It’s hard to believe, but at the end of this past week, I’m officially halfway through the term in China. Time has gone so fast, and I feel like the second half is likely to go just as quickly. This week was also the week of me buckling down and getting things done, namely my homework. I was amazingly productive, with the determination to sit down and finish my homework as quickly as possible so that I could then relax a little more during the evening and at lunch. It was kind of a relief, honestly, and I hope I can continue to do this as much as possible.

The weather continues to be warm and relatively clear. I never thought I’d be grateful for sun in my eyes while I ride the bus to school, but it means that the weather isn’t cloudy or smoggy, so I don’t mind it so much. On Friday I even got to sleep in a little, because of an activity planned for later in the afternoon, which meant that I wasn’t leaving the house in the cold early morning and I felt comfortable enough to wear a skirt and my lightest jacket. The activity was a bunch of camp-style games set all over campus, and we were split into teams consisting of BeiDa students and exchange students. The skirt wasn’t the best idea for needing to run around and do various activities, but it saved me from pushups, so I don’t really mind. My shoes, however, were not the best for running around, and that turned out to be more of a problem, as my feet were a little bit sore at the end of the day. This soreness wouldn’t have been so much of an issue if I hadn’t signed up to hike up a mountain (Mang mountain) on Saturday.

Saturday was warm but slightly overcast, which was really too bad, because the views from the mountain were lovely, and would have been better had it not been so cloudy. The thing about hiking up mountains in China, however, is that they don’t have trails in the way that Americans think about trails – instead, they have hundreds and hundreds of steps all the way up to the top. This, to me, was worse, particularly because I didn’t eat enough leading up to the hike, so in the beginning I was a little bit woozy. Luckily I’d bought some huge apples the day before, so after eating one I felt much better, but stairs are pretty rough on one of my knees (which has an issue with too many stairs). It didn’t hurt on the way up, but, as expected, the way down was a different story. Of course, the pain from going down stairs fades much more quickly than the soreness in my other leg’s muscles from favoring my knee on the way down, so I’m still feeling the effects of the hike even now.

Overall, it was a relief not to have a written test this week (although I’m never safe from the oral ones), and I had a great time doing physical things on Friday and Saturday, and then talking with my friends and resting on Sunday. If the rest of the term goes like this week did, I think I’ll consider it a successful time.

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My team and I performing one of the tasks in our games

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At the foot of the mountain there was a large Buddha statue and the 12 animals of the zodiac, so naturally I had to take a photo posing with mine.

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A selfie at the top of Mang Mountain

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