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emilia’s homestay (english in detail)-the temple of earth and the noodles

My name is emilia , i am British however i live in India. i have come to Beijing for total immersion in mandarin which will hopefully improve my chinese. i am staying in a traditional chinese courtyard house in a hutong. Of course for any foreigner being abroad is different and for some difficult to adjust to at first, i have found that going into everything i do with an open mind is the best thing, at first when i was told about this amazing opportunity i had my worries and doubts about things, such as weather, getting lost, food etc but as i read more into matter i found that all i was doing was making up the worst cases which all turned out to be rubbish.

my first impression of Beijing and china was the cleanliness. I have barely seen any rubbish on the roads or anywhere, but i have only been here for 1 and a half days so maybe that will change but i hope not. i was intrigued to see that there are so many people riding bicycles here, i was told that loads of people do ride bikes but i thought that maybe they were exageratting but no, they deffinately weren’t.

yesterday after being picked up from the airport and taken to the house that i was staying at i hopped on the back of the families scooter and off we all scooted (me, the father and the 2 sons, the wife is away on a business trip) down the road – with the elder of the two boys on his rollerblades holding on to the back of the bike which i would have loved to have had the chance to do when i was his age – first to the bank and then to the bookshop where we picked up some calligraphy material so i can learn the ancient art!after returning to the house, we then moved onto his sisters house for dinner where i met their son. after a long and tiring day of travelling i collapsed on the bed and went straight to sleep.

today has been hotter than i expected, the weather really does wear you down, its not even a dry heat in my opinion it is rather humid! i got up at around 7.30 this morning and then continued to have breakfast which consisted of lettuce (i thought this rather ‘different’ to what i usually get), fruit and a kind of porridge. normally however i either just have a small bowl of fruit or nothing so this was a huge meal in comparison which sadly i didnt finish. after breakfast we all hopped on the scooter and went to the park where i watched many people do taiji and kung fu, i even saw some people practising martial arts with a sword but i don’t know what that is called. we then proceeded to look at the chinese medicins and what you can do to help yourself. the park was called the temple of the earth and it had a square building in it because they believe that heaven is round and the earth is square. at around 12.15 we all came back on the scooter and had lunch which was delicious noodles in a small soup with russian sausage which his wife had brought from russia when she went on a business trip there and some green beans. before the meal we each ad half a cucumber which i found interesting, it wasn’t cut into pieces or anything just cut in half and you ate it like you would eat an ice lolly!

each day i intend to sit down and write out the new words that i have learnt that day. when i dont understand something i ask and i try to remember but i am terrible at remembering anything which is not good because i am going to be attending a language school throughout the day during the week and i have got to cycle about 10mins to the subway where i will then take a 30min train to somewhere where i will then walk 10mins to the language school. i have to say i am a bit worried about that as i will for sure either get lost or just confuse myself! uhohh!

more later (in english and mandarin!)

x

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