Monday, July 25, 2011

Surviving Classes, Peking Opera and Baozi

哎呀, it's hard being a student at Beijing University.

This past couple of weeks have been tough, and I've been in great need of some sort of feeling of accomplishment.

The classes are demanding, we have too much homework, and seemingly the only thing I seem to do is get up at 6 (or 05.15 as I did a couple of days last week when I felt I wasn't prepared enough for class even though I had spent the entire afternoon and evening the day before doing homework, still not being able to finish), be in class from 8 until 12, have lunch in one of the many cafeterias at school, ride my bike home and do my homework until I have to go to bed.

And it drives me a little nuts

So many beautiful bruises covering my legs
from fighting with my bicycle.

You should see me when going out on the weekends,
in my skimpy outfit,
too much makeup, high heels
and bruised-up legs.
I really look like a whore.
Oh, well

I was a bit fed up last week, especially when getting back a vocabulary test, which I had did poorly, getting only 7.5 out of 10 because I messed up - and my teacher had commented on my test that she wondered how come my vocabulary test results had gotten more and more bad (听写 越来越不好了。为什么?). And I was like, "Chillout, bitch, we've only had three vocabulary tests in total - cut me some slack!". And when I do get full score there's no comments.

I am not being completely serious. Our teacher is very sweet and very competent, and she just wanted to give me a little push..

.. which I think was uncalled for.

Because I'm neither lazy, nor stupid. Just a bit over-sensitive at the moment, struggelig with keeping my head above water.

So I felt the need to show her that I'm not stupid, even though the teachers nearly have to beat me in class to get me to say anything (so out of character, I know, right?)

The topic for last week's essay assignment was having to discuss some quote saying something about how you can not change the environment, only how you adapt - and whether or not you agreed to this statement.

I used the opportunity to write a two-paged essay about how the most important thing in life isn't getting a ten out of ten on a vocabulary test.

I also explained about how I've studied Japanese and lived in Japan, and how I got the best grades and the best scores, and whatnot - and how I was too busy doing my homework at home to be going out and speaking to actual Japanese people, and how people who not necessarily got the best grades, but went out and got friends, are the ones who now actually can speak Japanese - and how I've forgotten everything, and that it was a waste of time, money and effort, and how I'm not willing to let that happen again.

"So, if I sometimes don't do too well on my vocabulary tests does not mean that I'm lazy - it means that I'm actually out there, having genuine conversations with real Chinese people, instead of being cooped up in my apartment, practising the vocabulary and grammar that I've learned during classes at Beijing University. And in this way I'm conciously "adapting" to the unchangeable conditions at Beida"(having hard classes and too much homework, accepting not having to necessarily get the best grades in order to get a feeling of success - favouring spending the time actually in China, practising Chinese by speaking with people outside the classroom).

I kind of squinted my eyes and hunched my back as the teacher came over to my desk this morning, returning my essay. She commented on a few mistakes and said that I'd did a good job.

Then, during class she said that I had written the best essay last week, both of solid length and with good content - and that my fellow students should ask to get to read it during the break.

(Nobody did, however).


But finally, at least some feeling of accomplishment.

And praise to me teacher, being able to handle (hopefully) constuctive critizism.


Last week, I went to see Peking opera.

On my bike.

(You should have seen the heels I was wearing).

Mind you, it is a true wonder if I return after six months riding my bike in Beijing alive, everyday maneuvering through the crazy traffic, dodging buses in high speed and even biking through heavy rain storms, feeling like your biking having ten fire hoses in full force directed towards you.

But yeah, on Wednesday our class met up on campus to catch the bus that would give us a lift to the show.


Soon I spotted my pray

I was ready, with my camera - to take his photo, or maybe bite him in the face

Chinese kids are too cute

At the opera theatre we bought some horrible sake that tasted like soy sauce with alcohol. Luckily, Lotte had paid for the awful thing, so I did not feel bad about not drinking it.

Silje, Hanna and Lotte


Foolishly enough I had taken my tele lense out of my purse just as I was leaving the house, so I did not have the appropriate gear to be taking photos of what was going on on stage - but I borrowed Lotte's lense for a moment and got a quick shot.

The show was simple and touristy.

On Sunday the Norwegian squad went to some temple.

Outside a lot of old people were busy getting their Sunday-exercise.


Yeah, protected from the sun now

Getting a good shot of yourself there,

On Sunday it was so hot and humid, we were all melting away.

Ahh, as my mom would say (only in Thai)
"Cheeks like

Monday, July 18, 2011

School, Ping-Pong & Tiananmen Square

Second week at school has started, and I'm still feeling a little overwhelmed. I have to remind myself that it takes time to get used a new place, new teachers, new classes, new textbooks and working on creating a new routine for school work that works. Bah.

But yeah, it is a little bit overwhelming. The classes are all in Chinese, and you really have to pay attention during the entire class, because it is difficult to pick up the slack when your mind has trailed off and the teacher is explaining some complicated grammar point in Chinese.

And when it takes so much focus, and you're sitting there for four hours a day from 8 am in the morning... I get so sleepy.


But I'm smart, and I will do great. Just not the first two weeks.

My sucky essay about my first impression of Beijing,
full of mistakes

But I think I really like Beijing.

My speaking partner,

The other day I "watched" as Lars-Jørgen I and II, whom I share the same speaking partner with, as they had a match of ping-pong, the Chinese national sport, on campus. And by "watched" I mean "took the photos I needed and got the hell outta there".



Our own half-bred classmate,
- half Norwegian and half Shanghainese

On Friday Lotte and I went out clubbing with a few girls from class, and it was pretty fun!

The dress code for the night, which only applied to me, obviously, was "minimal amount of clothing, maximum amount of makeup"

Nice and blurry

Together with Hanna, Silje and Thea

Yesterday Zhou and I went to Tiananmen Square, and I took some photos.

Mostly of kids, of course

Smoking kills

"How some parents make their kids pose for photos
should be illegal", part II

Awkard family photo

Ugly smile-for-the-photo,
taught by parent

This guy walked around,
carrying a photo printer in his bag,
taking souvernir photos of families

"Are you taking photos of me?"

I was there!

Camwhoring baby


Very chic, ehr foldable hat

Taking the bus

Peking duck is pretty grosse

Hot Asian chick

Mmm, force fed duck

Out on a Sunday stroll with meemah

... and 15 minutes later I ran into them again:

'Someone' were on an ice cream run