Settling back in to the norm
Trip Start Feb 27, 2013
34Trip End Ongoing
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The majority of my friends from last semester have gone home, so this semester is all about starting again, making new friends and getting used to the new teachers.
This semester I have far more freedom in terms of choosing subjects that I want to study, and I am particularly excited about taking Chinese culture. Having more electives, means a more varied timetable than before. Last semester, every academic day started at 8:30am and finished at 12:30. Now, I have some days where I have 6 hours of class, and others where I just have 2. I really like this variety. I can pack more into my day, and organise myself a little better. The long days are very tiring, however.
My classmates so far seem very nice. The majority of my classmates are from Asia, this semester, with at least 2 classmates from each of Thailand, Indonesia, Korea and Japan. I think my class was more culturally diverse last semester, but I also like the thought of making more friends who live in countries closer to mine than Europe and America. I have never been to Thailand, but my grandparents go each year, so that could be a good excuse to go one time!
My teachers also seem to be nice as well. They have higher expectations, and speak in a more complex and fast manner than my last teachers, but that is to be expected (and wanted) when moving forward in learning a language.
Pia is turning out to be a fantastic roommate. We work really well together, and we are good at taking turns at paying for things we both use in the room (like water) as well as cleaning. I had heard that living with a friend can be dangerous to the friendship, as you get to know and annoy each other like never before, so I was a little apprehensive about living with someone I already had such a good relationship with, but I needn't have worried, as everything is going very well so far. She is even teaching me a little Spanish, so I will keep you updated on how that is going. At the moment, I can say "How are you", "I am good", and "My name is Amy". Pia will often say regular things to me in Spanish too, like "I'm going to the swimming pool," which I can understand, but cannot say.
This weekend, I went out to a dinosaur museum, to do something completely different. It was interesting, and I liked the scaled models of a few dinosaurs. They also had a 3-D movie of an aquatic dinosaur, which was very old fashioned in that the 3-D glasses weren't cool hipster-like glasses, but they were paper ones with red and blue cellophane over the lenses.
I also tried out a Chinese food court in a busy market place. Getting a table there was harder than getting a park at a shopping center during Christmastime. We even employed the 'stalking' technique, which was just awkwardly standing in front of people who looked like they were close to finishing. They had no bins around, but just cleaners who would do the rounds of the place, picking up the rubbish. Unfortunately they were not fast enough to keep up with the demand, so most people were eating in amongst other people's leftovers and empty packets. The food was actually pretty good. When I think of a food court, I think of McDonald's, KFC, Subway and other franchises, but in China, they think of those places as a 'restaurant', and everything in the food court were independent businesses selling soup, noodles, dumplings and rice dishes.
I had a very busy and exciting week. I'm still getting used to the little things about Beijing, like having to jump out of the way of a moving car when walking on a footpath, but that is what makes this whole experience so incredibly unique.