21st in Beijing and Tests for Days

So, I know it has been a few weeks since I’ve written for this blog. That’s due to a combination of being busy and also being a little lazy. The last two weeks in Beijing have been rather quiet. On September 16th, I celebrated my 21st birthday. The day itself was very low-key, because I had my Mandarin classes in the morning as well as a CAPA course in the afternoon. During that course, however, my professor surprised me with a bottle of Chinese alcohol. I assume that it is a traditional Chinese rice wine, but due to the 38% alcohol content, I’m not so sure. I haven’t opened it yet, because I’m saving it for a special occasion.

The rest of the week continued as normal with classes consuming most of my time. As a group, the girls, Colin, and I visited the Summer Palace. It had such breathtaking sights. It was a very serene experience there. The whole next week was very uneventful.

This week (September 28-October 4) is proving to be hectic. On Tuesday, I have a massive exam in my class that covers sixteen chapters of characters! Overall, my knowledge of about 220 characters will be tested on this exam. Most of the exam is comprised of writing, fill-ins, and reorganizing the order of words in sentences. I spent this whole past weekend studying with a girl from my class, Mollie, and I feel decently prepared. We will be studying later today and into the night. I realized that I know most of the characters, with only about forty that I find difficult to write from memory. I have spent a few hours practicing them and feel rather confident now. I hope that all this preparation pays off in the final grade for the exam.

Starting on October 1st, the National Holiday begins inChina. It commemorates the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and as such, it closes all forms of school for seven days. Although I don’t have any trips planned like many other students, I will be using the time to work ahead in my classes and to do some mystery adventuring around Beijing in order to become more familiar with the city, especially the non-tourist areas.

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