It took me longer to get here to post than I expected (but in this case it's a good thing since I am loving Beijing!). Hopefully now that I'm more settled, these posts will become more common but until than, here is a rushed overview of my life here:
It took some time to adjust to the fact that I was moving to the other side of the world, but I had a 13 hour plane ride for it to settle in. I came here with two suitcases and a carry-on bag. I'm actually surprised that (for the most part) I brought everything I needed with me. Of course, I didn't anticipate that China apparently didn't believe in shredded cheese (except at the international store that takes 45 minutes to get to and sells it for a ridiculous price).
My school (which is amazing, by the way!) has someone help me find a place and within a week, I was moved into my awesome studio apartment! To make it feel more like home, I brought my cork-board map of the world which was awesome that I could add a pin for Beijing. The highlight of the wall is my "Barnum & Bailey" poster that my steller mom found for me! I now live a 15 minute walk (or 5 minute on a bike) from the school in Haidian District (north of The Forbidden City).
Half a block away from my apartment is this stunning running path that I've figured goes about 3-4 miles. Weirdly enough, if I need a steak knife (which I haven't needed one yet), I'd need to buy one from a guy along the river. As sketchy as that sounds, it is completely normal here since knives are impossible to find! The picture on the right is the entrance to my local grocery store where I can get pretty much anything I need for the day-to-day. I also live a couple blocks from a "Wu Mart" which is literally the Chinese version of Walmart!
Part of what made this transition so easy was that I immediately made friends with other expats! Now I've got friends from the east coast of America, Canada, Australia, England and The Philippines. This is Alexis, we literally see each other every day and occasionally drink wine that "Isn't terrible... but not good." since we have no idea what makes wine good or not. Our current Chinese wine is called "Tall Horse" and has an image of a giraffe on the bottle.
What is super cool is that I live a 30 minute walk from the Olympic National Park from the 2008 Olympics! I can see the Nest Stadium and everything from a walk!
This isn't even close to all of the stories I have but this post will get WAY too long if I tell them all. The image above is from when I walked through the Forbidden City. When I took the picture, I was literally standing at the center of Beijing City (there was a plaque and everything for it). I could tell you about how weird it is that people ask to get pictures with me because of my hair or how my students from Thailand and Nigeria asked me if I was related to Ed Sheeran. I could tell you a million other ridiculous stories but for those, please check out my Instagram @hannahsouers. I am the only person using the hashtag: #gingerinbeijing