Ni hao (again, again)!
This is my third month here in China and wow, it has been amazing so far. I’m finally getting the hang of life down here, and it’s hard to think that in less than two months I’ll be back in Miami getting back to my usual routine. Throughout the past month, our study abroad group has been making sporadic trips to Beijing on the weekends since it’s only a 30-minute bullet-train ride from Tianjin.
Our first trip to Beijing, we made a pit stop to the Temple of Heaven Park. This park was massive and bigger than we had all anticipated with separate sections containing different sights to see. Fun fact, the actual temple was used by Chinese emperors to make sacrifices to the heavens by using calves. We also stumbled upon Tienanmen Square later that day and it felt so trippy being in the middle of that space knowing its historical significance. At the end of the day, we went to a popular street food area where you were literally stuck shoulder-to-shoulder with everyone. I ate one of the best lambs I’ve ever had and even tried scorpion for the first time with my roommate! Very crunchy and salty, 10/10 would recommend, just to say you’ve eaten one. Just be careful with its stinger (;
Back again in Beijing the next weekend, the roomie and I went to the Forbidden City and que freaking grande. It felt like a never-ending maze of ancient architecture but (surprise!) we made it out alive. After that, we ventured to the Beijing Olympic Park and took a tour of the actual Olympic stadium and its surrounding space. We didn’t get to, but you can actually tour and walk on the very top of the actual stadium… I would totally recommend to if you have a fear of heights.
Tianjin also has so many cool areas to visit. The best site to visit is the China Ceramic House, a house entirely made from broken-down porcelain pieces. The pictures alone don’t do it justice, it’s something to see for yourself. It’s even listed as one of the top 15 most unique places to visit in the ENTIRE WORLD!
Inspired by the sight-seeing highs I’ve gotten exploring the areas around me, I’m planning a trip to visit the Zhangjiajie National Park (super south and far from Tianjin). This park was the inspiration for Pandora in the Avatar movie, and I’m dying to see it in person. This is what the bad boy looks like and the picture alone puts the Grand Canyon Park to shame (and I’m from Arizona :/):
Aside from the fun of traveling, classes are going great, and I’m meeting a lot more of the Chinese students. I’m enjoying my Global Food and Culture class the most, so far. I find it interesting how almost everything in our everyday life impacts what and how we eat. Our professor took the class out to dinner one night to experience the typical Tianjin cuisine and it was delicious. The oddest, yet most delicious thing, was fried shrimp covered in wasabi and SPRINKLES. Yes, sprinkles, like the ones on cookies or ice cream. I’ve learned not to question the food here, and just embrace it lol. Aside from that, the food was amazing and it was a great cultural experience to engage with the other Chinese students and eat. Also, midterm season is finally over, and I can finally take a mini-breather before finals. Our study abroad group is even now taking Mandarin-language lessons on the weekends with the assistant dean, and it’s getting a little bit easier to communicate while ordering food or even driving around in the taxis. The Spanish accent comes out sometimes and it makes it a bit difficult to speak Mandarin’s 4 tones. I guess it’s a more “latinized” form of Mandarin that I’ll eventually come up with haha.
Until again (for the last time) 🙁