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Journals from China-Studies Institute, Beijing

2011-09-05 Living Arrangements

Our “dorm” is the Shao Yuan building number 5, and it is actually a hotel. Our view consists of a pagoda and a lake, which we can get to easily using a slightly hidden path that leads around a wall with a locked gate. It’s seriously just a wall with a gate beside some bushes, and within those bushes are a few stepping stones that lead to the perfect place to meditate (given you have adequate bug spray—I’m sporting 12 mosquito bites, all attained in 2 days). When you go through our door, which reads 403, there is a hallway. On the right side of the hallway is a bathroom that comes with hotel toiletries; three combs, three toothbrushes, three shampoos, three bars of soap and three bottles of body wash. I happen to love collecting these whenever I travel, but I won’t do it every day because imagine how it would look to return home with a bag full of three and a half months of hotel things. At the end of the main hallway is what used to be a single room, and to the right of the hallway is what used to be a double room.

My roommate Brianne got here first, and she fell asleep in the single because she had to drag her suitcases across campus on move-in day. I asked her if she would be okay turning the single into a lounge, and moving all 3 beds into the double, and she agreed. When Amber, our third roommate, got here (it’s a triple, if you haven’t guessed from the three beds and the toiletries that come in threes), she agreed and we got to work. We rearranged our entire dorm like the superheroes that we are, and had to borrow the vacuum cleaner several times because the underneath of all the beds, the chairs, and all the other furniture had garbage that was practically historical relics. There was a shoe under one of the beds. Our beds are low—I don’t even know how a shoe fit down there.

Anyway, our room is awesome now. We’ve posted up a map of Beijing and our orientation schedule on a wall in the lounge, and we’ve stocked the fridge with some food.

In addition to a fridge, beds, desks and chairs, our dorm (or perhaps I should call it a hotel room, or an apartment) came with an electric fan, bug repellent that you plug in somehow (I’ll let my roommates fix it up since they knew what it was and I thought it was an air purifier), a cabinet with glass windows on the doors, and some lamps. Oh, there are heaters in all the rooms (including the bathroom), but only air-conditioning in the double. Also, the outlets here are three-prong, which is incredibly convenient for my laptop. There’s wifi set up too! Yay! If there weren’t, we would have to sign up for an account and pay a monthly fee while sharing an Ethernet cable. I don’t even really understand what that is—it sounds like an item in an RPG game, like Golden Sun or something on the PS3.


Rachel Go

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