i’m on top of the world, ay


Hi friends, I know you’ve probably been sooooooo worried, and that life has been impossible without me, so this is me saying that I’m alive in China and life is good.

When I first got here, I couldn’t figure out how to make my phone work, so obviously I cried a little in the customs line at the Beijing airport. It’s okay, though, I figured it out a few days later. Everyone in this group is kind of awesome, including my roommate, Catherine, from California. I honestly can’t believe I’ve only known everyone for a week, but I guess when you travel to a place like China together, you may as well become friends.

My favorite story from the trip…

On day 2, we did a scavenger hunt through the city, and thankfully, a guy in my group spoke some Mandarin. Instead of doing the tasks assigned, we just kind of wandered through the city. At one point, we ended up in a hutong — an alleyway type area with small apartments throughout — and really wanted to see inside one of the living spaces. We basically walked into someone’s house unannounced, then knocked on the door and said “we need into your house.” Apparently, Shiv doesn’t speak Chinese as well as we had hoped.

What have I been doing?

For the rest of the week, we just visited various places around Beijing. On Wednesday, we went to the Bell and Drum Towers, where we experienced a monsoon — or just a normal rain storm but LOOK AT THIS. TREES FELL OVER.

There was a bigger tree that fell over but I can’t find the picture of that sorry.
Claudia, Saarah, Kristen, and me after climbing a lot of stairs. That’s the Forbidden City behind us.
That’s my roommate, she’s gr8. This is in Tiananmen Square.

The next day, we went to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, which is the preserved home of the Chinese Emperors. There, we learned that each emperor had 3,000 mistresses, just to make sure he would produce an heir to the throne, and each of them had to spend four hours with him when they met. Lol. Of course he also had a wife, the Dragon Lady, but she had other things to do, it seems.

With Kristen and Daniela in the home of the Dragon Lady.

To get to the Great Wall, we had to ride this chairlift that was a little bit sketchy but whatever, I survived. It was seriously SOOOO COOL to see the view from up there. I also climbed to the edge of the top of a guard tower to take the picture at the top of this article so… I basically risked my life for an Insta post, and I have no regrets. Also we got to toboggan down the mountain which was great, but this lady in front of our group was going so damn slow, and it really held us back.

Look at the beautiful China.
Ooooooooh so artsy.

That night, we stayed at this kinda weird hotel/lodge thing where the showers were basically a hose with a shower head attached, and you just washed yourself on the bathroom floor. Fun, right? Oh well we survived.

On Friday, we visited a distillery, which smelled disgusting because of the burning yeast or something like that. None of us could actually understand what they said it was, but basically it smelled like the taste of REALLY dark beer (but worse). They let us all sample some of their liquor, and 20 minutes later, when we were on the bus, everyone just passed out, so they must have drugged us (duh).

The Temple of Heaven is SO PRETTY AHH.


Claudia, Daniela, the Kung Fu fighters, and me.

The food.

We’ve been eating a looooot of Chinese food, and it’s all really good, but after so many days of basically the exact same thing, variety is welcome. So on Tuesday, my forum (small group for classwork and stuff) decided to get fajitas, and I have to say that for being in China, they were pretty decent. We’ve also gotten pizza twice because ‘murica (ok actually that’s italian but you know what I mean). Also, today we went to the best Peking Duck restaurant in Beijing and that was actually one of the greatest things I’ve eaten while I was here, and maybe in my whole life. Way to go, China.

(update: just got back from TGI Friday’s. A burger has never felt so right).

The people.

Okay so everyone here is awesome, like I said. I honestly don’t think there’s a single person on the trip who I don’t like. A bunch of us went to a club early in the week, and somehow got out without paying for anything. They just kept bringing pitchers of drinks to our table, and the occasional round of shots, and it wasn’t until the very end when we saw that this should cost somewhere around 50,000¥, so that was concerning. That place was probably really sketchy, so we chose a better place the next time. One girl on the trip has a friend who lives here and got us a table in the VIP section at this club called Element. There, they brought us unopened bottles and let us pour and mix our own drinks, so there was much less risk of being drugged I guess? Obviously I didn’t go to China to party because this is me we’re talking about, but I have to say it’s been really really fun.

Club Latte with my fellow midwesterner, Kristen.
Having a much better time at Element with Bailey, McKibbin, and Khalil.

So basically this China trip has been the most fun I’ve had in my whole life, and I can’t believe I’ve only been here for a week. It probably will be a little less exciting once we get to the rural areas, but I’m super excited to see the pandas in a few days, and for the last week in Shanghai. So yeah um I hope you really did want to know about what I’m doing, maybe I’ll write some more another time. Zai jian, amigos.

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