Email home

Since I started my blog two weeks after arriving in China, I have alot of catching up to do. But, I wrote this email two weeks after arriving in China to my friends and family back home:

Hi Everybody,
How are you? I got to China safely after a really really long flight. So far I have experienced quite a few cultural differences. The day I got here, I had a chance to walk around the streets surrounding my university. There are shops and restaurants and food stands everywhere. There are knick knacks, household items, clothes, shoes, electronics, and anything else you can think of everywhere for sale. They also have food on sticks in the streets like I have seen on tv (Travel Channel), but I haven’t tried it yet. Beijing looks very developed and 1st world, but I am told that it is just the cities that are like that.
The first day I experienced the infamous squat toilet. It was a very bad introduction to a squat toilet, as that particular one was really old and not the cleanest. Thankfully though, I’ve moved to the International Student Centre, where they have Western-style toilets. I have gotten used to them now though since everywhere else on campus and most places in Beijing have them. They’re not so bad with trial and error, plus they’re easier to keep clean.
I share a room with 2 girls, one from China and the other from Costa Rica, although I should be moving to a room with only one other person soon, hopefully. I started Chinese language classes last week Tuesday along with other international students. It’s fun so far. I’ve learned to write about 45 characters and am learning alot of words, but I can’t converse properly yet. I can read and write very very simple sentences using the characters, and now when people speak, I can pick up a word or two. In addition to that, it is fun to learn about all the different cultures, and there are people here who speak 2/3/4 languages. So in a group of people, you could have several conversations going on in the different languages. Then one person will stop the conversation they were having in Spanish for example, then start speaking to another person in French or German or Chinese or Mongolian or Swahili or English etc… I was amazed by that for a few days. I am also speaking languages I never thought I would, because there is a girl from Turkey, who doesn’t speak English well and the only other language she knows is Turkish, so to talk to her, I borrowed her Turkish-English dictionary to find the words that I wanted to say.
The weather is really cold now, I hear it gets colder. I don’t know how I will manage then, because already it’s cold enough for me. I haven’t been to any of the sites or attractions as yet, but hopefully soon. I’ve only been here for 2 weeks but already it feels like forever. Well I will keep you all updated. Take care until next time.
– Danielle

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