I still have so much to explore…我仍然有那么多的探索….
What you are looking at now is a Tiramisu Latte at Costa Coffee and a giant creme puff from Beard Papa.
北京市中国的文化中心。北京有很多名胜古迹。周末我一般逛名胜古迹或者学习汉语。这个周末我要复习汉语因为我们班有其中考试。四月二十五号到二十六有考试。我觉得学习汉语有点儿难。我觉得写汉字有点儿难。写得很慢。我会拼音输入法。拼音输入法是不难。我觉得拼音输入法是很容易和方便。我很喜欢拼音输入法。我的发音不错，口语也不错。现在上复习！I will now prepare for midterms 呵呵呵。。。。
Oh My Gosh! First and foremost- Apparently, On the day you register, you will be required to have a Chinese name. Many foreigners pick theirs on the spot and end up with some weird jumbled mess of words and names that are funny or have no meaning. Luckily, I was given a name quite some time back. My Chinese name is Gao Qi Nuo. Meaning: Gao = high, tall; Qi = from Qilin, a powerful mythical dragon like creature of peace that brings protection, prosperity, success and longevity; Nuo= meaning promise. Gao Qi Nuo -高麒诺
This is just an introduction. Everyone tells me that registration week at BLCU is a chaotic mess for international students. I will tell y’all about my experience AFTER I complete the process…
Where: Beijing Language And Culture University (BLCU) Beijing, China
When: Registration Week Spring Semester 2012 (Feb. 22-26, 2012)
Tuition Notice: Tuition for the entire year must be paid in full.
Visa conversion note: If I come to China with a multiple entry “L” visa, when will it expire? If you look at your “L” visa pasted attachment in your passport, you will notice it doesn’t have an expiration date. However, it does have and “enter before” date. What most people get confused by is the “enter before” date. THIS IS NOT THE EXPIRATION DATE. Its literally telling you that you must enter China before or by that date. Not after. So when will my “L” visa expire then. Well, around 90 days after my official entrance day into China. So, since I entered China on January 8, 2012, my visa doesn’t expire until sometime in April. Therefore, I have no worries about my visa expiring before it gets converted into a temporary residence permit. Since others have inquired about this same subject, I will write out my personal experience as to how the process went AFTER I get through this week lol.
Below is a map of my university:
Here is a well drawn out diagram of the registration process. I printed this diagram to bring to campus with me:
Today’s Awesomelicious Morsels of Yummyliciousness at 江户前
Guomao, also known as the China World Trade Center area, is what we would typically call yuppie-ville. A posh zone where metalic skyscrapers and futuristic megalithic architectural designs overshadow walking masses of highly educated professionals in their designer suits, heals and ties. A place where nearly all of my close friends here in Beijing work. Walking distance from Guomao, is another sheek area called Yonganli. Another yuppie abode where Starbucks is the ruling cafe and independent coffee houses are just as charmful, abundant and popular. If you like to shop for expensive designer items, then exploring Guomao and Yonganli is a great place to start. However, these are just a couple of Beijing’s many posh areas for shopping rendezvous. I’m more of a walker and sightseer so I could care less about all those clothing stores but I’d definitely go in debt from my love for coffee lol. American eateries are also a common site here. In Yonganli, I happened to pass by a Sizzler, TGIF, Subway, Baskin Robins and Haagen Daz just to name a few. Both Guomao and Yonganli are official stops on Beijing’s line 1 subway system. I visit my friends here nearly everyday.
So I have a favorite Coffee house in Guomao called “Tous Les Jours” which is a coffee house franchise similar to Starbucks but better (in my opinion). Tous Les Jours coffee shops can be found everywhere as well. I’ve actually become a familiar face to this particular one though. They have free wifi, great coffee and a great bakery. I usually get the Caramel Macchiato in a mug. If I had to choose between Starbucks and Tous Les Jour, I’d choose Tous Les Jour. The atmosphere is cozy and they have a section of FRESHLY baked goods for sale. The price is relatively lower than Starbucks. There are actually MANY coffee abodes in Guomao and Yonganli with their own unique names and characteristics. Some independent while others are franchises. Most of them offer free wifi and serve espresso based beverages so one of my fun goals is to try all these pretty cool places…
There’s a really awesome Japanese restaurant near the China World Trade center called 江户前 ( AKA Edomae Sushi from what I was told). THE FOOD HERE IS GREAT! Come here before 12 noon. Plan to arrive around 11:45 AM because this place gets packed. I also noticed that this is a common meet up place for foreign professionals who work in the skyscrapers around the restaurant.
I ordered a “breaded fried pork over rice” lunch which was about 32 RMB ($5.08). It came with a good size bowl of rice topped with breaded pork and egg with some caramelized onions, a side of pickled cucumbers, a salad and a small bowl of miso soup. My friend ordered the “assorted fish” lunch which was around 40 RMB ($6.67). THAT one was really good. It was an assortment of diced raw fish over rice, a hot tea cup of lightly salted silken tofu, miso soup, some salad and pickled cucumbers. Great Eats! I have tried quite a few Japanese restaurants in the US. Honestly, the presentation and quality at this Beijing restaurant should be well around the $15 mark in the US…
They also had a Mochi dessert menu that looked immaculately mochilicious and awesome but I’ll save that tasting agenda for next time.
The Evening I Ate Mochilicious Balls
Dear Family and Friends
For my crazy firecracker footage click here: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzQ5NzM0MzQw.html?firsttime=300
Today I ate balls. On this evening of February sixth two thousand and twelve, I ate four perfectly round mochilicious balls of delicious awesomeness to celebrate the last day of the Spring Festival. Here in China, they call this day the Lantern Festival (上元节, 上元節) which is the 15th day of the first month of the lunisolar calendar. On this day, your supposed to eat delicious balls of sweet yumminess called ‘Yuan-xiao’ (元宵). 元宵 are superstitiously believed to give its eaters a good life. According to some good reads about these balls of awesomelicious grandness, the first 元宵 was made about 800 years ago. That makes those balls pretty legendary. To the person who invented yuanxiao, I love your legendary balls.
I actually saw familiar street vendors selling them on their market tables yesterday. So what are they? What are they made from? What is the texture like? What’s inside them? How big are they? How small are they? Do you want to know what these awesome balls taste like?
The balls are very soft and best eaten warm. They are slippery on the outside, hollow inside with a sweet filling (black sesame paste)…
元宵 ‘yuanxiao’ are nothing more than glutinous sweet rice balls. They are made from ground sticky rice flour (common market name- mochiko flour) which is mixed with enough water to shape them into balls. Here in Beijing, the rice balls are filled with a sweet black sesame paste. Once the balls are filled and shaped, they are placed into boiling water. Once you see the balls floating on the surface, then you know they’re finished.
Similar items can be found in the Philippines and Japan (and elsewhere in Asia). In the Philippines, sticky rice balls of the same ingredients are simmered in coconut milk or fried with a sweet bean filling and rolled in sesame seeds. In Japan, the yuanxiao has almost identical characteristics with the Mochi.
Overall, eating these balls were not new to me at all because I grew up eating similar items like Mochi, Mochi Ice cream, rice balls in coconut milk etc etc. However, I enjoyed the feeling of eating something so familiar. I love the feeling of biting into a warm, slippery and soft ball of sticky sweet rice dough and feeling the sesame paste exploding in my mouth with that atomic burst of sweet black sesame flavor as my teeth elegantly stabs into it like a commercial… Pretty awesome.
And yes- they are great with coffee…I would serve coffee, mochi and boiled yuanxiao during a coffee chat with a close friend.
Dear Friends and Family
So I’ve been in Beijing since January 8th of 2012 and will be here for a year. I live with locals in an apartment off campus so I’m experiencing REAL life in Beijing. So what do I think of Beijing? I’ve found that life here is not bad at all. Here in Beijing- It’s safe, very easy to get around, extremely modern, easy access to every necessity including LUXURY necessities, the food is great when you stay away from tourist restaurants, the city is pretty well organized and yes there are poor areas but thats pretty much expected for any developing country. I visited Manila in 2005 and the poverty in the Philippines is much worse… Overall, I’m happy, healthy and safe. There is no epidemic health hazards here, the crime rate is one of the lowest in the world, the people are friendly, helpful, curious, nice and fun loving. The current younger generation are educated and opportunities are waiting to be tapped into. For the next year, I have a few goals to fulfill. One, complete the 1 year language program at BLCU which is equivalent to about 32 university credits earned at the most. Two- Get a clear understanding of International Business and Chinese economy. Three- Enhance my professional resume. Four- Dive into the diversified cultures of China. Six- get wasted and have the time of my life lol…
So, I’m very comfortable with public transportation here. The subways here are very advanced, very clean and well equipped with security and police. Taking the buses require a bit more bravery since it requires more knowledge of reading Chinese but behold, I’ve taken the bus routes here and its very efficient and trustworthy.
Now that I’ve been well equipped with the confidence to go on excursions on my own, I’ve been able to explore Beijing’s “Hutong(s)” (胡同). Hutongs are Beijing’s old neighborhoods and small streets. You will find everything and anything in the hutong. One area that I visited is called Liuli Chang. It is near the “Drum Tower”. Many tourist come here because of the lively atmosphere. The area is crowded and the small streets and alley ways are lined with hundreds of coffee shops, small bars, restaurants, gift shops and other businesses. I love walking around that area. I’d take my close friends there to have coffee and eat…
A 2012 Temple Fair
I couldn’t pass up my first Spring Festival celebrated in China without visiting a “temple fair”. When I heard about temple fairs, I thought it’d actually be at temple grounds or something. For some reason, I was reminded of the “church harvest fair” or “church fall festival” that I used to attend back home in the US in my younger years.
The temple fair was definitely not held at some temple thats for sure. The one I attended was held at Taoranting Pavilion Park. I have to say, I had a lot of fun! Buy the admission tickets and the grounds were there for you to explore. The place was pretty big. It included a “snow world” which had a huge man made snow hill to slide down, a wide range of inflatables and a Camel ride. The park also had a few lakes that were frozen over where you could rent a few ice gliding toys to ride on the ice. Other ponds were barricaded with warning tape to “PLEASE DO NOT WALK ON THE FROZEN LAKE” but still, there were entire families walking all over it lol…
There were so many food stalls.. The park pathways were lined with stalls of people selling items from grilled Xinjiang style kabobs and glazed crabapple sticks to fresh fruits and Yunnan coffee.
I bought me some good ‘Ole dried sweetened persimmons to chew while walking and a little barrel of Yunnan coffee to enjoy at home.
If you enjoy strolling around with friends while munching on snacks and sipping hot drinks, the temple fair would be a good place to visit. However, don’t expect gourmet food. Your there to enjoy the “festive” atmosphere. Not the food.
… I wish I had stayed for the different live performances and shows though. I heard they some colorful parades, firecrackers and other traditional performances earlier in the week.