This week has been very long, and very tiring, with some good things and some bad things. I’m going to start with the bad things. I’ve been exhausted all week (although I feel like I say that every week), to the point where I’ve actually started drinking coffee. On Wednesday night, I heard the news that my 18 year old dog had finally died, which hit me harder than I’d expected, considering that I’ve been thinking she was going to die at any time for over a year. This meant that I only slept about 5 hours before my oral test, which nevertheless seemed to go well, and that I was still in a pretty bad mood on Friday.

However, there were good things about this week. I went out with my calligraphy class to get dinner on Tuesday, and after our Friday activity (attending a speaking contest that I didn’t sign up for, although one of my classmates won it so that was exciting), my friend dragged me out to a really nice hotpot place. I ate lots of spicy hotpot and also lots of excellent fruit, tried duck intestine, and also enjoyed watching the famed noodle dance (where a man comes out and pulls your noodles in front of you, flicking the dough around beautifully as he does it). Lots of good food helped me feel better, and I got to go home and try another interesting food, duck blood tofu. The flavor wasn’t too bad, kind of like a hard boiled egg if the white and the yolk were combined, but the texture was…odd. I would not actively try to eat it again, but it also wasn’t really a terrible experience.

Today we went to the Summer Palace, which was absolutely gorgeous, and the sky even cleared up slightly as the day went on. I got baozi for breakfast, because I’d arrived early, and another customer of the little stall complimented me on my language skills (whether or not she would have felt the same if she’d seen me try to order something other than baozi I’m not sure), so that was a confidence boost. We went to the lake, walked along the long corridor, and then went up to the Buddhist temple on the mountain. There the larger group split up, and I went with two American and two Chinese students to see the other side of the mountain, with lots of beautiful architecture, and then to get lunch. It was a really pleasant day overall, and I’m happy that this weekend has been more cheerful than the rest of the week.

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This was in a plaza surrounded by little rooms that were open to the center so that inhabitants of the palace could enjoy opera performances.

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A building next to the main temple, with a hint of the city skyline in the background. It was hard to believe that we were barely a 10 minute bus ride from campus, because the park felt so isolated from the rest of the city, so it really felt like a trip to a completely different place.

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A close up on some of the statues that decorated every building. The number of animals and what they are has significance, but I don’t remember what it is exactly. I thought they were beautiful, though. 

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