The first month in Tianjin

你好! I’m writing this on the 26th of September, a full 24 days since leaving Edinburgh airport... sometimes it feels we’ve been here longer but sometimes it is as if we arrived just last week.

I’m loving China right now! I have enjoyed lots of different foods, started to get used to how busy it is here and the local customs, used different modes of transport to get around - bikes, taxi, bus and metro - and I gradually feel less like a foreigner.

When we arrived we had the Head of the University spoke to us and let us know what was going to happen over the coming few days and off we went to our rooms - my roommate is Colin who I’d already met and made friends with on the CISS 2017 Immersion Course! For the next few days we explored the area, walking into the main centre of the city and getting the metro home each time after doing a little shopping as well as setting up our Chinese bank accounts and phone numbers.

We have been eating so much delicious (好吃 hǎochī) food such as Noodles (⾯面条), Steamed Buns (包⼦子), Dumplings (饺⼦子) and all sorts of other things. Yesterday I accidentally bought some beef that was nearly all bone instead of the beef I have had before and is really good, but we’ve got used to mistakes in translation happening all the time so I didn’t really mind.

We started class (上课) last Monday (16th) and it has been really hard work since day one. My Mandarin level wasn’t as good as I’d hoped it would be coming to China on the scholarship so it’s made class a challenge to begin with but after nearly two weeks I can already see I’m getting better. I even bought the books for the class level below me on top of my normal books to try and remember the basics - even though it has meant I am doing at least 3 hours of study a day after class (One weekday I did over 5)!

I’m not missing home right now but I’m sure at some point I will. I’ve done lots of travelling before coming to China so it has got me familiar with being away from home however I’m sure I will miss being back in Scotland (苏格兰) with my close friends and family, I am certainly missing the chocolate (巧克⼒力力) and biscuits just now!!

Tomorrow after class I’m meeting two teachers from my school back home who live in Tianjin (天 津), 3pm at the Hard Rock Café! We all start a one week holiday on Tuesday too, me and Alexandra are flying to Anhui province to meet her teacher from high school. We have planned already to go hiking up the Yellow Mountains and visit the school she teaches at to see all the students.