Week beginning 25/09/17
On Monday evening, I was walking across campus to get to the dining hall when I heard some music playing over the public sound system. Suddenly, it occurred to me that the university might have a radio station! I promptly messaged my students and sure enough they confirmed that there is a radio station on campus. Excellent! So then I went about enquiring how I could join. Like mini detectives the students set about contacting the radio station and within a few hours I was granted an interview to join the station. When I said I couldn’t make the interview time I was told I can join without an interview. Haha that was amazing! So, hopefully I’m now in. I just have to wait until after the October Holiday, which runs from 1st to 7th October, to visit the radio station.
On Tuesday evening, again with the help of students, I discovered the university dance club. There was a poster, in Chinese of course, advertising the dance club and a student translated it for me. Then we messaged the leader of the club. The leader said I could join if the teacher gave permission. So fingers crossed, the teacher will reply with a positive answer, and I can be a member of the dance club too!
On Wednesday evening, I returned to Toastmasters for the third time. What keeps me going is the friendly people. I also like listening to the prepared presentations, of which, there are 2 to 4 per week. So far the theme each week has been interesting; there has been: creativity, and healthy mind/healthy body. However, I can’t fully join this club until I give two unprepared speeches lasting 1 to 2 minutes each. Usually 3 to 4 people give unprepared speeches each week. You have to raise your hand quickly and if you’re chosen you then will be given a question to discuss. So far I’ve been too slow at raising my hand. I like to hear a few of the questions before I volunteer haha. I will try at the next meeting.
On Friday evening, I had dinner at a vegan restaurant with several women from the “Female Expats in Beijing” group. It’s an online group which I joined a few weeks ago. The purpose of the group is to make friends and share advice. Outside of China I’ve never engaged with an expat group before (aside from meeting other travellers in hostels or on tours). However, in China, especially if you are living here, there is so much you need to know, and potentially your employer is too busy to help you with every single question you have. So I have joined this group and another one called InterNations, which is a global expat group. So far I’ve not been able to attend an InterNations event but I might soon, the only thing that deters me is that you have to pay a monthly membership fee. Haha
On Saturday evening, two students, who are also new to Beijing, invited me to explore Snack Street and Shichahai Lake with them. Snack Street sells delicacies such as scorpions and star fish! But luckily, we also found a restaurant selling vegetarian dumplings. Shichahai Lake is beautifully lit up at night and has many bars along its sides playing live music.
Early on Sunday morning, but according to the students “not so early”, we visited the Summer Palace. The Summer Palace actually isn’t a palace but a temple with huge grounds. The temple buildings are beautiful and the grounds are magnificent including huge lakes and lots of greenery – something you learn to treasure when living in Beijing.