Trip Start Feb 27, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  , Beijing,
Sunday, March 3, 2013

With the beautiful blue sky that greeted us on Friday gone, Beijing has retreated to its normal grey skies as I carried on doing more jobs.
The past few days have been so busy.  If I have learned anything before I have started class, it is how to queue.  In China, the population is so huge, that queues seem to be everywhere.  For each job I've ticked off my list, I have had to wait for so long.  Sometimes I have queued only to be told that I was in the wrong queue.  However, it is all part of the experience.
Mum and I went off to Ikea early this morning, and bought mattress pads, hanging shelves, boxes and other furnishings to make my room look more habitable.  I tried to lie down on my bed yesterday, and it felt like I was lying on a wooden park bench.  The mattress provided was only about 2 inches think, and my friend Rebecca (who so kindly helped me out all yesterday) said that it would not be possible to sleep on it.  We bought a spongy mattress pad at Ikea today, but even with that extra protection, it is still much harder than what I'm used to.  I have a feeling that most days I'll be so tired it won't matter how hard the mattress is.
In the last 2 days I have signed up for the gym, got a subway and bus card, activated the sim cards in my phone, registered for a placement test, shopped for some things I left behind and organised a water cooler for my room.  The Beijing plumbing system was not built for the amount of people it has now, so the water is not potable.  You also are not supposed to dispose of toilet paper in the toilet, or flush any other rubbish down there.
 By the end of each day, my feet are aching and my legs are tired.  It does feel good to accomplish so much before I start classes, to minimise everything that has to be done after classes start.  I have been so incredibly lucky to have had a great team of Mum, Rebecca, Ian and Emily who have all helped me to settle in and be comfortable.  I have no idea how I would have managed everything on my own; it would have been too overwhelming.
I decorated my room, and started to clean some of the areas.  I scrubbed the walls to try and get ride of the footprints, though they looked to be fairly ingrained in the walls.  With some strength, I was able to blur the outlines, so now it looks better, but not necessarily clean.  Whilst I was setting up, my roommate came in.  I am unsure of the spelling of her name, but she is a Russian who looks like she may be in her thirties (to be confirmed) and who is coming to learn Chinese for the first time.  She came with two Chinese friends who were helping her, as her English was a little limited as well. She arrived with a mop and cleaning products, so she obviously had the same idea as me when she first surveyed the room. She seems to be friendly, and I am really glad about that.  The TV and a few light bulbs in our room don't work, but her Chinese friends said that they'd speak to someone about fixing them for us.
Mum and I then went to the markets that we used to frequent on our tourist trips.  We would spend hours in these markets, and go back multiple times.  Staying in a different area of Beijing, it took us nearly 45 minutes by subway to get there, which was tiring.  The markets have upgraded since the last time I went; gone are the curtains to separate the stalls, now there are glass panels and professional signs at each door.  As expected, however, the prices have also gone up, but you can still haggle to get a bargain.
Tomorrow I start my placement tests, and the real work begins. I'm really eager to meet my classmates and to see what is expected of me academically this semester.
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Comments on

Hi Amy, so glad you are here now. If you need more help, please do not forget I am also your friend. Call me if you need. :)

Joan Jay on

I do not know what is going wrong, but this is about my sixth attempt to comment on your blog and reply by email. Hope you get this. Photos are great and the new cupboard and boxes seem spot on. Love the colour of the rug and what a difference it makes. If your new room mate came prepared to clean then you are probably of like minds which is a good thing. Sorry about the weather, but if I could I would send you some of our lovely sunshine. Today, was physio (ny last one), bridge and tonight book club so I am pushing my boundaries too. Just heard James got 92 for his first sac in PE. Everyone over the Nanna xx

Kate on

Hi Amy, Wow - you have started with a bang - you'll be glad when classes start so you can slow down a bit!! What is the brown 'thing' running down your bed?? I can't work out whether it is a desk, a bar, a cupboard or a bedhead for the side of a bed!! Looking forward to your next blog and finding out more about your new home/living quarters. Take Care. Aunty Kate

Lyn on

Hi Amy, good to understand where you,ll be living It already looks so much nice and bright and you,ve solved the storage problems well. Xxx

Joan Jay on

No luck with my computer I am tired of trying - just know I am thinking of nanna

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