Winter in Beijing hasn't been very good to me lately. Although I have recovered from my early cold, Beijing is still a fairly cold place. The 200+ new words I have to learn as an L5 student also keeps me pretty contained within the Minzu University campus. Classes are a lot harder than I expected and I began to spend my entire afternoon and night studying for Chinese. For my first day of class, I prepared from 4pm-1am with a dinner break in between. By Wednesday, however, I learned that even if I prepare significantly less, I can still do fairly well in my class the next day...I still see the value of being very focused on my studying, but I've also decided that it wasn't worth it to spend all my time in Beijing studying in my room...a conclusion that I think many students in the program come to realize.
Anyhow, enough said about Chinese studies, this is a post about why I'm a little bit in love with Beijing.
Beijing is AWESOME. I've been here before with my parents when I was younger, but all we did was sight see. But actually Beijing's diversity of things is really 层出不穷(read: a lot) and keep on blowing my mind. Today, my neighbor Hozhimin and I went to Houhai Park (后海公园）and had a blast! The lake in Houhai was completely frozen over and Beijingers have created all kinds of informal recreational sports on top of the ice. We saw people skating, playing ice hockey, riding skating chairs, flying kites, and even just riding their bikes! Hozhimin and I like to do this motion of imitating our mind's being blown whenever we see something cool (such as Beijing's subway commercials. OK, random tangent, Beijing subway commercials....HOLY CRAP. Along the walls on the subway route there are like flat screen monitors that play running commercials. OK, that's pretty upscale compared to New York, but get this, in Beijing, as you ride the subway, there are commercials that are TIMED to follow the subway as it passes. So when you're looking out of a moving subway, there is a TV screen that plays commercials! I'm not a very big fan of commercials, but even I couldn't help but be impressed by commercial screens that run at the speed of a subway).
Bicycling! What a BAMF (for my international readers and parentals, BAMF means bad ass motherfuckers. It's a compliment for being really hardcore/厉害/cool)
The most adorable kid ever! Kind of like every other kid you see in Beijing.