Xander’s Overseas Log Day 3-5

Entry 004 

Foreign Student Dormitory Zijing
Tsinghua University, Beijing
Day 5 – 5.30 – approx. 11:00 PM

Okay so I skipped a few entries. Time for more backtracking. We had our orientation, where we got our food cards, and access to the internet! Yes! No longer am I isolated in this foreign land and can call Sq! I also got Skype, my first experience with VoIP since Dialpad six years ago. It’s niiiice, and really clear, and most importantly, CHEAP. Sq and I have now chattered—and can vouch for its quality. I’ll call home at some point… lol, such a bad child. But then again, they haven’t called or emailed either so, ha! Fair by me.

About Skype: I recommend everyone to get it, if not for the low rates to any phone worldwide, then for the outstanding PC-to-PC quality (and free!) phone communication. So get yourselves a headset, and head on over to

That said… today, we had our first classes in language and culture. Obviously I’m in the beginners class, which is perfectly fine with me. Learning is fun! I’m in it with a few great people—Cheuk, Frank, Evan, John, Bernice, Allison, Tim… and I think that’s it. Frank and I managed to get ourselves to the top, despite him learning the “wrong kind of Chinese”. Three hours is a little too much for a class though, and I found myself looking often at the clock, with the hour hand moving all too slowly. But then I remembered “Night”… and thought, ‘this is nothing.’

And then to lunch. We had issues ordering food, mostly due to the fact that the menus were all in Chinese, and the number of us that could read was limited. Thankfully, some of the places had pictures, so those who could speak could say things like… “That one—what is it?” and “I’d like that one”. Also, another discovery: Yanjing beer! Now that I am of age (not that it matters here) I have no qualms about enjoying a nice cold Yanjing along with a meal. Frank owes me a few anyway (though that is not a matter of pride). A 610 ml bottle costs 2 RMB—or about 25 cents. Good deal. Tastes like Miller light, except more diluted. Tsingdao next!

Next came the culture class. Now… on THIS, i have a lot to say. I thought it was great. It’s definitely refreshing to hear history and culture from a perspective from the other side of the world. Professor Wong, though with a heavy accent, knew how to talk to us—and her first presentation was both entertaining and educational. It was mostly an introduction to the city, including a warning about traveling on bikes. “The Chinese understand the flow of traffic, but you are foreigners you don’t know it yet”. (it sounded better when she said it). She also warned us not to get “drunk”… lol—of course not. She explained the geography and political condition of the nation, and had some amusing things to say about China-Taiwan relations and other conflicts, including North Korea, and the increasing militarization of the region. “This little place, is Taiwan”; “America is playing a very dubious role—speaking with a forked tongue”.

You can tell that the perspective of history is different when you are a part of a history lasting thousands of years. Recent history loses its meaning, and culture, tradition, and the idea of time itself is changed. A hundred years means very little, and even when thinking of the beginning of the 20 th  century, it feels as if its current history. That said, Professor Wong and China in general seems to have a healthy idea regarding the clash of the old and new. Recognizing the flaws of the old China and current China was crucial. I wondered how much of that was indirectly a result of revolutions in China. In Korea, I feel there is a severe disconnect between what is “real” and what is “ideal” for the country. This I attribute to the 20 th century leaving the country in shambles—the people feel that there is more potential than what there is. While this forward thinking contributes to nation’s pride, but it leaves people losing touch with the real problems of the nation.

Professor Wong with our TA and Guide, Jeff

…anyway. So it’s true, we’re not growing up in a peaceful world… not exactly tragic though, we have a different kind of peace now. A peace brought on by awareness between peoples. HAH, that’s my idealism still here!

Oh man… I miss home—I miss people back home. But I don’t wish I could be back home as much as I wish people at home could be here. Sq would be educated well… so would everyone else, I think. There’s a lot to know that’s hard to get without immersing yourself in this kind of modern culture.

Chinese Islamic restaurant, and Tsingdao.

Our nights for the first two nights were generally confined to on campus stuff. And I’ve been eating a TON. Monday night (I think?) we went out to this nearby Islamic Chinese restaurant. They had GREAT food that just kept on coming… and once again, all for under $3. Gaining weight without a doubt (yes!), Sq would be proud. I think I’m getting a little sick though; hopefully it’ll pass. Bowling tonight, I was tired, but I went anyway with good spirits. Scored 111. Expensive though, it cost as much as it does at the Union.

And that is all.