A lot has happened in my first week in Beijing. Sometimes, I feel that it’s not real, but waking up to this new environment everyday just strengthens my recognition of this being so real. The people, the environment, the language, it’s a wonderful feeling albeit a bit scary because I’m always so afraid that at one point, I may not be able to get my point across to them. Haha.
I’d like to say that our first few nights were the most adventurous, but it seems like each day brings new adventures with it. New food, new people, new places, there’s always something new. Our first real meal after we got settled at a hotel somewhere near the WuDaoKou area was KFC. Hilarious, but it was fun. Was able to converse well enough with the lady at the counter. I guess lots of people in this area are really familiar with foreigners, since there are lots of students here (including foreign students). Walking along WuDaoKou area, I think I’ve seen more foreigners than I have back home. There are so many students from the US, from other Asian countries, from England, and elsewhere. It’s amazing, like a gathering of foreign cultures in this one area.
Now, me and my friends are sharing a flat. We went to the dorms at TsingHua and discovered them to be very small and somewhat isolated. Not saying it’s really bad but if we could find something along the same price range that was a flat, why not right? During the first 2 days here in Beijing, me and my friends did a lot of errands like opening bank accounts, visiting the University, and other such things. On our second day to Beijing, we were able to find a nice flat, after much stressful moments looking around and scouting and visiting with real estate agents and landlords.
One thing about being independent is probably the cleaning and fixing everything yourself. So far, we’ve had to buy all our household materials like pillows, blankets, comforters, basins, hangers, water, trash bags, and other such necessities. Cleaning was also so very stressful during the first few days. The last tenants left a few things dusty so we had to do a major cleaning routine. Our place looks pretty livable in now, though our luggages are still in the living room as we can’t find a real place to fit them in. Haha.
In some way, we’re getting used to calling this place home. We’ve even familiarized ourself with a side street that goes directly from the main road – Chengfu Lu, to our apartment complex. Being a local is not too hard though. I’ve gotten mistaken as a local by so many people. Locals and foreigners alike. Every time I go to look at something, people always think I’m just one of them, though the Beijing accent is a bit hard to decipher at times. My Mandarin seems somewhat pass-able though. Even foreign students at my university have mistaken me as a local. On the day I went to get my bike, I was stopped by a Westerner asking for directions. He said 小姐 and followed the greeting with something related to directions and a building within campus. Apparently he was lost. I think he was surprised when I replied in English saying “Oh you mean this building….dot dot dot”. Somewhat relieved and somewhat surprised too. 🙂 Haha. Yesterday i n enrollment at school, I was sitting beside this service table for visas which was already closed and a Westerner came up to me asking something, and I replied in English. When some people hear me speak though, they first ask if I’m not from Beijing/China since I look like a local. Then they guess that I’m from Japan, or Korea, or the like. A guy at the mall I was buying a winter coat in even thought I was an American because among my friends, I had an American English accent. Hilarious, though I can’t deny that I feel flattered as well.
Food-wise though, I’ve been more adventurous than I have back home. Sure, I still ask about the food since I’m still iffy about trying those very dangerous/mysterious kinds of food, but I’ve been trying food from side-streets and local restaurants as well. As long as it’s meat (beef, chicken and pork), I’ll most likely eat it though. The rice and veggies here are so delicious too! It doesn’t help that most of the food here is cheap and has big servings, you just want to eat it all. A few days ago, me and my friends went to this local eatery near our complex that served 25 dumplings for 6rmb! Me and my friend just shared and ordered a cup of rice each at 1rmb. I’ve also already eaten at this Fujian food-serving eatery near our complex, a little taste of “home”. There are so many places to eat in this area, it’s just amazing. Friends from back home are asking if I’ve tried scorpion, but I’ve yet to consider trying it. Haha.
Will end this entry and maybe post something more about Beijing soon. I just love how WordPress is not blocked!
P.S. Sorry, pictures don’t seem to want to come out. Will try to fix it later. >,<