31
Oct
10

假期 vacation

This past week I have been living the Beijing life at a much more relaxed pace on my fall vacation. Most of my other classmates jumped on trains and plains in order to explore different areas of China. Because I didn’t feel like the bathroom conditions aboard sleeper trains, and have already spent a lot of time, energy, and money traveling around this China this summer, I decided to stay home in Beijing and see what amusing situations I could stumble into during an unrestrained week in the city.

Biggest thing I learned this week. Beijing gets COLD. Suddenly the beautiful afternoon sun with accompanying light breeze of fall transformed into frigid cold death temperature. Going outside was not an option many a time this week and I was forced to order from the overexpensive Korean restaurant downstairs. Also, they have not turned the heat on yet so I have been wearing multiple layers to bed. No fun! Luckily towards the end of the week the grip of frost and death relented and the beautiful fall weather returned.

I decided,  because I was going to have so much time on my hands, I should perhaps find some part-time work that could be both mentally stimulating and economically beneficial at the same time. I asked one of the teacher in the program and she put me in touch with a friend over at a company that specializes in teaching students Chinese in preparation for their eventually study in a foreign country. I spent a lot of time over the last week riding the subway back and forth to the company’s office in order to do a series of interviews and sample classes. So while I wasn’t able to start teaching this past week, I am set to begin teaching Oral English and SAT prep classes next week which should help keep me busy and cut down on time-wasting TV habits that have slowly developed lately. The pay is really good too, better than the pay at any jobs I have worked in America. Pure excitement this opportunity is.

While I wasn’t shuffling back and forth to the center of the city for these interviews I was spending a lot of quality time with my roommate. He has his own car which allows us to travel around the city faster and in much more comfortable conditions than the bus or subway provide. My roommate has friends that attend the National University for Performing Arts so we had the opportunity to watch the dress rehearsal of a traditional Beijing Opera for free (tickets are usually more than 50 dollars). The costumes and singing were fantastic the machine that displays the words and characters were broken. Therefore, it was excruciatingly difficult to hear the singing and understand the story. So while I appreciated the performance for the first hour, at the end of all three hours I was practically falling asleep because I had no idea what in the world was happening.

On another day we took the public buses out to 香山 (fragrant hills park). We wanted to climb the hill and see all the trees around Beijing with their leaves changing into deep shades of red and yellow on their course to eventually death. However, the leaves hadn’t really changed yet (bad timing). The park was crowded but nonetheless we had a great time chatting our way up the hill and seeing views like this:

 

 

Beijing Revealed!

 

It was interesting to see just how massive Beijing is (even if the pollution is blocking the view).

The week flew by and in addition to doing all this stuff I bought a jacket, made pancakes, caught up on a lot of TV, made friends on the Subway, got lost, put ketchup on pasta and called it spaghetti, witnessed true Chinese road rage (and even got involved), and slept in past 11 a couple times. Overall, it was a very successful vacation and while I am looking forward to the start of classes tomorrow, I really enjoyed my new found freedom this past week.

Only 7 WEEKS left… on the downward slide now!

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