A Travellerspoint blog

Everyday living in Beijing

Routine, routine, routine

semi-overcast -3 °C
View Beijing in 4 months on msarich's travel map.

Everyday, the Zhang family gets up at about 7-8am and shares breakfast together. Right now, just about everyone in China is on holiday so this time is a bit later for them to get up. Typically the Zhangs do not have breakfast together. Ms. Xiao has made something different for breakfast everyday. We have had eggs in one form or another...fried and hard-boiled to today there was a kind of soup with eggs and sweet fermented rice with rice balls. It was good. There is also some kind of bread and I have tea, but the Zhangs have warm milk with honey which they drink out of a bowl. A popular treat we have had has been fermented tofu which is salty and used on the bread as a spread. A little goes a long way here....it is good, but very salty.
After breakfast, Mr.Zhang and I usually talk about the US and differences in economic policies, manufacturing and travel. Mr. Zhang and I have lots in common...photography and travel being two main ones, computers, business and world affairs being some others. I have really enjoyed my conversations with Mr.Zhang and it helps to broaden my perspective of the world and China in particular.
After breakfast, Miles will study. I always ask him what he is studying: Chemistry, math, English....he is studying for the TOEFL exam and even the SAT. Miles will come to the US in September with the Jingshan exchange. I told him that I would try to get him into the PSAT. He said he did not feel ready for the SAT, yet. I keep teaching him SAT-like words all the time: Spontaneous, epicurius, gastronomic. Miles' vocabulary is already really good, he knows cetacean!, that I am embarrassed about my own infantile knowledge of Chinese vocabulary.
After breakfast, I typically try to catch up on my blog. Fortunately, Mr. Zhang works in the wireless division of his company, so we have wireless (Thanks dad for letting me bring the computer!!) in the house. It works ok in my room, but better in the living room. So I sit at a desk and type, upload pics and check on the American students. Ms. Xiao does housework and loves to read the paper in this great sunny spot in the apartment by a huge picture window and Mr. Zhang will do work on his computer. It is a lovely, relaxing time and I feel transported back to the time when I lived with my family and all I had to concentrate on was my homework.
We have been eating out so much and have had plans everyday that it has been hard to settle into a routine. Once school starts, on the 16th, the routine will become common-place. The past two days have been lounging days with an easy, relaxed pace. After dinner, my host parents watch CCTV1 news because this is the best government news and it shows everything they need to know from the day. Yesterday (Thursday 1/29) Ms.Xiao was watching this Chinese tv show that takes place in the 1920s? and even though I have no idea what is going on, I'm interested. I just make up the story line in my head and imagine what the characters are all about. Chinese TV shows last longer than in the US and the commercials are at the hour breaks for about 10 min or so. This show is about 2 hrs long. Ms. Xiao watches it everyday and is hooked. It is like the soap operas in the US where it is on everyday, except it is during primetime.
So my family has been taking very good care of me and Ms. Xiao makes sure I have enough to eat. When I am working at my desk, she brings me and Miles a kiwi each for a snack. The Zhangs have really welcomed me into their home and made me feel at home. Ms.Xiao brings me around the grocery stores and buys stuff that I should try. I do eat everything. and I mean everything. Tonight for dinner, we had noodles and chicken stomach along with bamboo. I am determined not to miss out on anything.

Posted by msarich 17:43 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad

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