This weekend was spent in bed with chills and a high fever. I felt like a zombie and had no energy whatsoever. I have been quite busy going and going and going nonstop since I arrived in China one month ago (crazy, right?! I have already been here for exactly one month!) So, I think this was my body’s way of yelling at me, saying: “Please, self! Give me a break and let me just do nothing and sleeeeeep!” Well, that is precisely what I did…ALL weekend. It was entirely worth it because now I feel like a million bucks. I won’t let that happen again. I am going to be better about scheduling in “do nothing time” for myself. I have a tendency to overload my Gmail calendar with more events and “to-dos” than there are hours in the day. After all, it is true that “busy people have more time.” But yes, balance is important and I am working on that! Running can’t be the only time of day I relax and meditate. Sometimes, I feel guilty when I sit around and do nothing because I can’t help but think to myself “Well, I could be studying, or hanging out with this person, or sightseeing, or exercising, or cleaning, or practicing Chinese, or a trillion other things on my to-do list…” I actually have to physically pencil-in “do nothing” on my calendar. I know, what planet did I come from! Seriously, I don’t think that you can get any more type A than me. Call me crazy, but I fully embrace it and am thankful that I turned out this way. I crave structure. I like discipline. I like knowing where everything is and when everything is happening. I like to backwards plan to ensure that I never ever miss a deadline and get everything done. Guess what? So do all my Chinese classmates! Looks like I am studying in just the right country…
Speaking of my love for discipline and structure, I have been very disciplined with my studies and they are going extremely well. As you can see below, math is off to a great start. Math class was my biggest fear before starting business school because I haven’t taken a math class for SEVEN YEARS…yikes. However, with hard work and discipline, anything can be accomplished. I am pretty good at going to Starbucks, sipping a green tea soymilk latte (I need to break this addiction ASAP…I am too poor right now for this habit) and focusing for 6+ hours at a time on my studies. When I am in the zone, I am REALLY in the zone. I am grateful that I can remain focused despite people shouting, music blasting, bugs swarming around my head, you name it. Thank you, mom and dad, for my “intense focus” genes you must have given me.
This weekend will also consist of extreme focus and nerding-out in the library and/or Starbucks because we already have midterms next week! Time is just flying.
Enough about my studies, there have been many other new and exciting “firsts” this week. Hmm, where do I begin? Well, I was officially measured for my CHINESE MILITARY TRAINING UNIFORM. That’s right. it’s official. I am OFFICIALLY signed up to take part in Chinese military training every Wednesday morning for the rest of the school year. Chinese students here are required to do military training (as I mentioned before, they are trying to make our school more like WestPoint). They hate it. Military training consists of waking up early on Wednesdays (nobody here has class on Wednesday, so for others it’s a “sleep-in day”) and doing drills, chants and marching. So, why in the world did I sign up for military training you ask? I think it will be a good way to bond with my Chinese peers. I think it will also help to break the barriers that exist between the international and Chinese students. The Chinese students will surely honor and respect me for giving up my time and sleep to march with them. The international students have a reputation for excessive partying and not taking their studies quite as seriously as the Chinese students, so I want to show them otherwise! I am excited. I am awake at 5:30am every morning anyways, so I might as well do some marching in a real military uniform that I get to KEEP, yay!
Another highlight from this week was my first Chinese class (picture below!). I have signed up for the highest level (free) Chinese course that is being offered to international students. As I mentioned, it is a nice small class – about 10 students, so we get lots of individual attention and practice. I brought all my Chinese textbooks from college with me in my suitcase thinking that I would have enough motivation to practice myself every night, but that was not the case (oops!) Therefore, I am very appreciative that I have this course to give me that little nudge I need to get motivated.
My third highlight from this week was starring in a promotional video for Peking University. “Starring” might be pushing it…I was more like an “extra”. Peking University HSBC Business school is currently working on a 10th Anniversary video as well as a promotional video that will be published on their website, TV, and various other media. I volunteered to be part of the promotional video because they wanted to show diversity and requested students with “golden hair and blue eyes”…I thought I could help them out with that.
The entire promotional video was more staged than you could ever imagine. Everyone who participated was required to wear an all-black suit (pshh, as if business school students really wear suits everyday when walking to class…yeah right!) The video made it seem that way. The camera crew pointed to various places throughout the business school that they wanted us to stand or walk and they took video after video after video until it was just right. They also had us pretend to be sitting in on a lecture in our black suits so that they could film the “lecture” for the video. Other international students even got to dress up in our future graduation robes so that they could film the graduation portion of the promotional video. I got a lot of good laughs!
Those are my major highlights. A few other exciting tidbits of news:
1) I get my residence permit next week, which means I can finally go to HONG KONG!
2) 2) I am going to Shanghai soon (October 2-6) and staying with my best friend Jeanne.
3) Hamilton College is having an alumni reception in Hong Kong on October 20th in which the Hamilton president and my favorite Chinese professor will be attending. I am excited to get to meet other Hamilton alums nearby.
Anyways, off to bed! On Wednesday, all the first year international students will be going on a field trip to a beach in Shenzhen to do some bonding and ice breaking. This weekend, I also plan on doing some fun excursions as a break from midterm studying (I plan to go to Dafen Oil Painting Village and Splendid China Folk Village – Google them up if you want a preview of what’s to come!)
Hope everyone is doing fabulous!