Another Chin-glish phrase my roommate taught me… 哈喽 Ha Lou (pronounced Hah-lo). It’s another way of saying “Hello. (I may make these Chin-glish words, a theme in my blog)
We have been busy! First, on the academic side, CET gave us two more classes, in addition to our three morning classes. Now, twice a week, we have 1 on 1 classes with our Chinese teachers. And also, twice a week, we have 1 on 2 classes with a teacher and another student. All these extra classes are focused on helping us speak Mandarin with the correct tones, which, I am realizing, is a lot more important than I originally believed.
**Side note for those studying Chinese now and are planning to go to China- really practice speaking with correct tones! People will, in many cases, not be able to understand you if you do not speak using the correct tones**
In addition to academic classes, CET also started offering us extra curricular classes. All these classes meet once a week for 1-2 hours and are all taught on BIE’s campus. The classes offered include; Chinese martial arts, yoga, traditional Chinese painting, and mahjong classes. I signed up for Chinese martial arts and yoga. I’m particularly excited about the idea of learning Chinese martial arts in China!
Outside of class, we visited the Summer Palace in northern Beijing, which was amazing! Yuan quan came on this trip and helped me take a lot of pictures…
In addition, last Friday we saw a Chinese acrobatic show. It was unbelievable what these acrobats were capable of doing.
**On another side note… I would like to point out some things about China, that were a bit of a shock to me when I first arrived and I’m still getting used to. I’ll undoubtedly add things to this as time goes on, but these two are the first that come to mind now…
Traffic- Traffic in Beijing is… different (to put it lightly). It was a big shock to me at first to see cars drive in the shoulder lane on highways, and drive on sidewalks (I’ve even seen a gate that is meant to lead cars onto the sidewalk). This sounds bad and a little dangerous, but as long as you follow your own crosswalk lights and look before you cross the street, there’s really not that much of a problem.
Food- Most of the food in the area around BIE is Chinese cuisine. There are a number of great, cheap Sichuan and dumpling restaurants within a block of campus. In addition there are a number of street vendors (I’m not yet brave enough to try them), which sell a lot of grilled meat, vegetables, and stinky tofu (they’re not kidding when they call it “stinky” tofu). Finally, there are at least 3 supermarkets with both Chinese and Western food within moderate walking distance. However, if, like me, some days you really crave pizza, burgers or coffee, there is also a McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, and a Starbucks about 20 minutes away from campus (by walking). I’m still searching for slightly better pizza and burgers.
Finally, I want to post this video. The song is called “北京欢迎你” or “Beijing Welcomes You.” It was written for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, but I hear this song sung many times at Karaoke places (there are a good number of those in Beijing). I really love this song and it always makes me think, “Wow! I picked a cool language to study.”
Andrew Retallick '14