April is starting, which means that after this week and next week I’ll be done with my semester and starting on my travels, which will make up my final two weeks in China. Along with the strange feeling of time having passed so quickly, I also have to worry about tests, my final paper, and the fact that I’ll have no break between these very busy times and all of my traveling. But first, I should reflect on this past week.

This week’s weather was warm again, and the smog even cleared up towards the end so that we had some nice blue sky. The warm weather has been doing wonderful things for my mood, and on Thursday this meant that going outside to take class pictures transformed me into a small child who would much rather prance around outdoors than go back into the basement to drill our new words and grammar. This meant that I managed to make every other sentence about wanting to go outside, however, which made our class at least somewhat more entertaining, and the rest of my afternoons have been somewhat similar. I’m still tired, of course, but somewhat less so than earlier, despite the fact that our lessons are getting longer and longer, and our new vocab increasing with them.

On Friday, instead of having a test, we went to an elementary school, which I was absolutely not in the mood for. I hadn’t been able to sleep much the previous night, and had had a dream about my sister’s pet (not a real one, but a dream one) dying in my lap, so the thought of going to be yelled at by a bunch of ten year olds did not seem appealing. Luckily, we got to see some traditional culture classrooms first, which included a form of Chinese chess, harp playing, tea drinking, and guqin playing. Afterwards we went to a normal classroom, talked to the screaming ten year olds, and then went outside to play. It was noisy, and I spent the entire time feeling hungry, which meant I was in a pretty bad mood and thus did not have the best time ever, but afterwards a friend and I went to get lunch and sat around talking for a few hours, which was much more relaxing and fun.

Saturday was the planned excursion to the Mutianyu Great Wall. I also did not sleep well, and, despite the warm weather and the place we were going, I was tempted to just stay home and sleep instead of climbing however many thousands of steps to reach the wall. However, the weather was warm and the sky was blue and the climb was actually not terribly long or hard. Compared to my mountain climbing experience, it was quite enjoyable, and I had plenty of energy when we reached the top. I’m extremely glad that we went. It was a beautiful sight, and a lovely time walking up and down it, and taking many memorable selfies with my friends and teachers. When I got back I was exhausted, but the trip had been well worth it, and I’m extremely glad that I didn’t bail last minute because of how tired and cranky I had been the past couple of days. This just goes to show that sometimes even the worst situations can create wonderful memories, and it was a relief to have such a great excursion before the deadlines and tests really start to loom.

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Me posing with the guard dog (lion?) we took our class photo with. 

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This doorway was so narrow that this was surprisingly difficult, but when I want to climb something I usually find a way.

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Although the trees in the parks and on campus down in the city are getting their leaves back, the ones around the Wall were still bare, which was kind of too bad, but contrary to how it looks in this photo, there weren’t actually too many tourists there, so there are always benefits to going out of season. I’d love to see it in the snow.


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