Harbin–A Chinese Urban Winter Wonderland
For the past month, it has gotten cold…real cold. But! If I look on the brighter side, one cannot truly experience Harbin without bearing through its frigid winter. Harbin is called the “Ice City,” after all. For the past month, my classmates and I have taken a liking to: checking out tea houses to play Mahjong, watching movies (“Life of Pi” “Fists of Fury” “It’s a Wonderful Life” “Rio” whatever is in the activity room’s DvD collection), build snowmen that later turns into a snowball fight, go to massage centers (we were given a cup treatment), try out new restaurants, and enjoy Harbin life with the snow white scenery. And, of course, studying as well as preparing for finals that are next week.
Before I move to Kunming (which is in a week!), I have given myself a new goal: learn how to ice skate! For the past three days, I have taken time between classes to go to the campus rink to practice. I rent a pair of skates for 15块 ($2~) and wobble on the ice for about an hour.
Today, I went ice skating with classmates and Chinese roommates. Though the picture doesn’t show it, I have improved a lot!
Looking Good on the Ice
I have really enjoyed my stay here in Harbin. I feel more prepared for my Fulbright research, have made new friends, and got to experience more of Northern China. Each time I come to this country, I am surprised how much there is to experience and to learn. In these four months, I have gotten acquainted with Harbin city life, experienced Inner Mongolia’s ethnic borders and winters, traveled to beautiful Dalian, learned about Northwestern Chinese modern history, and tasted local cuisine. There are also the small things that have impacted me: daily conversations with my Chinese roommates, long walks around campus (warm and snowy), random conversations around town (on buses, trains, restaurants, street, etc), getting lost around the city but learning something new through the experience.
This has been my time in Harbin…Let’s see where my life leads me when I move to Kunming.
(I also recommend checking out Dare’s blog to see more of what I have been up to.)