Super exciting- I celebrated my 19th birthday a few weeks ago! After having 4 听写 during school (a 听写 is a test where the teacher says words and you have to write the character), I was able to spend the night celebrating with my friends. We got dumplings and after we went to karaoke. We had a great time singing some of our favorite songs – one being “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. A fun fact about that song is that band came to Pittsburgh and performed during the Arts Festival a few years ago, and I was there front row! This song will always have a special place in my heart, and now I’m glad I have even more special memories associated with it. Below is Alex, Mia, and I at karaoke.
Perhaps the most exciting part of my birthday was the AMAZING gifts I received – because what’s better than a huge minion stuffed animal!
The next morning I participated in a Model UN conference that Beijing 80 hosted. The conference consisted of two different committees, an English speaking committee on the topic of Climate Change (which I partipcated in) and a Chinese speaking committee on the topic of the use of Chemical Warfare in Syria.
I represented Germany in the conference. This was a fun opportunity because it is about an issue I care so deeply about, and I was able to represent a country who’s viewpoints are very similar to my own! Overall I had a successful experience with MUN, and would like to do it again. Hopefully in college I can participate. Below is a picture of some of us NSLI-Y students, alongside with some of the Chinese high school students after the conference.
Here is a picture of the NSLI-Y students.
This Thanksgiving was unlike any Thanksgiving I have experienced. We had to go to school in the morning, and it felt odd to be in such a different environment than the one we are used to on this holiday. We were all grateful for Simon’s inflatable turkey which helped get us in the spirit.
At noon we were dismissed from class, because we had the unique opportunity to have dinner with American Embassy families. Each of the us were doubled or tripled up and invited to the home of a different family for the night. Here is a picture of us dressed up of Thanksgiving before we dispersed to our different families!
Then, Melinda and I rode the subway and arrived at the home of the family who was hosting us. After arriving at their house, I experienced a bit of reverse culture shock. This was the first house I have been inside in China. The interior reminded me exactly of a house you would find in the states, very different from the apartment style living that I’ve experienced. Seeing the family be together and prepare for the meal was a surreal experience. Pretty soon guests began arriving and it was time for dinner. The entire thing felt so familiar to me, the house, the cooking, saying grace. It was very interesting to think that this lifestyle, one so similar to mine from home, existed in Beijing. It was such a contrast from what I have experienced here on this trip so far.
During dinner I had the chance to get to know the family that hosted us and their guests. After living in the states, the father who worked for the embassy did a tour in Jordan. The family moved their as well. Two years later, they moved to Austria. Now they are in China for the next four years, enough time for both the boys to finish high school. It was so fascinating to hear the perceptive of a teenager my age who lives this lifestyle. I was able to talk to the other guests; one who attended Dickinson College, and another one who graduated from the University of Pittsburgh! We call these crazy coincidences that seem to happen decently often to us in Beijing “simulation glitches.”
Here is a picture of MiaoMiao and I with the children of the family. Overall this was an impactful night, and I loved being able to eat pumpkin pie!
This past weekend I met up with my friend Olivia, who plays on the Dickinson tennis team with my sister. She is studying abroad for a semester at Peking University. It was fun to be able to talk to someone who is having a similar experience studying abroad in China, but who I also have connections with from home!
Finally, here is a selfie of me and my host sister. She is so cute, and always a bundle of joy.
P.S.! My friend Sara made a youtube video about our life here and it captures all the fun moments that make this trip so special. If you have a few minutes, check it out! The name of the video is “NSLI-Y Beijing AY 2018-19: Three Months in the Life.”