Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Jan-term ends

(..... and we're back in time a week, when I should have written this!)

So, on 26th, we went to a "rural village"about 3 hours drive from Beijing. Though this town was indeed in the countryside, we were told that the Chinese government had given the villagers money to move their houses from the landslide prone slopes they used to be on. Instead of building traditional style Chinese houses, the village leaders decided to turn their town into a tourist destination- people can pay to stay with a family, eat delicious food (they even sent some of the villagers to cooking school) and relax in the countryside. Nominally, we were there to interview the residents, but our family only had one person at the time(the husband was off gathering __ for spring festival) and to make sure we felt welcome, she spent all but the last 15 minutes in the kitchen, preparing an extraordinary amount of food. All in all, she seemed very happy with her new life, and after talking to classmates who had gone to other houses, they said their people seemed happy too. But as we discussed with our teachers, this is a sign of an interesting time for China- in which some city people begin to grow their own food, and the traditional farm life is a tourist draw.

Anyways, here we are on their patio/couch!

Walking through the new village

Here is their traditional oven! But they also have a modern kitchen, which is bigger than my parents kitchen. 

Chinese countryside, from the bus!

After returning from this adventure, Gaolin and I went out to see a movie! We got popcorn (kettle corn) which was delicious. The movie was pretty good too :) 

Sunday I visited Mimee's family again! We hung out, ate, went to a Sam's club, and ate some more. They were truly fantastic to me, I really enjoyed discussing some America vs China issues and playing with the cousins. Makes me wish I could stay in Beijing longer!

 They even drove me home! Way too nice.

OK, so not much happens during the week except studying, but on Tuesday we were going to meet in the activities room to practice our term-end skit, but the door's lock malfunctioned! So half our group was trapped inside, while the rest of us were left outside!

Inspecting the door, debating whether the guys should just try kicking it in.

A teacher appears as well! In the end, about 10 people were all standing around, watching the drama unfold. Most of us brought out our new vocab words to study while this was happening.
After trying credit cards, hangers, screwdrivers and various other tools, the handle/locking mechanism was finally pried off, and our classmates were freed! Needless to say, we decided to call it a night and return to our other studies. 

The most normal sticky notes I could find at the store...

Our calligraphy teacher in action! He's lived in Beijing his whole life, and after not understanding him for the first 3 meetings, I was finally able to decipher his heavy accent and talk to him. He was very interesting, plus his voice sounded like it should be on NPR- I'm sad to leave his class. After 4 meetings, we were to write a 4-character idiom on white paper (a daunting task). He assured us no matter how ugly the final result was, most foreigners wouldn't be able to tell me had made a mistake, so we shouldn't worry.

Andd still haven't gotten to graduation... 


  1. Not hard to have a larger kitchen than mine...:)...the cousins look the door story!

  2. ha ha, not going to say much about my kitchen