CorrinaDelia's Travel Journals

CorrinaDelia

  • From Florida, United States
  • Currently in Beijing, China

The Beijing Experience

I'm doing a conversation corps homestay in Beijing for the next 2 months. I'll jot down some of my experiences here, and hopefully you'll read them.

The First Few Days

China Beijing, China  |  May 23, 2011
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 I still can't believe that I'm finally here and that I'm 8000 miles from home. It's going to be an unforgettable experience. 

So, I'm in Beijing! Got in on Saturday afternoon, got picked up from the airport by a guy from the program named Jerry, and checked into my hotel. I think the best way to describe Beijing for me so far is: insane. I thought I had a pretty basic background in Chinese, but nothing could have prepared me for the language barrier. But that's what I'm here for, to learn and practice my Chinese while tutoring my host family in English. I meet them (finally!) later this afternoon, because as I type this it's 1:46 on this lovely Monday morning. The time difference is quite the substantial change, and so is getting a regular sleep schedule. Keeping in touch with my family back home is definitely a struggle because of this.

Yesterday, I got to see Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and a shopping district with a really nice mall. I started out the day with a traditional Chinese breakfast of porridge, dumplings and some other kind of soup. It was delicious and I liked it all. The porridge was in a cup with a plastic seal over the top, and you poked your straw in and drank it for convenience. It was a dark brown liquid with rice in it but it was definitely tasty. Hopped on the subway after breakfast, which was really nice, and saw the Square and Forbidden City. It was HUGE. There were memorials, police in green uniforms, and just a ridiculous amount of tourists and street vendors. It was odd to see the vendors selling things from hats and toys to Communist memorabilia. Chinese flags were a hot ticket item, too.

Then it was off to the subway again for the 'Golden Strait' of shopping. Huge buildings, lots of billboards, lots of people and lots of shopping. There was this almost alley-like section we walked down that had traditional Chinese food stands: I tried mutton on a stick, some kind of fruit covered in hardened sugar on a stick and little fish dumplings. It was like a mini market, with food stores and touristy stores. In the actual mall, Gap is this high class, expensive store here in Beijing! Most of the stores I didn't recognize, but the Chinese people dress to the nines. I had my phone's calculator out the entire time, trying to convert RMB to dollars, but didn't buy anything. Except for a phone! It was about 40 dollars to get a basic phone, SIM card, and to activate it. I'm going to use it to stay in contact with my host family and with the homestay program. I still haven't figured out how to call internationally from my Blackberry.

I'll write more entries for this thing when I get a chance - until then, zaijian!

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  • The First Few Days

    May 23, 2011
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