Of Great Walls and Sesame Balls

After a 2+ month hiatus, I have returned to the literary and cultural hooliganism of the blogosphere, and with much to share.

The last time I updated this was in March, the first or second week after Princeton's spring break. As weird and clumsy as the Princeton winter calendar is, I don't mind having the extra downtime to work on my final papers. (In my experience, reading period is just an excuse for Chinese teachers to teach 3 more lessons to include on your written exam and to make you deliver oral presentations about plastic surgery or global warming issues in China.) Spring has no such downtime, and my life was under lockdown from Spring Break until May 13th. Dean's Date was Tuesday the 10th, my Chinese final was Wednesday the 11th, and I spent Thursday the 12th saying numerous and frantic goodbyes to those graduating seniors whom I will miss dearly as they go off to such exotic locales as Cambridge, Turkey, and Texas.

Back to the point: I was in Beijing, China between May 18th and June 8th for senior thesis research, and the experience was unforgettable.

I had the luck of meeting up with a group of Stanford students studying in Beijing and CET students studying in Harbin thanks to my good friends David Hoyt and Libby Watts, whom I met last summer at the Middlebury Chinese Language School. I learned to never underestimate the power of socializing with people your own age, especially in a country where you are comfortable with the language and culture but are otherwise quite alone.

While there's a KFC (and to a negligibly lesser degree, McDonald's) on all major streets, it's quite easy to starve in a country full of foods, both familiar and unfamiliar. I will miss terribly the fun of seeing any and all edibles on sticks from fruits and meats to scorpions and silkworms (strangely, the corn on a stick was my favorite).

Baby pants are split down the front and the back. So there is much baby bum to be seen around zhong guo. I love it.

And now going back to sleep for the near future. Chinese experience recap to be continued...