OK, so this is my first time making a blog. Well, to tell you the truth I created this blog for my last trip to China, but I never actually got around to writing anything. My considerable skills at procrastinating, no doubt, came into play.
Anyway, since I arrived in China two months ago a lot of things have happened. I've met loads of people from all around the world (most recently two Norwegian guys a few minute ago in the café I'm writing this in), enrolled in Tsinghua university, found a flat, and lots of other stuff that I'll write about later.
After saying goodbye to Mum, Benjamin, and Hanna, having my last pint of Guinness for a while, and buying a new camera, I got on the plane to Beijing and got ready for a long flight. The person seated next to me was a very talkative Chinese woman who was hellbent on refreshing my Chinese skills before I arrived in Beijing. She was very helpful, and even managed to get me three small bottles of red wine for free. I owe her thanks for being able to snag some sleep on my way over here. The plane touched down exactly 2009.9.9 09:00!
After I recovered from the jet lag, I figured it was time to start looking for apartments. I had no idea what a gruelling experience I was in for. First, I tried seeking out some agents on my own. In just about every agency I went to, my blonde hair set off alarm bells and dollar signs appeared in the eyes of the agent. They told me that there were almost no apartments left, and that the only apartments left were either super expensive or extremely shoddy. I quickly understood that I needed some help. Thanks to Irene I came into contact with a Chinese guy called Fei. He had lived in Norway for a couple of years and also spoke fluent English. He was very kind and offered to help me find an apartment. His friend introduced us to an agency that was reliable, and together we conceived a devious plan -insert evil laughter here- of how to discuss the price without them understanding. Norwegian! We visited several flats, ranging from the really nice ones, to the, let us say, sub-par ones. But they were all either too expensive or too shoddy. We had given up and were going to get something to eat. And suddenly, in the last moment, the agent came through with an apartment that was perfect. I had finally found a place that met my three criteria of 1. not being in the same price range as Norwegian apartments, 2. having a kitchen, and 3. not being cockroach and mildew infested. All in all, I was happy!
Since then I've settled into my flat nicely, I have even been to IKEA to buy some lamps and pictures to brighten up my days here. IKEA in China is just like any other IKEA anywhere else in the world, with self-assembled furniture galore, and quaint Swedish names for everything. Except that it's filled to the brim with Chinese people lying around having a nap on exhibition sofas and beds, and students enjoying the free refills in the cafeteria while studying.
I've been practising taiji every morning from 8.00 -9.00 am, and studying Chinese as much as possible. I feel like my head is exploding with Chinese characters. I'm even having dreams about Chinese characters coming for me! But mid-term exams are coming up in a few weeks, so I've got to keep up the pace.
I'm finally meeting with Dr. Chen Lianyong from Nankou hospital this weekend, so I'll hopefully be able to start practising Chen-style Taijiquan soon. I hope everyone back home is doing well, and that your Taiji is coming along nicely!
Here's a picture of Hans, Harry and me eating hotpot.
There, now you're kinda updated on my life here(if you made it all the way to the end), I'll write some more soon, and hopefully get a few more pictures up.
Bjarte Simon Hiley