Huanghuacheng Great Wall 黄花城水长城

I was invited to join a trip to the Great Wall from one of my classmates. He was organising a visit to Huanghuacheng Great wall.

Although Huanghuacheng Great Wall is less famous than either Badaling or Mutianyu, it holds its own charm, surrounded by clear lake and lush plants. It is the only section in Beijing that was built through a lake. The whole section is defined in three segments by water. It represents the essence of the Great Wall built in the Ming Dynasty. It blends frontier fortress scenes in with nature’s landscapes. Climbing here is not that hard and is therefore suitable for people of all ages. 70 kilometres away from Beijing city, it is easily accessible.

When summer arrives in full bloom, the entire village below is awashed in a sea of yellow wild flowers (‘yellow flower’ is “huanghua” in Chinese). So the village name is Huanghuacheng (Huanghua City in English), and that is why this section of the Great Wall is named like that.

 We took off early in the morning on the 26th of March. It took us around two and a half hours to get to that part of the Great Wall. At that time it was around 11 o’clock so we decided to eat lunch first and then go climbing.

The admission fee was 45 yuan for adults, however, if you have a student card it is half the price.  It is open from 8:30 to 17:00 o’clock.

This is the entrance:

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Spring was coming, so there were blossoming trees everywhere! 

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Truly magnificent! 

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This character is Ming 明, as in Ming dynasty:

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This is the Submerged Great Wall:

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We took a small boat to return to the entrance and it was great! 

This concludes my trip to this part of the Great Wall. I highly recommend visiting, because there are almost no people, it is very peaceful and beautiful, so it is definitely worth! =)

Harbin! 哈尔滨

It feels a little weird, writing about my winter vacation and the time I went to Harbin, since it’s almost 30 degrees outside now… =D But this is completely my fault, and you will have to excuse my lateness with this post, I will do my best to remember all the details about this unforgettable trip! ^_^

The whole winter vacation I didn’t really have any chance to travel, because I was already late with booking tickets and hotels, so I just stayed in Beijing. I am not going to lie, that was a pretty boring winter vacation. =D But, it was very cold outside, so I stayed at the dormitory and studied/watched movies/tv shows. Finally, at the end of the vacation, I had an opportunity and decided to go to Harbin for the Ice Festival!

I bought my first train tickets in China and for that I used a program called cTrip. This is a really useful app (site) that Chinese people use for buying train/plane tickets and booking hotels. The only thing you need is a credit card, because when you buy tickets online, you don’t have the option to just reserve, you have to buy them via your card.

I bought fast train tickets (G type), which are the most expensive. But it takes only 5 and a half hours to get to Harbin and the price is 306.5 yuan each way, so it is worth it, actually. Of course, you could always use a normal speed train and buy a sleeping bed ticket, but I didn’t want to risk buying a ticket like this, because it takes a lot more time to reach the destination and I didn’t have many days until the start of the semester.

So, 613 yuan both ways for train tickets.

For booking a hotel, I used www.booking.com which I highly recommend! You have many options about hotels, you don’t need any Chinese (for people who don’t know Chinese), you are fine with using English only. You choose the hotel of your choice and you make a reservation. When you arrive, you just need to show your reservation details and you are done! Note: some hotels may want a deposit (usually from 100-200 yuan), so keep that in mind!

I paid 160 yuan for 2 nights.

Day 1:

I arrived at 18:05 in Harbin West Railway station. The hotel I booked was 15 minutes away from the train station, so you don’t need any transport to get there. It was close to a big mall and many restaurants and fast food places.

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It was already late, so I just ate dinner and prepared to get up early the next day.

Day 2:

I got up early in the morning, and directly took a taxi to Harbin Ice and Snow World, which is the largest Ice and Snow exhibition in the world.

The ticket was around 240-260 yuan for an adult. You need to be a bachelor or master degree to get the discount for a student.

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Because it was already almost the end of February, and it was getting warmer in Harbin (of course, -17 is not warm at all, but for these beautiful structures it is), most of the sculptures were beginning to fall apart, so I was a little disappointed. =( They weren’t as magnificent as I expected them to be, but they were still amazing! (I don’t want to sound too disappointed)

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Amazing, isn’t it!

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This is the ice playground. You can rent a sleigh, or just use a plastic bag to slide down! (but be careful, because it is very slippery!)

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When you feel too frozen and you decide to take a little break, there are small cafes which serve free tea. (the tea was not very good, but the most important thing was to escape the cold a little and drink something hot)

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Next stop was Harbin Polarland!

It was less than 5 minutes away from Harbin Ice and Snow World, so you don’t need any transport to get there.

The entrance fee was 160 yuan (this includes two performances: a beluga and a sea lion show). Make sure you check in advance the times for the shows, they are definitely worth watching!

The place inside is warm, there are a lot of places to sit and rest, things for eating are also available.

You can see many animals, such as polar bears, penguins, wolves, foxes, belugas, sea lions and many more!

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This was the beluga show:

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You need around one and a half to two hours for visiting the Polarland.

After that it was time for the main attraction of Harbin – Harbin Ice and Snow Festival.

The admission fee is 300 yuan. (and here again you need to be a bachelor of a master degree student to get the discount)

Keep in mind that the queues are very long and depending on the time you go (especially if it is around 5-6 PM) you will have to wait a long time.

I went at around 5-5:30 PM, because I wanted to see the structures being lit up. 

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And the darker it gets, the more beautiful!

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The place is huge, so you can spend a lot of time there, enjoying the sculptures, playing in the snow, skiing, sliding or just walking around. Keep in mind, that at night, it gets even colder, so you should be very well prepared with clothes and warm drinks. You need to get inside from time to time, just to unfreeze your limbs. There is a place with lots of different types of food and also drinks, so you don’t need to prepare food in advance.

After you decide it is time to go, there is a specific place where you can take a taxi, keep in mind, that there will be a lot of people and you will need to wait around 10-15-20 minutes. But at least, you will be assured that this is a legal taxi and not a black one which will charge you a lot of money.

Day 1 is over! It was long and exhausting and very, very cold!

Day 3 (final one):

For the final day I decided to go to the famous cathedral in Harbin – St. Sophia Cathedral. It is the largest Eastern Orthodox Church in the far East.

But before getting there I took a walk around one of the most famous shopping streets in Harbin. The architecture is very similar to European architecture. You will see many Russian shops and bakeries.

That day felt even colder! There was an awful wind, because of which it felt like -18 degrees! But even the cold cannot stop people from having fun and enjoying themselves! ^-^

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And some Русский хлеб (Russian bread) as a conclusion! =D (delicious)

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Finally, my trip to Harbin was over. 

I spent around 1700 yuan: 

613 yuan for train tickets; around 30 yuan for transport in Harbin

160 yuan hotel

around 700 yuan for attractions fees

around 150 yuan for food

don’t forget 200 yuan for a hotel deposit

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Of course, it is always a good idea to have a little more money, just in case. 

That concludes my Harbin trip.

I had an amazing and unforgettable time. Once you see unique structures like this, you will always remember them. I strongly recommend visiting the coldest city in China – Harbin! 

If anyone has any questions or you need more information regarding this trip, you are always welcome to send me a message. (Facebook, gmail) I will be more than happy to answer you and help you get the same amazing experience as me!

Art District “798”, Drum & Bell Tower

This day was a long time ago, 19th of January to be exact, but I remember it clearly.

One of my friends suggested we could visit Art District “798”. So, we arranged a meeting with some of my classmates for the next morning  and went to visit this famous district of Beijing. The place is a little far from the campus of Tsinghua, I don’t remember how to get there exactly (which subway line and where to get off) but what I do remember is that you need subway and also a bus to get there. If you are not sure about the directions, you could always ask someone for help, of course. We thought we were sure how to get there, but we had little confusion about which bus we should take and where to get off, so a kind lady saw our confusion and helped us! We went on a Tuesday (as a recall reading somewhere, I think it is closed on Mondays, but you should double check), so there weren’t many people. And it was still very early, so a lot of the shops, restaurants and cafes were still closed. But we could get a nice, relaxed morning, walking around the buildings and enjoying the art. There are many galleries and little shops offering great pieces of art.

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Yes, this was the toilet:

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After that we went to the Bell and Drum towers. You can get there by Subway or bus, but you will have to walk a little. That is good, because this way you can enjoy the many Hutongs and the quiet and relaxed life around them. 🙂

The admission fee for both towers is 30 yuan combination ticket. However, it is less if you have a student card.

I am going to put some useful and interesting information that I found on the site www.travelchinaguide.com

“The towers were originally used as musical instruments in China. Afterward, however, they were used for telling time. As early as in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220), there was ‘a morning bell and a dusk drum’. Telling the time by them played an important role in helping people live and work regularly when there was no other means to keep track of the time. As a result, they became public architectures, and were widely constructed in almost every city throughout the country since the Han Dynasty. In the history of their construction, they are the largest and highest.

Lying to the north of Beijing-south axis line in Dongcheng District, they are visibly prominent constructions and represent the symbol of this old city. They were built in 1272, and rebuilt twice after two fires. At one period in history they were the time-telling centre of the capital city during the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties (1271-1911).”

This tower is the Bell tower.

“This brick and stone made building has two floors: there is an arched door on all four sides on the first floor, and you can go up to the second floor through stone stairs. The same exists on the first floor. An arched door was also built on the four sides of the second floor. Additionally, there is a stone window on each side of the four doors. Hanging on an eight-square wooden frame of the second floor, the bell in it is the largest and heaviest in China. It is 7.02 meters (23 feet) high including the pendants, with a weight of 63 tons (138,891 pounds). It was made of copper, and you can hear its round and clear sound from far away. The two 2-meter-long (2 yards) wooden logs hanging sideward are used to ring it.”

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This is the view from the Bell tower:

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Be careful, as the stairs are high and very steep! 

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This is the Drum tower.

“Located 100 meters (109 yards) south to the bell tower, it was placed on a 4-meter-high (13 feet) stone and brick base. It is 46.7 meters (153 feet) high, a little bit lower than the bell tower that is 47.9 meters high (157 feet). It is also a two-storey building; the first floor contains the China Committee for the Promotion of the Minority Art. The second floor contains the exhibition area. Originally, there was one big drum and 24 smaller ones, but only the big remains. The method of beating it is to beat it quickly for 18 times and then slowly for 18 times. Altogether there are three rounds and 108 tollings. People knock the bell and the drum 108 times, because 108 times represent one year in ancient times.

Telling time by them was abolished after Pu Yi, the last emperor of China, left the Forbidden City. Since the New Year’s Eve of 1990, the sweet sound of the bell that had disappeared for a long time began to ring out in the city. Being drowsy for nearly a century, the drum was also beaten again on the New Year’s Eve of 2001. It has been beaten four times a day, for 15 minutes at a time since January 1st in 2002. From then on, every New Year Eve, they are beaten together 108 times to send a blessing to the people.

Their location has been flourishing since the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), when they were just standing behind the imperial palace. It was the busy downtown district there then, full of storefronts and businesses. Thanks to the further developing of the businesses, the street in front of the drum tower became the busiest shopping street in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties. During the Republican Period of China (1911-1949), many have-nots (impoverished people), along with merchants selling handcrafted items (handicraftsmen) and vendors selling snacks and local food items (snack stands) swarmed the place between them, which attracted people from all walks of life at that time.Today, when visiting, you can climb onto them to have a birds-eye view to admire the entire city, and even take part in the activity of knocking them, appreciating all kinds of folk-customs, such as the dragon and lion dance, and other folk-custom exhibitions.”

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Every day, they have drum shows at certain hours. We were very lucky, because we had the chance to watch one of them! It was truly amazing, the sound was great and it was a memorable experience. 

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This is the view from the Drum tower:

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After Bell and Drum towers, we went to park Beihai which was nearby. Because it was so cold, the lakes were frozen and there were a lot of people skiing! Even though it was freezing cold, the streets were bustling with people! ^_^

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I hope you enjoyed this virtual brief walk! Until next time! ^-^

That Day I Went to the Aquarium

Hello, people of the world, how have you been doing? 🙂
Yes, I know… I haven’t updated in a long long time, but I wasn’t really in the blog mood, so that is why I have been absent for a while…

In this post I want to share my experience with the Beijing Aquarium/Zoo.

So… it was a pretty spontaneous decision to go there, you can get there very easy, just make sure you go on a nice, warm (or at least not windy) day. I got a combination ticket which is the Beijing Aquarium + the Zoo. The ticket was 75 yuan in total – 70 yuan for the aquarium and 5 yuan for the zoo.

I suggest you go there around 11-12 o’clock, that way you can enjoy the beluga and the seal shows (yes, they are throughout the whole day, but I feel like going around noon is a good idea (because not so many people)).

This is what you see when you enter the aquarium. It starts like a jungle, there’s nice music playing and the atmosphere is really good.

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Then we start seeing some sharks:

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Surprisingly there weren’t many people that day, so it was pretty enjoyable.

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Beware, lot’s of jellyfish photos! If you don’t like jellyfish (like my mom <3 ) you should just scroll down to the bottom:

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And then there is the zoo. Since it was so windy and cold that day I didn’t really want to stay out, so after the aquarium I took a quick look of some of the animals in the zoo and left. My impression on the animals out was that they are not really being taken good care of, most of the cages were too dirty and they looked like they haven’t been cleaned in a long time. 

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I will definitely come back here on a nice and warm day to see the animals, they have pandas, elephants, big cats and it’s in a nice park so it’d be enjoyable.

I hope you enjoyed! Until next time! 🙂

A Trip To Wangfujing 王府井 and Tiananmen 天安门

Some of you might be wondering why I didn’t post for such a long time. I had my mid term tests last week, so I had to study a lot. Funnily though, I got most points in Speaking and Listening, even though those two are the ones I have most difficulty in… =D But enough about that, I have some very interesting pictures to show you!

A week ago, some of my classmates and I went to Wangfujing and then Tiananmen. The smog that day was… I don’t even know what to say about that… But despite the bad air quality, we decided to go out, and we didn’t regret it! It was my first time in the Beijing subway that day and pretty much out of the campus in general… so everything seemed so cool and beautiful! I was sooooo excited! *-* After two changes of the subway and about 30-40 minutes we arrived at Wangfujing subway station. There were soooo many people, mostly foreigners. 

This is what Wangfujing looks like:

(Well, a tiny part of it, at least…)

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And this is the famous Wangfujing food street, where you can find lots of… interesting foods.

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王府井小吃街:

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As soon as you enter this little street, you will immediately notice “the smell”. If you have ever been there, you know what I’m talking about. There is a very specific, strong smell, so need a pretty strong nose if you want to stay there…   

And here is where the fun part begins:

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The one on the right, I could try, yeah, but the one of the left… nope.

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Dead and alive scorpions:

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No idea what that thing was and I kind of don’t want to know… But I guess it was good, because a lot of people were eating it.

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Next time I come here, I will definitely try these fruits! They look delicious.

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We ended up not eating anything, not because we didn’t want to, in fact, I was really hungry but I didn’t want to try a scorpion or a snake on an empty stomach… so, next time I will try something for sure! =D


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From here we went to Tiananmen. We waited for about 30 minutes to enter the square. My Chilean classmate said that he has never waited so much to enter. But on that day, the tragedy in Paris happened, so there was a lot more security on the streets. We finally went through security control and then…

This!

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We walked along the square, took a lot of pictures and then my Chilean classmate wanted to surprise us and take us to an interesting place nearby. And we went to the National Centre for the Performing Arts (“The Giant Egg”). To this gorgeous building! 

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Unfortunately, the air was too bad that day, so I am not really satisfied with the photos… =( so this means that I definitely have to come back again to take better ones! =D

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The returning journey was a bit complicated… they closed all nearby subway stops so we had to walk to the nearest open one which was about 30-35 minutes away. But we got back safely and pretty tired, too! It was an awesome evening. =)

A Relaxing Walk Around Jinchun Garden 近春园

After 5 very cold days, the weekend finally arrived. Unlike those freezing days, the weather was absolutely fantastic for Saturday. There were lots of people outside, walking, riding a bike, hanging around with their families and enjoying the sun. So I decided to get on my bike and explore some more of the campus and that’s how I ended up at Jinchun Garden.

On my way there, I took this picture of the Tsinghua Observatory.

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Tsinghua water canal, which goes around most of the campus.

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Entering the garden:

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The Jichun Bridge:

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Confucius 孔子:

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Historians believe that Jinchun Garden was the residence of emperor Xian Feng before he succeeded his father. And it is 
believed to be the inspiration for the well known essay “The View of the Lotus Pond in the Moonlight,” written by Zhu Ziqing.

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The Han Pavilion:

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The Han Pavilion is one of the most attractive sights in the Jinchun Garden. It was built in memory of the outstanding 
Tsinghua graduate and history professor Wu Han.

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Department of Mathematical Studies:

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The Auditorium again:

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School of Architecture, Department of Building Studies:

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Some hardworking women & beautiful flowers:

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The beauty of Autumn:

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Amazing colours everywhere…

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I hope you enjoyed the photos! 

Is This The Real Life? Is This Just Fantasy?

Today I woke up feeling all the feelings… Is today the Day? Will I finally be blessed? I have been waiting for so long… I’m beginning to lose myself in this tunnel, please, let there finally be light! 

Got up, feeling all anxious, ate a biscuit, drank some excuse of a coffee and went to seek the Answer. 

“What if nothing had happened, what if they made a mistake? I don’t have the strength to conquer them anymore, no one seems to know the answers…”. “Just wait”, they told me, ”you will soon receive, what you so desire, just be patient…”. 
“Well, I do not have another choice now, do I?” …
 I was getting closer and closer to the destination… to the Answer. Here I was, finally, face to screen, my knees trembling both because of hunger and nerves, I insert the card that holds all the answers and wait… 
“Hello, Ms. Panteva” flashes on the screen, “what would you like to do on this fine day?”, “I wish to make an inquiry”, I say. I enter the key that unlocks all the answers and again, I wait… 
1…2…3…4… “Congratulations, you now have money worth of two scholarships and you may finally proceed to live like a normal human being!”. 
 
“Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, No escape from reality.” …
 
Yeah, it’s still hard for me to believe, but it is real. I can finally eat more than just once a day, I can finally buy some things, which I usually use every day, I can finally eat lunch with my classmates… 
You may find this post very weird and pointless, but I cannot explain what I had to go through this past month. I have to say that I am a bit disappointed. It is not like they didn’t have the money, they just didn’t transfer them to the students. Sad story, really. There was even a point when I wished I had never thought of coming here, because there wasn’t even a single thing that was going right and okay. “Oh, your scholarship? Yeah, about that… it doesn’t matter if you arrived on the 8th, you’re not going to get it on the 10th like all the other students in this university, Chinese government scholarships are er… special. Check at the end at the month. Oh, and yeah, you are going to need around RMB 1500 for documents and courses, so good luck with finding money!”. 
“Um, it’s already the end of the month, I still don’t have anything…?” –  “Er… check after holiday, maybe then!”.
Well, okay then, if I am still moving after these 10 days with less then RMB 100.
>.>
 
Whatever. From now on, no more bad feelings. This month has been very tough and I am glad that it is over. It’s finally time for me to feel good. =)
 
 

My Chinese Textbooks

I finally have my full set of textbooks and notebooks! 

So, as you already know I was placed at Intermediate 1, but because it was too difficult I changed it to Pre-Intermediate. The levels in Tsinghua, for people who study Chinese are Beginners 1 & 2, Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate 1 & 2 and Advanced 1, 2 & 3. 

I paid RMB 190 for my textbooks and RMB 32 for my Tsinghua notebooks (yes, they are pretty fancy). 

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My Listening textbook. Don’t be fooled by the “elementary” part. This is definitely not elementary level…

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My Reading textbook. This is a Beijing university textbook, same as my General Chinese one. Tsinghua university students use Beijing University’s textbooks. Bit funny, don’t you think? =)

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Maybe the reason why they think it’s elementary is because of the childish drawings, I suppose?

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Short, but tricky texts. 

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My General Chinese textbook. Again, a Beijing university one. The only one that actually got my level right on its cover.

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And finally, Spoken Chinese.

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All the textbooks are really good, interesting and match my level perfectly. My teachers are all very nice and they explain things very well, so overall I am very pleased.  =)

A Walk Around the Dormitories

I think it is time to finally show the surrounding area around my dormitory.  The campus is very peaceful with lot’s of trees and dining halls. There are lots of playgrounds, too. In only 4 minutes, you can get to a bank, a post office, a bookstore and a big supermarket, so pretty much all the necessities are close. 

This is the road where my dormitory is. 

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This is the road where most of the playgrounds are.

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That building there is my dormitory. I live in building №20, buildings №19 & 21 can be seen in the photo, too. 

This is the smaller basketball field, which is open for everyone, anytime. 

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On the right there is another basketball field and then a few tennis cords, and on the left is the same. I believe these ones get locked at 23:00 PM.

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The field is usually full with people, but since it’s the National Holiday this week, there aren’t many people around.

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That white building is where I study Chinese. It is the form of the letter “C” so that is why everyone calls it that way.  It usually takes me around 4 minutes to get there from my dormitory.

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Those buildings that can be seen are the dormitories for the Chinese students. And of course, this is the football playground. I believe this is the smallest playground from all football ones.

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The International Students dormitories. 

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This is the road from which I get to the “C” building every morning.

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Lot’s of bicycles… as always. Sometimes it get’s a bit annoying because on a busy day, when most students’ classes are over, it’s a bit of a challenge to be walking, because the pavement (which is usually for walking) is full of bicycles, so there isn’t any space there => you have to walk on the street and hope you’re not going to get smashed by someone.  

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Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! 中秋节快乐!

Some information about the Mid-Autumn festival, so you could have a better understanding how it is celebrated. ^-^

This festival can be summed into four main activities:

  • admiring the full moon
  • giving and receiving mooncakes
  • getting together with loved ones
  • taking a vacation

The holiday falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, when there’s a big, bright full moon. So this year, it is on the 27th of September.

In the past, people would gather together to celebrate the harvest or to make offerings to the moon, but these days, most people just gather together with friends and family to enjoy the view of the moon together. 

The moon being full and round is not only something to be admired, but also a symbol of unity and completeness.

This time of the year, the whole country goes mooncake crazy!

Since they are round like the full moon, these traditional Chinese pastries are also a symbol of unity, and are eaten together with family and friends. 

I was able to try two different flavoured  mooncakes! And I have to say that they were delicious! They aren’t the most traditional ones, but they are still considered mooncakes… ok? =D

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This is the first one that I tried.

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It is very soft, and the filling is a plum marmalade. 很好吃!

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This is the second one.

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This one is with brown sugar. It’s not as good as the first one, but it’s still delicious. 

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Mid-Autumn Festival is a holiday that is best spent in the company of family. 

A legend that’s told this time of year is about the story of a champion archer named Hou Yi and his wife, Chang E. There are several different versions of the story, but the main point in them all is that Chang E took an elixir that caused her to become an immortal living on the moon, forever separated from Hou Yi. He began offering her food and praying for her well-being during the Mid-Autumn full moon, and soon the tradition caught on.

Now Chang E, the goddess in the sky, while she’ll never be reunited with her husband, receives offerings each year from those below who are fortunate enough to be with their loved ones. 

The atmosphere is great on this holiday, there are people in the parks, just laying on the grass, admiring the night sky and the moon. Lots of positive energy! ^-^

If You Don’t Bring Enough Money, You’re Gonna Have a Bad Time >.>

I apologise for not writing these days but I had a lot of things going on…

Back in Bulgaria, I knew that I was going to need some money in the beginning of the semester (for accommodation, registration, transport from the airport, some necessities etc.) before I get my scholarship. Well, for unknown reasons, ’till this day, I still do not have my scholarship money, so all the expenses (which are definitely not little), I had to take from my money. Before I came here, I wasn’t really worried because I thought that a few days after registration and after opening a bank account I would receive my scholarship money. But it seems that they have a slight problem going on… because it’s not only me who hasn’t received any money yet, my friends from Hangzhou haven’t as well. I guess for every university is different when they are going to give out the scholarships. For Tsinghua, they told me to check my bank account at the end of the month. 

I’m going to do a little summary here, which I think might be helpful for future exchange/language students.

So, upon arrival I spent RMB 150 for a taxi from the airport to the university and RMB 200 deposit for my dormitory. In order to open a bank account, you have to have a valid Chinese number and pretty much the cheapest SIM card you could possibly get is RMB 200. If you don’t have a dining card or you Student’s Card yet, buying food is much more expensive, so I pay around RMB 10-14 for a meal (a bowl of rice, a meal and a Cola). 1 week after arrival, I was already short on money, even though I was spending money only for the most basic necessities. Good thing I had some Euros in me, which I exchanged, because I needed them for my Health Certificate which was RMB 60, RMB 30 to deliver my package to my dorm so I don’t have to go there again and RMB 100 for a taxi for a round trip from Tsinghua to Beijing Travel and Healthcare Service, Haidian district. 

My classes officially started last week, so I needed to buy books and notebooks, which cost me around RMB 210. And the money I had exchanged were slowly starting to vanish. So my parents and I had to think of some kind of a way to send me money from Bulgaria. I had some difficulties finding a suitable bank with a Western Union branch so I was really stressed for a couple of days but after I did find one I was very relieved… >.> Two lessons I learned from searching for a bank – 1. never fully trust a map (I was using Baidu maps) because you might end up between a middle school stadium and a hospital for elderly people, and 2. always have at least 2 back-up plans. Always. 

Thanks to my parents, I could finally pay RMB 500 for my Residence Permit and RMB 600 for an elective course (Chinese calligraphy). Now all is well.

As a Chinese language student who is coming for the first time in China (especially if you are coming alone) you will need;

Let me calculate:

  • around RMB 150-200 at the most for a taxi from the airport
  • RMB 200 deposit for dormitory
  • RMB 200 for a SIM card
  • RMB 60 for a Health Certificate (if they like your documents, if they don’t you have to be examined there which costs around RMB 400 for a student) and RMB 30 for postal service; RMB 100 if you go by taxi
  • RMB 190-230 for books/notebooks
  • RMB 500 for Residence Permit for one year
  • and optional: if you want an elective course they vary from RMB 300 -1200
  • depends on you how much you spend on food, I spend around RMB 15-10 a day, which is considered not much
  • and some necessities for your daily life in case you haven’t brought with you

 You will need around RMB 2000 university stuff in the first two weeks and that does not include money for food/other necessities! 

So, prepare well! 

 

Some Placement Test Issues

Yesterday, I went to the building where the international students study Chinese to get more information about the placement test. Turns out, that the placement text was last week and nobody at the registration told me about it. Apparently, there was a big mistake, because there were other students, who didn’t know about the test as well.. 

Then they gave me a short test to fill in. Most of the characters I had never seen before, so I thought “Great.. I’ll be placed in beginners 1”, but I filled in what I could and after the lady there examined my test (test, test, test..), she told me I will be placed at “Intermediate 1C”. I thought this was a high grade for me and I wouldn’t fit it but I decided to check it out first, maybe it wouldn’t be that hard. 

So, after that I had to buy my textbooks, which were too expensive, so I ended up buying 3 out 7. As I looked through the reading textbook, I didn’t have too much difficulty recognising the characters, so I thought that maybe this would be a good class for me, a little challenging, but still okay.

Well it was not okay. Apparently, there is a hu-u-uge gap between Pre-Intermediate and Intermediate 1. And my level is exactly between them. I had a reading class today, at Intermediate 1 and yeah, the text was fine, still had some unfamiliar words but overall the level was much, much higher than my actual level. 

So I decided to check how the level at Pre-Intermediate was. Definitely a lot better. I can understand everything the teacher says, and I feel better in this class.

So I think that being in a class where you understand what the teacher says and not being afraid to talk freely, even if you’ve learned some of the new words and grammar from the textbook is better than being in a class, where you understand almost nothing, just ’cause you want it to be “a bit more challenging” than your actual level.

Tomorrow, I have the option of switching my grade. I hope the teachers let me do it and everything turns out okay.

Sorry for the sloppy post, I just wanted to share this really quick. >.>

Mini Food Haul

I’ve decided to share some of the foods I ate these days. They’re not much, but still something..

First thing I tried was.. a burger. =D I went to a place similar to KFC & McDonalds and I got a chicken burger, which was delicious:

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P.S. Excuse the bite, I just wanted to show what it looked like from inside

Next day’s breakfast was something very tastyyyy! I cannot describe the filling, but it’s amazing. Very soft & fresh!

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And a peach yogurt:

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Some noodles:

These ones were very spicy!

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I really like these..

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The cookies are really good, as well as the green tea and the orange juice!

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This is for now, when I go to a restaurant I will share some cooked foods. :3

Exploring the campus

So, today was a long and interesting day.

I got up at around 8 AM and I checked my schedule for the day. I had only one thing to do – to go to the opening ceremony at the Auditorium at 2 PM. It’s an official event, so I decided to fancy up a little.

Since I didn’t know where exactly it is located, I decided to go out 2 hours earlier, just in case.. And I am very glad I did, because I got to explore some very, very interesting and beautiful places in the campus.

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This is the Auditorium:

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After that, since I found the Auditorium pretty fast and I had plenty of time to spare, I decided to explore the area.

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And I found a very beautiful park…

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On my way back to the Auditorium:

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Next to the Auditorium:

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And the opening lecture:

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Oh yeah, and on my way back home I had a random Chinese guy stop me to take a selfie with me.. =D He was very friendly, he just wanted to take a picture and he left.

Next post: room tour =D