Hey, everyone! I’ve been in Beijing for two weeks now, and am getting settled into the routine and also time zone here.
We’re living in Beijing University (Beida), the most prestigious university in the entire country, and even though it’s summer, it’s still packed with people. I don’t think American people can really understand the level of crowding here, because we just don’t have as big of a population. In the dining hall, there are people lining up to sit down and eat. On the subway, you are shoulder to shoulder with your neighbor. Despite the inconvenience though it always feels super lively here, it’s something I missed about China. Even at night there are still tons of people walking around.
On the first weekend, we went out to a KTV. That’s where a group of friends gets together in a room with a giant screen and speakers, and sings karaoke. They have a surprisingly good amount of English songs. It doesn’t really matter if you sing well or not, because it’s all friends. The KTV staff supplies all the rooms with maracas and tambourines, so you can accompany along. It’s sometimes kind of funny, but everyone got really excited, and by the end of the night we were all dancing. I’ve always wondered why we don’t have this in the US!
Beida is very close to Wudaokou, a neighborhood about a 20 minute walk from campus. The Chinese students call it the center of the universe (宇宙中心).There’s a giant mall here called the U-Center that sells everything from clothes, to toys and groceries. There are also tons of KTV places, little bars, restaurants, and best of all, street food vendors. The best, as agreed upon by all the students, is called jiān bĭng (煎饼), or a spicy Chinese pancake stuffed with vegetables and meat. It doesn’t sound very appetizing, but you’ll understand once you’ve tried it. It’s pretty much the best thing ever.