I’ve been in China for two weeks now, and I’m finally starting to feel settled. Although I’m not completely oriented, I can tell a cab driver where my house is…and in a country as big as China, that’s a good start.
I’ve mentioned before that I live far from the school – about 30 minutes from my house to my class. To be honest, I was initially disappointed that I am the only student this far from school (the other 10 home stay students live in apartments right outside the campus gates). Meeting my language tutor, attending club activities, or even just meeting my friends for the day takes significantly more planning and time. This is my apartment building. It has lights that outline the building that turn on at night--way to conserve energy, China.
The key to adjusting is to feel like you can do/see everything in a new city that you would usually do/see at home. Shanghai is the most modern city in China, so I've had some luck:
...My bedroom has exactly enough room to do yoga (if you’re doing Bikram, or hot yoga, this is about the amount of space you have before the next person’s mat)…I've found my very own D.C. reflection pool (ehh, close enough.)...They sell ORGANIC food - whoaaa...You can find western influenced statues
…And today, I found a park. As some of you may know, I’ve just recently started running for the first time in four years, so finding a place where I can practice running is important. What better place than these little oases? (P.S. I have yet to see anyone else running around here so me running plus being American probably makes for a funny sight)
For those learners out there: the Chinese Garden developed as a synthesis of two concepts linked in Daoist philosophy: scenery and serenity – the contemplation of nature in isolated meditation leads to enlightenment. Therefore, the educated and wealthy built natural-looking retreats for themselves with an urban environment, and the tradition has continued.
If you've been dying to meet my family, you'll meet them soon. I've already told them we're going to have a photo shoot tomorrow.
Until next time,