Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dinner at the Embassy & Speech Contest at Beijing University

Yay, Beijing subway during rush hour

Normally I just ride my bike everywhere and stay close to the comfort zone of Liudaokou/Wudaokou area. 

Once in a blue moon I have to move out of this comfort zone and go to other parts of town, and I tell you, I'm sure glad I'm not depending on riding the subway everyday - especially not during rush hour

It's like a zoo! 

China is truly a dog-eat-dog (ehr, or was it man it dog?) society, and if you want to go somewhere, you gotta hustle (seemingly like an American football player)! When you need to get off at your stop, make sure to be close to the exit, or else you won't be able to get off at all. And people getting on sure won't wait for people to get off, so you really gotta hustle your way out. Naturally, I've actually gotten pretty used to this by now, being fairly able to adapt to tough environments that requires, ehr, hustling.

Hopefully I'll be able to quickly acclimatize once I get home, or else I won't be very popular when commuting.

On Wednesday all of the Norwegian students studying in Beijing were invited to a fancy dinner at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Sanlitun.

Luckily I'd brought reinforcements, also known as Isak, and somehow he was magically able to clear some room on the subway, despite it being in the middle of rush hour. (And I know it couldn't have been me, because I had taken a shower that day).

  I love Isak

Hey, my nail polish matched
 the subway thingamajig! 

Isak and Christian
Haha, we've all been living in 
communist China 
for too long 


When we arrived at the embassy, I immediately felt out of place.

The first thing I did when I got through the door was clasp my hands and exlaim "Right, so where's the free booze?", not realizing that the two people right in front of me was in fact the embassador and his wife waiting to greet their arriving guests. It might sound like a cliché, but if you know me you know it's plausible.

I mean, I'm a simple girl with a very big (and loud) mouth - at fancy shindigs like this, I feel so stupid and unsophisticated. I get the urge to say whatever is completely inappropriate in any given situation, and the problem is that I act on those urges most of the time. 

Anyway, a lot of important people in suits were there and a lot of mingling was expected. Ugh, mingling.


(Found the free booze, btw)

But, oh, the food! 
It was super awesome. 
- all a Norwegian student after five months away 
from home could wish for
- like lasagna,
which after all seems to be
our staple food,


Lurch from the Adams family's
Chinese relative
So cute!


The Chinese "Silje"

Also invited to the dinner was a class of Chinese students studying Norwegian. They had only been studying for three months, but I tell you, the language skills they'd accumulated after such short time was really impressive! They were so sweet, and each and every one of them introduced themselves with a "traditional" Norwegian name and a Norwegian "hometown".

And Vidar, you've got fierce competition!

My 18-year-old Chinese "Vidar" - from "Sandefjord"
(Maybe a little too young for me)

They performed a Swedish folk song called "Who Can Sail Without Wind?" with Norwegian and Chinese lyrics. It was really great.


(They sure knew what to serve the 
Norwegian students, haha)


Normally the party aint supposed to be over until the fat lady sings, but in lack of any fat ladies I kind of took the hint when they sadly took away my wine glass..

.. and Christian started to play with the table decorations.

But it had been a great evening!

The pin that I got at the embassy

On December first
I got a small bar of Norwegian
milk chocolate
in my advent calender 
provided by Dag

Waa, only two weeks left of this semester
Thank God.
I'm getting tired

The big speech contest was held on Thursday at one of the fancy hotels on campus (lol, there's a hotel on campus). 

The Norwegians were greatly representing with five contestants out of around twenty in total.

Isak's speech was super awesome. 

He's such a character and a great performer, and his speech about his "ideal family" (where it's necessary to beat the kids and marry Danish women because they're the most obedient, naturally) inspired by Mao Zedung, Kim Il Sung and Josef Stalin, left the judges (and the rest of the audience) in knots laughing.

I could watch him perform his speech all day long.

Gianna and I

The speech contest lasted for three hours
- luckily I'd brought lunch

Lotte was also up there, giving a speech about how it's like studying foreign languages and about her dream for the future.

She was so charming and charismatic, and I was so proud to see her up there!

I was also very happy about not performing any speech myself, because there was a lot of people watching.

Oddly enough, and to what seemed to cause a great deal of confusion among the people watching, the person who won the competition out of all of the contestants was a girl that had left the least impression among the audience. I still am not sure what her speech was about.

I realize that of course the content is very important when giving a speech - but you'd think the performance itself, and being able to connect with the audience too should be an important factor. After all, it's a speech contest, not a write and essay, memorize it and say it out loud-contest.. ?

Anyway, what a load of bull crap.

The girl who won was from Yale, and I guess it's more important to maintain the guanxi - "relationships", a central idea in Chinese society - between ivy league institutions, rather than letting someone who actually deserve it win, but hey, we're in China!

And this, ladies and gentleman, was the last photo I was able to take with my beloved (and very outdated) Nikon D60 that's been with me through thick and thin for these past almost three years.

Suddenly it died on me after taking that photos, and I think reviving it will cost more than it's current worth, sadly.

We've been through so much together, and I've been a pretty abusive owner - dragging it along with me everywhere, juggling three lenses,  taking it to the beach, to the US, to Japan, to Thailand, to China.

It was my first (and only camera), and it's been a real champ - enduring every kind of abuse imaginable, except for being dropped on the floor.

It has been used to take 99% of the photos on this blog.

And now I don't have a camera anymore. Very sad!

Dear camera, you will be missed. May you now get some much deserved rest.


Anonymous said...

Noooooooooo! DU MÅ FIKSE KAMERA! Og når var du i USA egentlig???
Tror et kamera har kanskje 3 års garanti! Så det må du sjekke ut når drar hjem. Et kamera skal ikke bare dø sånn!

Uanz digg å våkne opp til blogginnlegget ditt! Men trist med kamerasan! Kondolerer!

Alex said...

Hey, is it a telelens you've been using for the most of your photos? Love your writing and really enjoy reading your journeys. Keep it up! :)