beijing photo diary. part 3.
The Circular Mound Altar at the Temple of Heaven | Uncharacteristically Beijing on the walk from Tiananmen Square to Wangfujing | Like something out of a movie at the Summer Palace | Not fitting the mould of the ideal girl at 798 Art District | It's no beach, but at least Peking University has a lake | The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests | Blue skies at Tiananmen Square | Made a beary good friend at the Beijing Zoo | Mulan successfully saving China. Mission accomplished.
It's been two weeks since I've returned from the land of cheap oily street food, hot sticky days, a functioning public transport system, dumplings, bikes, squat toilets and the like, and I'm still yearning for the exchange student life which now seems like a distant memory. I didn't think I'd like Beijing as much as I did and I could definitely have stayed there for a month or two more (the lower cost of living is a huge bonus) if I didn't miss my family, friends, healthy clean food and a stable income. It's a little disappointing how quickly you can lose your language groove when you're back in an English speaking country without that constant contact to the language and the culture. I actually miss speaking in Mandarin and I've almost slipped up a few times when ordering food or speaking to sales assistants.
It's been a real eye-opening experience, helping me reconnect with my roots/ the true motherland and sparked my interest in continuing to learn the language. I have plans to go back next year for a more intensive Summer program (ours was a little cushy - we didn't even get marks for our final exams). I found a side of myself that would never have come out in Sydney, I realised how fulfilling travelling solo can be, although not completely safe, and that I can look after myself just fine. It's all I had hoped for in this trip and so much more. I'll be back for you China. Hopefully next year with a slightly less Australian accent and a larger word bank.