MHC in Beijing

Mount Holyoke's intensive, eight-week course in Chinese at Beijing Language and Culture University

August 06, 2006

Three Weeks Left?!?!?

Well this blog is well overdue. The program is five weeks in and I only have three weeks left until I return home. It is hard to believe how time flies. These days I find myself less eager to write about my journey as those things that before were interesting or unique are becoming more comfortable and routine for me. For example, when I first arrived here, the food would send me into a fit of homesickness. I just needed some time to get used to it. I have to admit, however, I still get a few chills up my spine every time I step into one of squatty potties here. How we all do miss good old American style bathrooms.

Yesterday, the group ventured to the Great Wall. Even after a long drive and vertical climb up a mountain side, the seventh wonder of the world was completely worth it. 10,000 km is the length of this structure and the group was only able to walk about three towers worth. Unfortunately, it was an overtly cloudy day and we could barely see the adjoining tower. The view from the top was rather blurred. Despite this setback, I was amazed. To my surprise the walkways on top of the wall were really crooked. For as many miles as you can see, this wall seems so structured in contrast to the dips and dives of the mountain scenery. I had imagined it to be as sound and perfect as it looks from afar. Nevertheless, at times I felt like I was walking at a steep angle to the land below. I supposed that when creating a structure that crawls and contours mountains so great, one doesn’t worry about whether or not everything was even. I can just see someone out there with a little leveling gadget walking every foot to measure. Something like this would have been a bit unnecessary.

Now it is time do some studying on this lovely Sunday afternoon. Sundays are the only day I do not like the fact that we here are day ahead of everyone back home. On Fridays, I am thrilled I finished the week off before my parents, but by Sunday night when I am studying characters, I really envy that they are just woke up to full day of relaxation!