this took a week to post!
21/1/16 - 1/2/16 2 °C
As I type this, it has been about 11 days since I arrived in the bustling city of Beijing, China. Although being away from those I love can seem daunting at times, I’ve not felt lonely or stressed here yet. The others in the ImmerQi program are a lively but fun bunch to be around, and I’ve made friends with some of them already. The city itself is always buzzing with excitement. Beijing is never lacking in new experiences – there is always something new to see and learn, from the historical to modern.
Over the past couple of days I’ve been fortunate enough to experience a more historical side of the busy city that is Beijing, China. The morning of the 27th of January found me at the Juyangguan Pass of the Great Wall of China. I have to say that the Wall is nothing like it is in pictures – it’s much better. I wasn’t prepared for the arduous task of actually getting up the Wall as it was a steep incline and it was very troublesome to climb the steps, but very worth it. The next stop was to the Olympic Stadium, and not much could be said about that. I wasn’t impressed with the outside like I guess I should have been, though I’m sure the inside wouldn’t have impressed me either. Houhai Hutongs was the next step on our tour day, which was very nice and quiet. Needless to say I was very ready for the day to be over.
Yesterday I found myself again in the act of exploring Beijing’s history in the Tien’anmen Square, Forbidden City and Lama Temple. Tien’anmen Square was a vast area of cultural importance that I found myself intrigued by. I learn something new about China every day (surprise, surprise). Next stop was the Forbidden City, which was well worth the trip. With over 800 buildings, there’s never a lack of something to see. One of my group members told me that if you were not invited into the Forbidden City by the emperor in the City’s hay-days, then it was cause for execution should you be found there. Between the Forbidden City and the next destination, we had lunch at a small restaurant located just down and across the street from the Lama Temple. We all ended up getting something different to what we’d ordered because we had pointed to the wrong Chinese names, so it was a forced opportunity to try something new. The last destination of the day was the Lama Temple. It was very beautiful and peaceful there. At the chance of sounding too comparative, I’d have to say I prefer Japan’s temples to China’s, but they both have something different to offer that the other doesn’t. The walking was tiring but we learned so many things that day, had so many good experiences, that I can only be left saying that I’d do it again - 100 times over.
On a more personal note, my roommate from Denmark and I get along very well, my professors are wonderful and very competent, and although the program itself could use more communication and organization, ImmerQi is wonderful. I’ve actually been ill the past week or so and the medicine here isn’t working as well as medicine I would get back in the States would be. The one thing I can vouch for are the cough drops – they taste horrible but they work miracles on a sore throat.
With limited internet access and classes that eat up most of my time, it will be hard for me to write over the next couple of weeks, so please keep that in mind in the absence of blog posts. But also keep in mind that I have been proactive in photographing all that I can here, as well as travelling to different areas in Beijing. Once I’ve moved to my placement, I will try to make blog updates more frequent, and I will try to travel around China as much as I can. Thank you for your understanding.