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03/12/2013

Adaptation


    One thing I had to learn pretty quickly in China is Adaptation. Things are different here than they’re back home, obviously, and we must acknowledge that.

    For example, the weather/ air in China. Back in the States I never gave the air a second thought; I could walk to my class or run to the store or just sit by the pond and take in the sights. However, in my short time in China I have become hyper aware of the air around me and I’ve found myself asking questions I never did before. “Is the air really polluted today? Should I wear a Mask today? Is that a cloud, a fog, or pollution?”

    Another thing I never experienced before China is really high speed winds. Giant gusts of wind would come through the city. If you weren’t careful, they could easily knock you off your feet. These winds are really dangerous in a big city like Beijing. There are a lot of things that can be torn off building, or things that can fly off cars, or even laundry lines.

     This weekend is a prime example for  all of these cases. Friday the air pollution levels were in the 450’s! To illustrate the severity of the situation, some factories in America are forced to shut down by law if pollution levels reach 100 to 150. We’ve tripled or quadrupled that safety standard. It wasn’t safe for our health to be outside, and friends had to cancel plans to visit the Forbidden City.

    Saturday, started off well, but as we entered late morning conditions worsened. The winds really picked up and we had gale force winds wreak havoc on the metropolitan. As I stared out my window I could see a women be pushed unto the fence from a gust, it was like she had the ball and the wind was a linebacker. I saw tarps flapping feverishly trying to get airborne like the birds who were nowhere to be found. I saw the phone booths and street signs/lights rattle like they were attached to a snake.

    Needless to say, I had to cancel my plans to visit the Forbidden City that day as well. I ended up doing my Sunday ritual instead. I ended up finishing all of my homework. When I looked outside I noticed a giant brown cloud looming over the city ahead of me. My friend tells me it’s horrible. I turn to him and ask why? What’s in that cloud? Sandstorm; I haven’t personally experienced a Sandstorm yet, but I have seen it’s after math.

    While in a new environment, we need to learn to adapt to this weather. Plans will have to change, and you never know until the sun rises. I ended up going to the Forbidden City on Sunday. It was a lovely after noon, and even better since I didn’t have to worry about homework.

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The most amazing thing about Chinese is that it's easy to speak and a bit harder to read and write. In my circle of tutors and learners, I frequently listen the easiest and effective way to learn Chinese is by learning in group.

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