Enough about schoolwork, though, since that’s the boring part of my experience! As I mentioned in my last post, last Wednesday we took a field trip to the Lama (Buddhist) and Confucius Temples, which was very cool because at the time we were learning about Confucianism in history and now we are learning about Buddhism. Both temples had really amazing ancient Chinese architecture. At the Confucius Temple, they also have 190 huge, ancient stones that contain Confucius’s Analects. At the Lama Temple, it was really cool to see Buddhists actually praying there, and to have a chance to pray with the incense ourselves.
Last weekend, in addition to doing lots of homework, I also had a chance to explore a little more of the city. On Saturday I explored my neighborhood with some SYA friends who also live near school. Then on Sunday, we went to the 798 Art District of Beijing, which has lots of modern-art galleries, coffee shops, and sculptures on the streets. The area was once full of German factories, and it is cool to see how the old factories have now been converted into studios.
Monday was the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) in China, which meant I got the day off from school. I mostly relaxed at my apartment and did some SAT prep and homework, but in the evening I went with Ma (Chinese word for mother - what I call my host mother) to Hohai, which is a lake and park about a 40 minute walk from my apartment. Because of an old Chinese legend, you are supposed to look at the moon on the Mid-Autumn Festival, so we were able to see the moon over the lake, which was really beautiful. I was glad that Ma suggested we go to the lake, because we have a lot of trouble communicating and she usually doesn’t like it when I suggest we do something together.
This has been a very busy weekend for me. I have more school work here than I ever would have believed! I was able to take some time off yesterday to visit the Beijing Zoo, though. It was a fun outing, but it was actually very sad to see the conditions that the animals are housed in. Many of them looked very sick and unhappy. In the end we saw the pandas, though, which I was very exciting because I had never seen a panda before! They were very cute!
Here are some other miscellaneous pictures I took this week:
Well, I better get to sleep so I'm well rested for my Mandarin quizzes tomorrow!