First, an update on the cold: I am fully recovered. Unfortunately, in the process of recovering I lost my voice. There’s good news in that I have it back and my lack of voice made for a fun girls night in on Thursday. Using Google Translate I was able to invoke the voice of robot Ashley. Not only did the computer mispronounce words and phrases, the mere sound of a robot voice attempting to respond to questions or sing the lyrics to a song left us all in tears of laughter. The bad news is that I did not get to participate in the bartering with my Chinese class. I went with the class but only as a silent observer. I suppose I will just have to take in everything I learned and prove to my professor that I was listening.
Friday, after classes, my roommate and I decided it would be a perfect night for a movie night. So, that’s what we did. We ended up watching three movies, eating chocolate and Pocky sticks and just vegging out. Despite the drive I normally have to go out, see and experience Beijing; a night in, just relaxing is exactly what I needed. I woke up on Saturday feeling refreshed and ready to explore.
Now, the need to explore is a feeling that cannot be squelched easily. Thus, Saturday afternoon a couple friends and I took the subway out to the Olympic stadiums. I will state here and now that I am determined, above all else, to swim at the Water Cube. The entire complex was amazing. Although we did not actually go inside, the atmosphere was invigorating. There were people everywhere laughing, taking pictures and simply enjoying themselves in this extraordinary place. Interesting enough, my little group was a significant attraction as well. My roommate was asked to pose with two different Chinese babies and I was asked to pose with many of random people whom I will never meet again. With as many cameras as we had pointed at us, I would not doubt that somewhere on the large network that is Facebook, there is a picture of our group that will never be seen by any one of us. I am not sure what the best word is to describe this thought: Interesting? Sentimental? Creepy? I’ll let you know when I figure it out myself.
After our exciting adventure, we all went out to WuDaoKou to have dinner. We had been told about a little diner that carried American food and we wanted to try it out. Turns out it was really good and reasonably cheap, or at least cheaper than the other places we had been that carried American food. I ended up getting a salad and a huge glass of milk. I know this sounds disgustingly healthy and perhaps even boring but first, you must understand that finding real milk in China is like trying to find a Waldo in a “Where’s Waldo” book. Those of you who know me well know that living without milk for three and a half months is like receiving a death sentence. Secondly, the fruits and vegetables in China are, well, iffy. Some places clean their fruit and veggies well before serving them, other places clean them in the tap water and still, others do not clean them at all. I have known many of people who made the mistake of buying an apple, wiping it off on their shirt and taking a bite out of it. A little while later they are 水土不服. Or they order a salad from a not so reputable place end up sleeping the night on the bathroom floor. These stories and the warnings I have received from Chinese friends has put the fear of fruit in me. Thus, being able to have a big salad with carrots, red cabbage and thousand island was a huge deal for me. Speaking of thousand island, interesting enough, it is a very common product here. As I do, they seem to put it on most anything. I recently experienced bliss in the form of a Taiwanese Pancake. It was basically fried dough stuffed with roasted chicken, lettuce and thousand island. The nice thing here is that the lettuce is cooked so I do not have to worry about getting sick and it has thousand island on it! If it didn’t have as many calories as a Big and Tasty, I would probably eat a couple every day.
Now, another week is starting and it is time to get back to work. I have a group discussion on Wednesday, a test at the end of this week and a debate the week after. I plan on devoting some of this week to homework as I will be leaving for Chengde on Saturday morning. The last thing I want to do is get back Monday morning and be stressed about all the work I have left to do.
Until next post, thanks for reading!