Trip Start Feb 27, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  , Beijing,
Sunday, April 28, 2013

This week mostly consisted of me studying and then sitting my midterm exams.  I had an oral exam on Wednesday, reading and writing on Thursday and general grammar and vocab on Friday.  The tests were easier than I was anticipating, which was certainly a relief, but they were still difficult tests.  Having to remember so many of the characters that we had learned is tricky enough, but having to also remember how to use them appropriately is another story.  Unfortunately, characters cannot be used in every scenario that we use them in English.  For example, a word meaning 'painful' may only mean 'painful' in the sense of physical pain, rather than emotional pain, although in English  it can be used in both situations. 
Friday was a huge relief to finally finish the tests that had been worrying me, so it was a nice surprise to have my teacher for the last 2 hours of class put on a movie to watch.  The movie was completely irrelevant to what we are studying, but it was a nice break.

Friday afternoon was also the BLCU Cultural Fair.  On the basketball courts, they had set up tents for each country to show off their country. their history and their culture.  It was really amazing to see the beautiful diversity of students that BLCU has.  From Saudi Arabia to Costa Rica, to the USA, to Nigeria.  I'm sure every continent was represented with multiple countries, and it was great to have a look at a little of what makes each country proud.  Some tents sold or gave away food, did face painting, wine tasting (France), and displayed posters, pictures and played music that represented their country's passions.  Mexico was like a little party all afternoon, as they all danced to their music outside their tent all day.  Many students dressed up in their traditional clothes, and in Malaysia, they even dressed us up in their clothes for some pictures. Unfortunately, Australia did not have a tent, but New Zealand did.  How annoying! I still haven't met any other Australians yet, so I was looking forward to meeting some.  Maybe another time.
There were other musical performances on the stage, so I got to see styles of dancing and singing that I never knew existed.  I wasn't aware of a style of dancing called American Tribal Style in the USA, which is kind of like belly dancing.  Apparently it is a blend of styles which reflects the multicultural American community.  I also saw some Russian dancing, Mexican dancing, and a really entertaining Korean hip-hop melody of Korean songs like Gangnam Style.
Everybody had put in such a huge effort in their tents, and their efforts really paid off, as it was quite a spectacular event.  Coming to China was not only about learning the language for me, but to open myself up to the other cultures that we are not usually exposed to back home, and this event really summed everything up. 

On Saturday, I went out with a friend to the Beijing Zoo Market to go shopping and celebrate our exams being over.  We made some good purchases, and were pleased that the shop wasn't too uncomfortably stuffy or overcrowded. The market was so huge, my friend was good with looking for emergency exits each time we entered a new section or a new floor. In case of a fire we had a good get out plan! In the evening, I met Emily and Ian for dinner, and they took me out to have spicy fish at this really nice restaurant. After we went to go play pool. The pool bar was accessed through a chemist and downstairs in a side door at the back of the chemist. It all felt a little weird, like it was one of those illegal joints you see on TV, where the place downstairs is filled with people smoking cigars and playing poker. It wasn't like that at all, in fact it was a nice pool place with many pool tables, and it was not busy at all. I was pretty terrible, but Ian helped coach me, and I managed to get some balls in the pocket!

The weather is quickly starting to warm up now.  The weather is starting to regularly be in the mid-20s, which took me getting used to, as I was still in the habit of wearing a large jacket outside.  I hear that this comfortable period is only fleeting (about 3 weeks) before it gets to be uncomfortably hot.

This week's awesome China moment was when a Chinese man came up to me and asked in English where I was from. I said Australia, and he complimented me on how good my English was. Apparently I speak as well as a native. Thank you?
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Sammy on

native English spearker? hahaha~

Lyn on

For our national dress, you could have worn your Pies outfit

Joan Jay on

Jan Richardson and I read your travel pod yesterday and I read it again today. I don't think you should take to wearing a head scarf as I miss seeing your lovely hair. The cultural exhibit looked and sounded fantastic, so it is not study study all the time. Continue to enjoy..love nanna

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