinese internet. It sounds strange, but I quickly got used to how much Chinese internet is censored. I was working on a class project last week on the Taiwan issue, and I made the careless mistake of typing Taiwan in a search engine... My computer instantly shut down and wouldn't turn on for almost 30 minutes.
As my first update back with you, I thought I'd share a peek into a normal Thursday for me here in Beijing.
7:15 a.m. – Wake up bright and early for my Chinese class.
7:20 a.m. – Check to see if the hot water is working. No such luck.
7:37 a.m. – Grab a strange but delicious Chinese yogurt for breakfast on the go.
7:40 a.m. – Leave the dorm to walk to class in the Chinese building.
7:56 a.m. – Run up the 5 flights of stairs to make it to class on time. Even being 10 seconds late in China is seen as a great disrespect to the teacher, so I have to try extra hard to be on time.
8:00 a.m. – Class starts precisely on time.
8:43 a.m. – Laughing outburst as we try to pronounce yet another strange Chinese sound that doesn’t exist in English. The Chinese approach to teaching is very different from the American pedagogy, you can read more about that here if you're interested.
9:40 a.m. – Class is dismissed.
9:48 a.m. – Risk life and limb trying to cross the road to get to the gym. It's only within the past 25 years that Beijing has transitioned from being a biking city to a driving one, and everyone still drives like they're on a bike. There seem to be no road rules of any kind, and cars never stop for pedestrians. It's a daily terrifiying experience.
9:55 a.m. – Watch Chinese heads turn and stare as my blond curls enter the gym.
10:16 a.m. – Run on my treadmill as Chinese women walk daintily backwards on theirs.
11:27 a.m. – Leave the gym and brave crossing the street again.
11:40 a.m. – Shower because the hot water has decided to work. Bathrooms are slightly different here in China, because they don't have any barrier or curtain surrounding the shower area. When you shower, it's impossible to keep the entire bathroom from getting drenched. I live in the international student dorms, which has much nicer accomodations than the dorms for regular Chinese students, so just imagine what their bathrooms look like.
12:20 p.m. – Play charades as a way of communicating and bartering with the fruit stand man in an attempt to buy fresh strawberries.
12:36 p.m. – Meet up with friends for lunch and feel triumphant after successfully ordering my favorite Chinese eggplant dish completely in Chinese.
1:30 p.m. – Meet with my Chinese tutor to work on pronouncing words.
3:00 p.m. - Study in The Beijing Center's beautiful library until my next class.
4:30 p.m. - Go to my Observing China class and meet with Jennifer Lin-Liu, the author of Serve The People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China. She let us interview her in her kitchen and taught us how to make delicious homemade dumplings. Lin-Liu was fascinating, and our professor for that class takes us on adentures every week. We got to meet with an Academy Award winner a few weeks ago!
7:30 p.m. - We'll end the long day with a class dinner at a nearby Peking Duck restaurant. So delicious!