One of the challenges of going abroad with familiar faces is that once one ventures into unchartered territory, people go back to what is most comfortable, most familiar. And so it is with Middlebury students as we “clique-up” among the various other students here (students from Holy Cross, Columbia, Pomona, Kenyon, Oberlin, etc.). We make up the majority and so it seems it is easiest to resort to old friends with open arms. Perhaps it is even this way among Americans; we clump-up as we hit the streets of Beijing for food, clothing, etc.
Last night, a clump ventured out to for dinner only to find they couldn’t really order anything in Chinese (Middlebury students study a limited two dishes: MaPo Tofu and KungPao Chicken). And it really was chaos with every student able to speak Mandarin but no one with enough knowledge of what actually to order past drinks. I put in my two cents from years of sitting at Chinese banquets and asked the waitress for recommendations as well but to little avail.
Enter: Chinese Roommates. That should mix things up pretty quick. The ultimate moment of today was meeting the roommate. Lots of pacing and nervous tapping was in store as we waited in anticipation for our roommates to move in. My roommate is named Liu Yang and he is from Beijing. He’s a standup guy who was here last semester. He’s studying Japanese right now but wants to drop it for Spanish. He’s an English major at a nearby university.
Picture of the day is from an early (6AM) escapade out of our compound. I toured around the area finding the morning Tai Chi and ribbon dancing classes (hint for finding them: follow the loud music). I also ate some baozi and a bowl of noodles this morning while snapping a few shots of the early risers in action.