Kategoriarkiv: sanlitun

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

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That’s it for today, until next time.

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.

First week of lessons, wow!

Dear all,

Having just completed my first week of lessons in: Environmental Law & Managament, Industrial Ecology and picked a topic for my essay: The Three Gorges Dam, I know feel like I am finally starting to adjust to Tianjin.

My first lesson was this Monday and I arrived not really knowing what to expect. I was the only foreigner and with that came the usual whispers and curious glances which I am now, quite used to and usually just ignore. And then it began..wow! The teacher spoke really fast, lots of new words and I understood about half of it. I was not surprised. This is University level Chinese, it is bound to be difficult even for the Chinese. I know I have a lot of studying to do, but I am excited and it was nice to meet some new people. I got to know some of the girls, actually there was only 12 of us in this course, so I feel like I have a chance to get to know them a bit better. Most of them are around 20-22, so they are a bit younger than me, but they are very interested and want to know a lot about Sweden, which they most of the time confuse with Switzerland (everyone does), but that happens all the time here.

Later that they I had a meeting with my professor Zhu Lin and other students with the same major as me and we sat down to discuss what topics we had picked for our essays. Our professor was very helpful and came with good advice. I will write mine in English, but I am expected to write a summary and an introduction in Chinese, so I will have to put some effort into it. I will write about The Three Gorges Dam, a very controversial subject here in China, so I am looking forward to get started. Later in the evening we all went out for some Hotpot and I got to know the students a bit better. I rode a bike in the traffic for the first time, scary! I think I will buy a bike though, the campus is so big and it is easier to get around with a bike.

Yesterday it was my roommate’s birthday, so we celebrated by going to Starbucks of all places and had a cup of coffee and some cheesecake. There has been a lot of Starbucks lately, but it is so nice and quiet there, so it is a good study environment. I also joined in on some Chinese grammar lessons for the highest level students at the Foreign Languages Department. I feel like I really need some repetition and the teacher was really good, so I will try to join in every week from now on.

This weekend I am visiting a friend in Beijing that is working at the Swedish embassy in Sanlitun, we have not seen each other for a year, so it was nice to do some catch-up. Tonight we are having dinner at her place and later we are going to a club for some dancing. This time I will not upload any pictures, however, tomorrow I will give you all the juicy details and some nice pictures with that.

Until tomorrow!

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!