Saturday, February 25, 2012

February 18, 2012

Just had breakfast with my host family. Chao fan, mian bao (with peanut butter, jelly and nutella (I think they are specially catering to American tastes)) milk and orange juice. Fanny was still in bed, but the mom and dad tried to teach me how to properly use chopsticks, which ended with fumbling and stabbing my gums.

Later. We went to the Summer Palace! The weather was cold and the palace and lake were beautiful.

At one point I thought my host mother had called my host father retarded, then I realized she had just told me he was going to the toilet.

We met my host sister then went to a Japanese restaurant for lunch.

The sushi tasted so good and familiar, like the sushi from the restaurant near the REI in Salt Lake.

Favorite question of the day (in Chinese of course): "You eat fruit, don’t eat meat, right?" "Yes." "Do you eat garlic?"

February 17, 2012

First afternoon with my host family. My sister is incredibly quiet, an amazing artist, and likes Johnny Depp. This afternoon we ate dinner and then studied past 9:30. Tomorrow I think (there might be a translation flaw here) that we are going to a park, but the daughter (Fanny is her English name) has too much homework so she cannot come with us. After dinner the mother kept asking me if I could eat different things. “Ni keyi he niu nai ma? (“Can you drink milk?”) “Wo keyi” then with fruit, then with bread. “Wo keyi” “Wo keyi” “Wo keyi.” I think they are a bit flabbergasted that I don’t eat meat. For dinner we ate mi fan (of course), bean sprouts, bitter melon (chicken removed) cabbage in broth, and peanut-chicken mixture. While I was studying the mom brought me sliced and peeled oranges, then later beheaded strawberries! Pretty fancy. Only after I had eaten all but one strawberry did I realize that they were wet and had probably been washed in faucet water, so I will either get disgustingly sick or build up my immunity to China water. The apartment is very nice with lots of artwork hanging around. I have my own bedroom with night-sky-and-bat curtains.

February 13, 2012

Just took my first Chinese test (using Cael’s pen of course.) It was awful! (The test not the pen.) All the instructions were in Chinese, so I think my teachers will either be completely dismayed or very entertained by my answers.

View from my window:

Lunch was surprisingly decent.

It included eggplant, rice, egg-tomato mix, a clementine, a green vegetable who’s name I cannot remember at the moment, and a thick pasta noodle in sauce that I didn’t actually eat. Contrary to my previous belief I will not starve here. I visited the soccer field today (pictures in a later post.) My Beijing Opera classroom had beautiful walls!

Went grocery shopping and look what I found:

CHEESE LOBSTER CHIPS! (I took the photo in a mirror.)

Also, check out these awesome and nifty bike hand warmers!

Look at these two delicious (and pink) snacks! The bottle on the right is blushing peach Fanta, and the bottle on the left is rose gum. Both are quite delicious.

I played soccer for the first time! The air definitely affects me. The 24 hours after running were spattered with coughing and inner pains in my back.

Friday, February 24, 2012

February 12, 2012

I can hear the cars driving past my window, six stories below. I did not sleep on the plane, and yet I am only slightly affected by jet lag. The group went on a short tour of the campus. When we entered the cafeteria I was floored by how familiar the air smelled. Do all Chinese canteens smell like overcooked green vegetables and mountains of steaming rice with hints of processed sewage and grease? Two out of two cafeterias polled came out with an affirmative response. 100% so far. The air is so polluted I can feel my lungs shriveling in dismay. Judging by the objects and writing on my roommate’s desk, I believe she is Korean. I have not met her yet, she might be on vacation for the weekend, out in the city, or something of the sort. Right now it is 8:10 pm Beijing time and 5:10 am Orem time and the sleepy fog is starting to roll in.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

February 11, 2012

After a frosty and fries I will board the plane to Beijing. My adult accompanier was surprised that I refit all of my belongings into my suitcases (there was a minor/major (depending on the observer) explosion when I was searching for jelly bellies.) Yes, I understand that sentence was confusing, but it was necessary. So, what do I plan to do in the air? Well, that is up in the air. Ha. Just kidding. Probably read some Good Omens (by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman) and "I am the Messenger" (by Marcus Zusak). I would highly recommend both of these, and "The Graveyard Book" (also by Neil Gaiman).

(Illustration from inside "The Graveyard Book")

Friday, February 10, 2012

February 10, 2012

The White House, fleets of pastel taxies, downy cheesecake, a nifty niche chandelier, and a Walgreens run (among other things of course.) Today I went through “orientation,” which included many surprisingly informative slideshows. I learned a little about my host family, a lot about expectation and possible difficulties. I also learned never to take the strange green concoction from the Beijing 80 nurses.

February 9, 2012

Golden hour and my airplane descended on Washington D.C. at the same time. For a brief moment 30 Rock was playing on the tiny mosaic TV screens.