I’m in Beijing, have registered for classes at Beida, and will be taking a placement test on Friday. I’m not really sure about this test; Beida has some kind of weird system for its classes’ proficiency levels which doesn’t correspond at all to the standard set by the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (Chinese Language Proficiency Exam); if they were using the HSK standard, I’d be High Intermediate, but judging by Beida’s textbooks, I’m going to be Advanced, or maybe, like, Super Advanced.
My apartment, in the Haidian district, is super-nice; it’s near Liudaokou, is about 10 or 15 minutes’ bike ride away from the Beida campus, and is a block and a half away from a Pricemart. Someone watching me getting groceries today would have seen me reduced to a state of catalepsis by the variety of products that were unavailable in Harbin: Bacon! Olive oil! Cadbury’s Drinking Chocolate! Cheeses – for what a friend we have in cheeses – in the Gouda, Cheddar, Blue, and Philadelphia Cream varieties!
Yessir, I think I’m going to like it here.
Here’s what I really like about Beijing most of all:
That I went to a Sichuan restaurant near my house and ordered food and drink, and was treated no differently from any other customer.
That when I’m out with my girlfriend, and am trying to buy or say something, I don’t get ignored in favour of her.
That yesterday, I biked to my university, registered, and then went out and walked around – and went unnoticed.
That today, I walked around and nobody cared.
That as I go around this city, I am one of many, and that nobody gives a flying fuck.