The first week in Beijing has been unforgettable and I’ve quickly fallen in love with this city. Despite all the culture shock, the one thing that surprises me the most is the sense of community I feel around me even in such a large city like Beijing. I liked walking through the park by the Temple of Heaven and seeing everyone hanging out. It was very peaceful. This week we also went to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Beijing Zoo, and of course the Great Wall of China. We also made various business visits to Hyundai Manufacturing, Career International, PR Wire News, the noodle factory and others. This whole week we’ve had the most amazing tour guide and friend to show us around, Lei. She made the trip even better with her enthusiasm and teaching us all about Beijing.
My favorite thing so far was going to the Great Wall of China. It was breathtaking, pictures don’t do it justice. The best part of the Great Wall was going to the ruins part. It had the best view by far. Despite the pollution, Beijing has some great sightseeing and nature. We’ve also gotten very lucky and have had multiple days of blue skies!!
The food is amazing here. I don’t think I’ll tire of it and I’ve made it my goal not to have any American food this entire month except on the 4th of July. We’ve had family style dinners, hot pot, and a beautiful duck dinner. One night we went to a Muslim restaurant and had really good food. Then there was a belly dancing show and singers. I didn’t expect to see that in Beijing.
My one frustration is when it comes to ordering food. The language barrier makes it hard to figure out what I am actually ordering. That has been the only “culture shock” issue I’ve really had. Besides that everything has been great and I love every second of learning the culture. I’ve already met some really nice people here at Tsinghua and the visiting students from Hong Kong. My teaching partner is from the U.K and is really cool. I can’t wait to start teaching tomorrow!