Archive for ‘Beijing’

February 10, 2010

The one with the most intense four weeks ever

I said goodbye to my cosy, central hostel and went to the hotel around midday on July 30th, so I could leave my luggage there and have that over with. When I got to there, I realized it wasn’t any hotel. It was a quarantine hotel. Lovely. Even though I’d managed to spread my germs over half of Beijing, I was strongly discouraged from leaving the hotel. I couldn’t even get street food, but had to wait for dinner at 6pm. So I went to my room, complained to a bunch of people online and went to bed. When I woke up, it was way past dinnertime, and I only got to see some of the other TTC-participants before going to bed again.

7 days of temperature check at 7.30 & 15.30, breakfast, lunch and dinner containing almost the same kind of food and eventually also some class was quite a strain on my patience. Going from being completely free to being completely restricted was quite a change to adjust to, and I must admit I was quite grumpy the first couple of days. But eventually I softened up and started socializing, which turned out pretty good. Luckily we had a bar just outside the hotel to hang out at in the evenings, so all was good.

However, the real life began after the breakout. It’s just too much to tell, but it was great. We had two tour days where we visited the Great Wall, Summer Palace, Olympic City, Ming Tombs (BORING!), Pearl/Silk market, saw Chinese Acrobatics and ate Beijing Duck. During the week we had class from 8.30-16.00 which consisted mostly of learning how to teach English at different levels (we did play a LOT of games :). In our free time we went out, hung out, ate out, went shopping, did KTV or just chilled outside block 4.

Good times, good times indeed…

Graduation was a bittersweet event. We celebrated the fact that we did it (of course!) but were also sad that we would all part ways to leave for our placements in different parts of China. The German girls were all collecting everyone’s addresses and emails in little books, good friends were exchanging phonenumbers to stay in touch.

Some things you won’t remember, but the people you’ll never forget…

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February 9, 2010

The one with the whole new world

Once upon a time, there was a Me… or an I. Whatever. And ever since I first got on a plane and went as far away as Jordan when I was about 10, I’ve longed to get away again, and again, and again. But why China?

Honestly, I don’t remember. I suppose I was intrigued by the culture, and I kind of stumbled upon this Teach & Travel China thing online. I signed up for what I thought would be more information, but it turned out to be an official notification of interest, which led to a letter being sent to my home asking me to pay the initial fee or else I’d get fined. I didn’t mind, I figured it was the kick I needed to do something exciting, to say the least =)

I decided to hit Beijing on my own, ten days before the teacher training course would commence. It probably was one of my best ideas, as I got to experience China on my own, in my own pace, and meet quite a few interesting people whom I probably wouldn’t have spoken to if I were with a bunch of other people. I got my first dose of Chinese, Asian KTV, streetfood, noodles with soy bean sauce, Peking duck, and Wangfujing snack street (where they put funny stuff on a stick). I got to hang out with some locals as well as other travellers, and just hang out.

Ten days of complete freedom. Ah…

I got an email from one of the programme coordinators of TTC a couple of days before we were supposed to get the course people together, saying that the location had changed to some hotel in south-west Beijing. Fine. As I had met a couple of Americans who were hanging out in Beijing for a while, I had planned to go out with them the night I was supposed to move in with TTC, but to my surprise I had to cancel that date. Thank you swine flu…