Church, Restaurants and Class

Trip Start Feb 27, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  , Beijing,
Monday, March 11, 2013

The last few days have been so busy- but what else do you expect now? I have since changed classes to a higher level upon the recommendation of my teacher.  I had wanted a bit more of a challenge, and I was happy when he said he thought that it would be better for me to go up a grade.   My new class is much smaller than my previous one.  One of my classmates, Elaine, said that the class had started large, but many people had changed to higher or lower levels.  Now there are about 14 people, which I think is a good class size.  With any subject to study, it is always better to have a smaller class, but especially with languages, or you will not have the proper opportunity to practice speaking.  The new class is made up on an Englishman, some Danish students, Korean, Japanese, American, two Lithuanians and Indonesians.  Once again, I am the lone Australian, but it is fun to experience so many different cultures. 

Today was the day that mum went home.  She has helped me get started and settled, and it was a little emotional for both of us this morning.  It really sunk in for me today that it wasn't a fun holiday anymore--- with hotel buffet breakfasts and pay TV--- but it is now my everyday life, sleeping in a dormitory, eating in a cafeteria, doing homework.  I slept in the dorm last night, and the bed was so hard, I felt like I was sleeping on the floor!  It is probably good for your back, though, and I did sleep okay, so I will persevere.

Today, at lunchtime, we all went out to the cafeteria to eat.  Chinese was the only common language amongst us, so it was another good chance to practice speaking as well as get to know my classmates for this semester.  This was the first time I had seen the cafeteria, and, coming from Australia, the whole experience was a little surreal to me.  Even at university, we have little cafes and restaurants, but we don’t have a dining hall the size of this one.  It had three levels, and inside, it was pandemonium! There was no such thing as queues, or waiting your turn, you just had to make your way to one of the counters with food you like, and wait until one of the servers notice you. There were arms, money and food everywhere.  It was a little intimidating today, but I will definitely get used to it, as it will be the place I mainly eat for the next while.  The food is cheap (lunch cost me about AUD$1.60), and it is about as good as you would expect cafeteria food to be.  It is nowhere near restaurant standard, but it is good enough.

I have been trying out different restaurants the last few days.  One of them desperately required someone to re-translate the dishes, because one dish was labeled "bizarre food" and another was called “casserole of bacteria”.  Perhaps they should hire Sammy, Rebecca or Emily who would be able to find much more appealing names for the dishes.  That translation certainly does not entice me to try some bacteria casserole.

Sunday, I also went to Church for the first time in China.  A regular churchgoer back home, it was important for me to find a Church, since I will be here for such a long time.  I wasn’t really expecting too much; China is a communist country, and communism traditionally does not allow religion.  It is only recently that Churches have been allowed to freely set up, so I was curious to see if it was popular or not.  I was so surprised when I turned up to the huge building, with massive sign altering all to what it was. The church itself was so big, it was like a lecture theatre, with an enormous projector up the front of the speaker, and TV screens so that the people up the back could see.  There was not an empty chair.  People squeezed as many as they could into the pews, but it still left about two rows of people standing up the back.  I made several mental notes to never be late, because it is a long time to stand. It was the fifth service this Church was doing for the day, and I couldn’t believe how busy it was.  It was inspiring to see so many foreign and Chinese Christians meeting in the one place together.  It was a nice sermon, and I enjoyed the whole experience.
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amandabeet on

Hi Amy - the boys would like to know what happens when you EAT the Bacteria Casserole. A little of the SIDE by SIDE spirit please - in the interests of all your family and friends you HAVE to try it! Glad you are settling in. Love the Beets!

Andrew on

Is it just me , or do you get the feeling that eating bacteria casserole everyday may give you a desperate need to go to the bathroom

Sammy on

hi Amy, good try, and I have not been to the Haidian Church yet. maybe some days later, you could be the tour guide for us to visit some intersting place in Beijing~:P

Lyn on

You'll have to keep a note of all the unusually translated dishes.
Dop hope you'll try the bacteria casserole - could you read the Chinese name & work out where the problem was?
Can you buy a foam underlay to go on ypur bed!

David Morland on

Amy, thanks for the email alerting me to your blog. Great reading. In fact I have just whiled away the last half hour. So glad the settling in process has gone well.
See ya
David Morland

Joan Jay on

So pleased I was able to read your latest blog. Computer seems to be up and working. I will send you an nanna

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