Category: Travel

Aerial, aerial!

Dude, is it just me or does every photo that I seem to take look inexplicably … bad whenever I switch computers?1 I’m on my flickr, and everything just looks gross.

View outside the plane. The thing with Beijing’s skyline (or lack thereof, I suppose) is that it’s hazy … like crazy (rhyming skills, let me show you them!). Seriously guys, good luck finding the sun if you ever venture out here. Until we were really close to ground level, the view from the plane was completely white.

My classes are intense like none other2, and I hardly have enough time to spend in the computer lab. We do one ke wen3 per day, with about 40 new vocab words to learn. Every morning, we have a ting xie4, followed by a review / discussion of the new ke wen. Some of the questions that I get asked5, I can’t even answer them in English, go figure. After the lesson, we have a drill session, which is a discussion session of sorts that integrates our newly learned vocab. Again, questions about current events … and dream lovers.6

After the lesson, we have an hour for lunch. The cafeteria food is pretty good7, and it’s really inexpensive! Same applies to most food here, which you can get for less than 1 USD.8 I kind of dread going back to overpriced, stingy portions of American food.

After lunch, we have 40 minutes to prepare for our tutorial.9 The tutorial is two-part: one part is conversational and the other part reviews whatever I’ve prepared in the past 40 minutes. I’m not really sure what to make of them, since I rotate teachers every day. In one tutorial, I was quizzed on the next lesson’s vocab out of the blue. Needless to say, I failed quite miserably. But most of it is just small talk, so it’s not as hard as the morning lesson.

… and after all of that, I’m done around 3 pm. I’d type up a lot more about my (mis)adventures here but I’m terribly hungry, so I will post later! Hope all of you are doing well ♥ ♥!

P.S. I do apologize if the photos are making the LiveJournal flist or feed load slowly. 🙁

P.P.S. Several blogging sites are banned in China, such as LiveJournal and Tumblr.


footnotes:
1: Bad = grainy, compressed, over-sharpened, et al. Grainy can be good in some cases, but not this one.
2: Either that or I’m lazy. Or both. But seriously, lessons then drills then two-part tutorial??? My brain does not like.
3: Lesson / unit / text, whatever you want to call it.
4: Dictation — the teacher reads off a sentence in the text, and we have to write it word for word in Chinese.
5: “What do you think of China’s one-child policy?” “What kind of policy would you enact to reduce Beijing’s highway congestion?” “Do you think China’s industrialization is shortening or widening the gap between the rich and the poor?” — asked in Chinese, of course. Which increases the difficulty of answering by tenfold.
6: Yeah, no kidding. One of the questions involved us describing the ideal qualities of our “dream lover.” (class: Wait, what.)
7: But then again, I’ll eat just about anything. Except most things involving tomatoes. And onions. And leeks. Which I suppose does make me a fussy eater now, but shhh.
8: No really, I kid you not.
9: Preparation = reading the next lesson and studying the vocab. Unfortunately, 40 minutes doesn’t even suffice when reading just the first page.

high-wire-operated brain, power on.

Goodness, the monumental first post is here. Unfortunately, I do not have any parting words to really justify my excitement, so this post will have to do.


a different kind of little red book

I leave for Beijing in 24-some hours, and I am crazy excited to the point where boredom is simply inexcusable for the 13-hour flight. I have a new red journal to write! I can’t wait to write about daily happenings and fill up the pages with doodles. NEW JOURNAL — now how is that not exciting.

I am attempting to fit everything into one suitcase (under the 50 lb limit), one backpack, and one purse. I would totally take advantage of this two-suitcase-limit-for-international-flights-only but we all know that I am going to come back with like, six cases the size of baby hippos. Sorry, baby hippos, but I don’t think that you’d want to be forcefully shoved onto a plane compartment. We’ll see how my packing prowess measures, as I attempt to fit heaps of clothes, anvil-sized books, a laptop, tangled-up electronics, toiletries, and whatever else I deem necessary.

Riiiight. In my defense, it is 3:18 AM and I should have better things to do. Like rest my eyelids. Or exercise my dream interpretation skills.

In other words, I have ZZZZZZZZZs to manufacture.