Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. I haven’t written for about a month, which has been mainly due to a lot of laziness on my part as well as being completely swamped with work for the Mandarin classes. Truth be told, I haven’t had too many exciting adventures because of the amount of time I have to dedicate to the classes on a weekly basis. Most of my weekends have been spent practicing characters and trying to work just a little bit ahead. With that said, the few adventures I have had during the last few weeks have been very pleasant to say the least.

First, our little CAPA clan went to the Summer Palace. The entire compound was constructed in the mid 1700s by the emperor. It features a man-made lake at the center. It takes up a vast quantity of land. The massiveness of the entire area is really emphasized upon looking over the lake after climbing to the top of the mountain. The view is breathtaking and surreal. It felt as though I were standing in the middle of a movie.

The second excursion over the last few weeks was to Beihai park. The park, much like the Summer Palace is massive. People from all over the city come to the park on the weekend as a way to enjoy their leisure time. Many people gather together and dance together, using almost every style of dance from around the world. The park is built around a decently large lake that can be traversed on a tour boat or on a self-propelled one. At times, it felt like I was walking around a giant estate rather than a public park. The architecture is stunning and lasts the test of time.

With next week, a new series of examinations comes. I have an exam in all three of the sections of my Mandarin courses. The written class’s exam covers chapters 1-25, which is a very large number of characters to have memorized. The details regarding the other exams are very vague, as the teachers refuse to divulge too much information. After the exams, I’ll have a normal week of classes before having a few days off, thanks to APEC. The very important conference is in Beijing this year, and all forms of education are shutting down because of it. I will be utilizing the time to work ahead a little, do a little gift shopping, and take a trip to the city of Tianjin.


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