Saturday, August 13, 2011

And it's the end ... or the beginning (very cliche, but very true)

[Written two days ago]

China's 高铁 !

Now on the 高铁 bound for Shanghai – the 5-hour ride has finally given me some downtime to (try to) catch up on blogging.

After the much anticipated language pledge was lifted on the last day, it was actually kind of weird to hear people speak English for the first time – it’s not really what I’d call an accent, but you never know how certain people pronounce English words in certain ways judging from their Chinese pronunciation. Even weirder was testing our 老师 on their English – naturally, a lot of them became a lot more timid but their accents were kind of cute. As payback, a couple of students also gave them an English 听写 using words like “existentialism” (but when I tried to correct someone’s sentence, I actually forgot how to spell “exhilarating” – guess I forgot quite a bit of English too!)

In short, my summer at HBA has been a pretty exhausting one, but I think I ended on a strong(er) note. Apartment hunting and visa issues for Japan took a lot out of me, and I really need to learn how to stop procrastinating so that I won’t find myself starting homework at midnight – hopefully a lesson learned by the time I’m in Japan. I did, however, tried to get the most out of Beijing by living out the age-old Light Fellowship adage – you can study all day at these intensive language programs, but heck, you can also do that in the U.S. So get out of your campus in China, explore the city, and meet random people. Even small talk with the cleaning ladies counts as something you can’t do back home.

Just a few pics of what you can see in Beijing if you don't shut yourself up in your room all day:


View of Forbidden City from Jingshan Park 
Finally, I can’t forget to stress that HBA’s core is purely the teachers. Even with the short time we had in Beijing, not to the mention the fact that we could only speak Chinese like kindergarteners, we came to know them not just as teachers but as friends. If not for anything else, choose HBA for the relationships you’ll form – the teachers really give their all to get to know you - even with all the mangled 声调 :).

And finally, my itinerary for the next three weeks:

August 13 Arrive at Shanghai
August 15 Go down to Hangzhou and traditional village Wuzhen
August 16 Arrive at Xiamen
August 18 Get back to Beijing, fly to Seoul
August 20 Take a trip down to Jeonju
August 24 Back to Seoul for some more exploring
August 27 Arrive at Busan
August 30 Final destination – Japan for ten months

Future blog posts – HBA social study project (um 5-7 weeks late?), temples galore, how NOT to get a Japanese visa in China, and trekking across East Asia.
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Alan B said...

Thanks for this wrap-up. Looking forward to the visa and trekking posts, in particular.

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