Kategoriarkiv: peking

Last day in class

This week I had my last lesson, the teacher spend some time prepping us for the exam, giving us pointers on what to focus on etc. I didn’t really realize until I had left that that had been my last lesson. The next time I ’ll see my classmates will be on the actual exam. Only 9 days left to go… 

When the air is not so good.
When the air is not so good.

I’ve been doing a lot of studying lately, so the majority of this week has been spent indoors, locked up in our room. My friend Claire just got back from Haerbin and the ice-festival there. Apparently they had had -18°c some days, so she was relieved to be back to Tianjin, where the temperature is currently 2°c.

When we have APEC-blue sky
When we have APEC-blue sky

This Wednesday on my way to school, I passed by one of the many apartment buildings on campus only to discover 20 fire fighters standing in one big circle with very grim faces. Of course I had to stop and see what was going on, I mean, who wouldn’t? Suddenly half of them ran towards on of the entrances and started banging on one of the doors, while the others broke one of the windows and jumped in. About 5 minutes later, they pulled two men out of the window; apparently they were burglars, caught in action. I could hear one of them saying; -We didn’t do anything, we didn’t do anything, but it looked like they were not about to let them off that easily. What struck me as odd was that it was the fire fighters and not the police making the arrest, is that really their job? Multitasking? Anyhow, the burglars were arrested, placed in the fire truck and most likely hauled off to the police station. No one seemed to care about the broken window or taking any sort of measures to let the owner of the apartment know what had happened. I continued on my way to school just as usual after that.

The Chanel bag

The Chanel bag

Later that same day, at Starbucks, I was going about my business as usual, when a woman took a seat next to me. I didn’t really pay much attention until, she started placing napkins on the chair opposite of her, eatly plaving them all over the seat. She then took her Chanel bag and placed it with great caution on the middle of the seat, whiping it off one extra time with a napking, before sitting down to have her coffee. When her husband joined her a bit later, he was forced to find another seat.

Bye!

New Years in Beijing 2014

Happy New Years everyone!! A new year with new possibilities, new people to meet, new places to see and things to do, 2015 will be a great year.

Liza and Valeria on new Years

Liza and Valeria on new Years

On the last day of the year, the Chinese department had arranged a show in the main building on campus. Preforming was all the students studying Chinese, from beginners, to advanced level. There was singing, acting, rapping, comedians, you name it. Eventhough my major has not been Chinese this semester, I still participated in some of the lessons and I have to say, the teachers here are really great and inspire their students. They really like teaching and you can tell that the students were enjoying themselves. My roommate Liza participated with her class and gave a great preformance as an hairdresser that didn’t know how to cut hair. After the show me and Claire took the train to Beijing to celebrate New Years in the capital.

Handing out diplomas

Handing out diplomas

Aude and her collegue Paolina were going to the Opera in Beijing to watch a ballet preformance, so me and Claire went to a Belgian bar named: Beermania. Claire being from Belgium was quite excited and their selection of beer is quite famous. Aude and Paolina joined us later and together we then proceded to Lugas, a mexican restaurant and bar, to meet up with the rest of the gang. There was a lot of people in the streets, everyone was going somewhere. It was crowded everywhere, but in the end we found a place called ”First floor”, a nice little bar where we stayed for the rest of the evening. Good music and good company=a very successful New Years.

Everyone was there

Everyone was there

The day after we were all a bit tired, but since the Chinese don’t celebrate their ”real” New Year until 19th of February, it was just another Thursday and people had to get back to work and school. I have never celebrated the Chinese New Year in China, but I hope I will at some point, it’s supposed to be amazing with fireworks everywhere. Maybe next time.

Dancing preformance

Dancing preformance

Bye!

Gingerbread cookies and some cousins on the side

This week my aunt and her family came for a visit and Beijing showed its best side with excellent weather and good air.

In order to earn some extra money I have started doing some private tutoring, I now teach a three-year old boy and a five-year old girl. The fee is good and China is one of the few countries where being an english teacher actually pays good money, but only if you are a foreigner. It’s a good way to make some extra money and it doesn’t take to much time away from my studies. After the semester is finished I will stay a bit longer and earn some extra cash before I go home.

With Miriam, Aude and Meiling

With Miriam, Aude and Meiling

This week my aunt and her family came for a visit and they came with gifts; gingerbread cookies and Christmas presents! They had a few days in Beijing , before leaving for Xi’an and then Thailand. When I met up with them, they had already been to some of the sights, but now they wanted to see the Olympic Stadium; The bird’s nest. We took the subway and if I thought that people stared at me bfore, they were pretty much gloating now. Six foreigners, blonde and tall, we tended to stand out and I heard people say more than once; -Wow, they are so tall! I asked them what they thought of China so far, and they said that the thing that struck them most was the amount of people. How can so many people live in one place? They had some problems with the chopsticks, so I ended up asking for knife and fork at every restaurant we went to. Most places do have cuttlery, but some places don’t, so you just have to make the best of it. We also went to the big clothing market in Sanlitun and did some shopping, the sales people actually know a lot of Swedish there, so you have to be careful about what you say. The standard phrase is; -It’s cheaper than Ullared. I ended up with a pare of Vans, 50yuan, not bad eh?

The Bird's nest

The Bird’s nest

Trying some Yunnan food

Trying some Yunnan food

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day we went to visit the Lama temple and the Hutongs, it’s amazing to walk around in the tight alleys and see how people live and have lived for the past 100 years. In the evening we went to have some Beijing duck and shop some more Chinese candy. It felt great to speak some Swedish again, I feel like my English is better than me Swedish at the moment. I now have a functioning VPN as well, so I can access facebook, google and youtube. You can pretty much find chinese versions of everything, instead of facebook there’s QQ, instead of youtube there’s youku, but I still like to be able to access whatever I want, however, the Chinese government doesn’t agree with that. IMG_0522

Not very crowded

Not very crowded

IMG_0528

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it for today, until next time.

The mosquitos are back!

Mask on
Mask on
I think this would be a success in Sweden
I think this would be a success in Sweden

I really thought we were passed all this but no, the mosquitos are back and they are as feisty as ever. I wonder how they have managed to stay alive for so long, all I know is that the minute we turn the lights off, I can hear them. Death to all mosquitos!

This week has been really quiet so far, I have been preparing for my presentation on Monday, where I will talk about Sweden and air pollution. It was quite interesting because last time we were discussing the countryside here in China and what sort of problems they are facing with pollution, waste etc. Suddenly my teacher asked about the situation in Sweden and what I thought were China’s biggest challenges. I actually felt a bit ashamed to say that, since there is not that many of us in Sweden, our problems are of a “slightly” smaller scale. I then added that I think the biggest challenge China faces is its ever-growing population; there are just too many people. The teacher smiled and said she would very much like to see Sweden one day and experience what it’s like to breathe some fresh air. I told her she was welcomed. My presentation will be in both English and Chinese since, according to my teacher, my classmates needs to practise their English.

Today I’m in Beijing to celebrate Aude’s birthday, well, technically it’s tomorrow, but we celebrate her today anyway. I met up with Miriam for lunch and we went to an Indian restaurant. I haven’t had Indian food for months, so it was extra delicious this time. I don’t know the plans for tonight, but there is always something to do in Beijing, so I’m not worried.

I played some badminton with my classmates, they were of course all better then me, but I had fun. The most popular sports in China seem to be, table tennis, basketball and badminton. Football is not so big here, the woman’s team is better than the men’s team, but then again, so is Sweden’s;) I play table tennis with my language partner sometimes.

A lot of people ask me what you eat for breakfast here in China and I myself stick to porridge, but since most people have quite a long way to work and commute everyday, most people end up buying something on the street. In the mornings you see people selling warm soymilk with some kind of fried bread or pancake. A boiled egg with some sort of rice porridge is also quite common. It all tastes good, but I prefer porridge, it just feels more like breakfast to me. I love soymilk though, especially with coconut flavour, I could drink it everyday and it’s so cheap compared to coffee. I wish it were more common in Sweden.

I think it time for a visit to IKEA soon, it’s December soon after all and they always have such nice Christmas decorations and of course, the food. I really miss salmon, you can find it here, but it’s usually with sushi and right now I would just like some nice oven baked salmon with mashed potatoes. I think I will stock up on my supply of chocolates as well when we go to IKEA, it is much needed and fortunately you can find Marabou chocolate there. Besides salmon I don’t really miss Swedish food, there is so much interesting food here. The only thing I can get fed up with sometimes is rice. There’s always rice, rice, rice, everyday, twice per day if possible. It’s like, if you don’t eat rice, you cannot possibly feel full. Every time I go to the canteen to buy some food, they always ask me if I want rice or not, and 9 out of 10 times I say no and they always give me a very sceptical look that say; Are you sure you don’t want any, you won’t feel full otherwise. I guess it’s a bit like Swedes and potatoes, but these days I guess we eat more pasta than potatoes. It’s not that they don’t eat potatoes here, it’s just prepared in a different way and it’s never ever boiled. I have seen meatballs here as well, but they’re boiled, not fried. This is also very typical for the food here up north; everything is fried and very oily. I have to say though, I love it and I love the spices they use. I think that’s it for today, I’ll write more on Sunday after this weekend’s events.

Bye!

Me, Stig and Ditte

When Halmstad University came to visit

And so the day came when I finally got to meet up with Ditte and Stig from Halmstad University and what a reunion!

Last weekend was spent in Beijing (again) and it was as usual great to see everyone. My friend had a new girl living in her apartment, a French girl naIMG_4603med Ode (Odd?), who works at the French embassy. These days I feel like I only spend time with people from different embassy’s, which is nice, I get to know what goes on behind closed doors and that there actually is one secret department at every embassy, which only selected people are allowed to enter (this bothers my friend immensely). The pollution was really bad this time, so bad that my friend had acquired a giant mask that covered half her face and made her look like she was about to enter a radiated area or something. However, her mask actually works, unlike some of the paper masks I see a lot of people wear. Days like that, I really miss the fresh Swedish air.

The ceramics house

The ceramics house

The next day I met up with my roommate at a famous café called the Bookworm, in Sanlitun. I had never heard of it before, but it was really cosy with books everywhere and a nice selection of teas. I stayed for a few hours then headed to Dengshikou灯市口 station to finally meet with Ditte and Stig. It was so nice to see them again and they had brought gifts from Sweden; Marabou chocolate, birthday gifts from my family and most importantly, my new bankcard. I think I had something like 8 Yuan left by then, so they sure came at the right time. We then went to meet up with DongDong, a Chinese girl that studied at Halmstad University last semester. She had now graduated and found a job at the International office of her former University. She was happy to see us and I plan to visit her many times in Beijing.

On Monday I had classes, but at lunchtime I went to meet up with my professor and Ditte and Stig, who were now at Nankai to promote Halmstad University and see the campus. Turned out my professor had actually been to Halmstad a few years ago and knew it quite well. We then took a tour around the campus, I showed them my room and then we headed to a ceramics museum, which is quite famous in Tianjin. The whole house consists of small pieces of ceramics and it took 8 years to build! We then went to a nice little café and had some nice “fika” in true Swedish style.

time for posing

time for posing

This week I will start with my private lessons, I’ve managed to find a private tutor that will keep me busy and help improve my Chinese. I also found a girl named Jingu who is now my official language partner. I will help her with her English and she with my Chinese. On Friday I’m heading to Chengdu, hopefully to meet some pandas and a really big Buddha!

To Ditte and Stig: The chocolate was much appreciated, my roomie is already using Taobao in order to find some Marabou chocolate online and deliver it back home to Ukraine, the digestive flavour was a favourite.

Outside hotspring

Hot springs in Tianjin

IMG_4580Last weekend me, my roommate Liza and another girl from Ukraine took a trip to some hot springs just outside of Tianjin. It was a chance to discover the outskirts of Tianjin and breathe some fresh air.

Now, getting there was the trickiest part, we knew where to get on the bus, but the bus didn’t have a number and no scheduled arrival time, so we went there and then we waited. After 30 minutes a bus without a number arrived and what do you know, it was the right one. The buss ride took about an hour and we got to see what I first thought was the ocean, but turned oOutside hotspringut it was just one really big reservoir, with people fishing along the banks and just enjoying themselves. Turned out the hot springs wasn’t out in the middle of nowhere, but in a hotel. We were happy to be there though and Liza had even bought a typical Chinese bathing suit, meaning a dress-looking colourful thing that makes you look like an ice-skating ballerina.

Once we entered we where overwhelmed with the unlimited choices of hot springs to choose from. There was hot springs with beer, coffee, tomato, milk, pineapple, green tea flavour, all good for your health of course. You could choose to stay outside or inside the tropical greenhouse. My favourite was the mint and the apricot bath, it smelled amazing and the water had this green and orange colour.  The buffet was included, with a somewhat odd mixture of food, but it all tasted good. Then we had some massage and when it comes to Chinese massage, don’t expect it to be all nice and relaxing, no, no, they pretty much beat you up and when you leave you feel like you’ll have bruises all over, but in an hour or two, you feel super good and it’s all worth it. And let’s face it, for 80 Swedish crowns, you can’t complain. It is funny how people confuse Sweden with Switzerland, even after I explain that they are two different countries. To them there is no diffmy room-mate Lizaerence. I’ve been told I look Russian, French, Italian and American, never Swedish. Last week someone asked me if I was from Tanzania..must be my dark hair. After a nice relaxing day we then headed for the buss that took us back to Tianjin.

The pollution has been really bad lately, so bad I decided to buy a mask. not sure how much it helps though, but I feel better when I wear it. Tomorrow there are some people from Halmstad Högskola coming to visit me and Nankai University and next weekend we are meeting up in Chengdu to visit a former collegue of ours. Chengdu is in the Sichuan province, middle of China and it’s famous for it’s panda breeding reservate. I can’t wait, 30 degrees here I come!

Me, Zhou Ya and XunYing Xue

Mosquito bites

Mosquito bites:

Mosquitos, mosquitos, mosquitos, they are everywhere and every morning you wake up, you have ten new ones that itch and drive you crazy! In Sweden they tend to be gone by now, but here the season lasts longer, so my next plan is to buy some sort of mosquito net and place it by the window. I went to a Chinese pharmacy and got some lotion to put on and there they told me that they were extra poisonous this year. Great. I really like that pharmacy, there are only women working there and they are always so sweet and helpful, they really know how treat their customers.

I wrote before about our hotpot night and I wanted to elaborate a bit more on the subject. The guys were drinking beer and the girls were drinking tea. Apparently, according to the guys, Chinese girls cannot handle alcohol; therefore they should only drink tea. I must say though, I think Chinese guys aren’t that good at handling alcohol either, three glasses of beer and then their done for. At the end of the night the bottles were empty and all of them were speaking English. The girls informed me that even though the majority of them would have hangovers in the morning, none of them would miss their classes that would just never happen in China. I have seen people sitting in their pyjamas during the lessons, because the almost overslept and didn’t have time to put some clothes on. The rules are; if you are late, the teacher will deduct 3 points on the exam, so you really don’t want to be late, hence the occasion pyjamas outfits.

Yesterday after I got back from Beijing we went to play some badminton, or they played and I watched. They all say they’re not good at playing, but trust me they are. I’ve heard my professor is really good and that he sometimes joins them. I feel like the professors here do have a close connection to their students and it really isn’t as strict as I thought it would be. They really want to help us and make sure that our essays turn out really good. Today I’m having lunch with my professor and some people from Beijing that worked on the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, which is what my essay will be about. Apparently they are here just because my professor called and asked them to come and talk to me, all to help me get the information I need to write my essay. This week I don’t have many lessons so I will have plenty of time to get started and perhaps take a trip somewhere. Somewhere like Qingdao, where they make the beer, but we’ll see.

 

Ciao!

 

forbidden city

Beijing, long time no see

So, after a long journey with a short stop in Doha, Qatar, I have finally arrived in Beijing. The weather is nice, about 25 degrees, but it feels like 30. My hostel is located in a nice quiet area, near the Lama Temple, surrounded by Hutongs (small traditional brick houses). Yesterday I took a trip down memory lane, visiting the first school I ever went to in China; House of Mandarin, at Dawanglu, South Beijing. Beijing, long time no see.

Dawanglu is a very fancy area, the buildings are modern and the stores are Gucci and Marc Jacobs and for a while, I thought this was what the rest of Beijing looked like. We lived in nice 20-store building and ate out everyday at the fooda park somewhere in Beijing court. Thinking back, I now realize I rarely came in contact with Chinese culture-or people, I never left the safe sphere of Dawanglu. Now when I walk the same streets I think back of all the good times we had, but I am glad my perspective have widened and I know really appreciate Beijing for being so ”Chinese”.

Today I went back to my old University: Beijing Foreign Studies University, just to have a look at the campus and see what had changed and if our old favorite places were still there. Some of my favorite restaurants were gone, but that was not really surprising, restaurants changes quickly in this area. It was nice to see my old student dorm; Bailou, meaning ”white building”, and I had a look at some of the newly built faculties.

Tonight I am heading for Sanlitun to meet up with some old friends that are now living in Beijing. Sanlitun is a bar-area where a lot of foreigners come to have fun and go clubbing. It is not my favorite area, but there are a lot of good restaurants and some cozy bars. Tomorrow I will try to find an indoor climbing place located fairly close to where I live, meaning I only have to change once in the subway. We will see how that goes..And on Monday it is off to Tianjin.

dumplings (jiaozi)

typical food served in north of China

It is tricky to find a place with good Wifi, but I have managed to find a café with fairly good connection, so I try to get as much done as I possibly can while I am here. As some of you might know, Facebook does not work in China, unless you have a VPN-tunnel, which I plan to get my hands on as soon as I get to Tianjin. Meanwhile I am dead to the world of Facebook and live out my life through this blog, lucky for you guys right?

LATERS!