More Beijing Academy Student Posts from July 18!
Read these posts from Beijing Academy students.
Read these posts from Beijing Academy students!
As I sit here trying to recollect and phrase the countless feelings and memories I have from the past couple weeks, I realize how impossible this task is. Even though each day can feel long because it’s jam packed with activities and classes, each week flies by. Thinking back to the beginning of the program I just remember feeling practically “high off life”. Everything was new, exciting, and I always tried to convince myself to dive head first into any situation. As the third week approached, I realized that living here for a month might not be as easy as I had initially envisioned it. I got food poisoning and could barely move without immense pain for almost two full days. I realized how living in this different environment was influencing my health, body, and even mental state. I began to take things day by day. I was always conscious of what I was putting in my body, where I was going, what I was doing. I would take mental notes on what worked that day and what didn’t. On what foods made my stomach turn and which ones I could still think about and crave. Basically, on all aspects of life here.
Now that it’s the last week, I can’t believe how close it is to the end of this program, right when I have begun to feel as though I have become accustomed to many cultural habits here. Right when my routine has finally become a muscle memory daily routine. I finally know how I can most effectively use my time… the fastest ways to get to places…the best places to get food under our budgets. I finally feel in control.
I remember going out to my new favorite restaurant one day with my friends, expecting to just order our usual dishes, eat, and chat. Minutes after we sat down though, the waitress didn’t only come to take our orders, but actually asked if we would mind going over and helping another foreigner with her order. It was the coolest feeling to be able to use the knowledge I have gained here and apply it in real life situations, like helping others. Even though I have a lot more to learn, this situation helped me prove to myself that my time spent here was worthwhile and that every day I continue to improve, grow, and learn.
Although only having a week left here in Beijing is bittersweet, I am glad that I have been able to not only adjust, but also thrive here.
Yesterday I went out around 7:30am with my friends to buy lunch for the day’s picnic. After purchasing “suan nai” (yogurt) and a fruit cup at CVS, we quickly stopped by our favorite restaurant down the street to pick up fresh bao zi (steamed buns with a meat filling). We didn’t have to meet in the lobby until 10am, so we had some more time afterwards to prepare for the day, study, or hang out with friends. At our meeting in the lobby at 10, our RAs gave us our phones- as they do for every weekend excursion- so we can take pictures on our trips. We first headed to the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube, which was very cool. Then we took a short bus ride to the Beijing Olympic Park where we had a picnic with our class then were free for an hour or so to explore. Some of my friends and I rented a boat, so we played cards in the shade of the boat’s overhead as we floated along the lake, which was nice because it was extremely hot outside (as it is every day here). Afterwards, we headed back to campus and were given free time until it was time to call our family and friends. I first went to the gym then quickly changed to go out to dinner with three of my close friends and our incredible dorm RA, Su Fen. We went to one of her favorite restaurants in Beijing, which specializes in cuisine from her hometown. Afterwards, we stopped by a place called Mango Mee where we bought bubble tea with coconut ice cream and red beans. By the time we got back to CNU I had just enough time to do my laundry before it was my class’s calling time. Overall, it was a great, relaxing day!
Today in my Level 4 class AKA “面条班 (noodle class)” as we fondly call ourselves, we learned and compared Chinese and American geography. Although a bit awkward and hilariously tense (we learned the highest point in China was in Tibet, largest port in Hong Kong, largest island was Taiwan—all highly questionable “provinces of China”), I’d say we all learned equal amounts of American and Chinese geography— 王老师 (our teacher) looked absolutely horrified when none of us students knew anything about the topography of the United States or the directions in which the Missouri and Mississippi rivers flow (sorry Dad). After class, we lunched downstairs in the dorms’ dining room and discussed the lack of outside world news we Middlebury students were receiving during the program, ultimately deciding that world headlines (like Nice) should be absolutely reported to students during assemblies. During the afternoon, I painted a fabulously terrible panda in 国画课 (Chinese traditional painting) which I like to say “has character.” After culture class, our class had time to prepare our somewhat improvised yet entertaining skits about traditional Chinese holidays and their history of customs. Let’s just say that squawking birds, drawn mustaches, and elaborate death sequences made for one heck of a show. Although I wish we could have gone out and explored Beijing today, I know that the time I spend wandering through the halls of CNU and laughing too loud with my newfound friends with leave just as lasting memories.Beijing Academy Student Posts from July 18! Beijing Academy Student Posts from July 17! More Student Updates from the Beijing Academy!