This weekend was packed! I spent it in Beijing, but went all over the city. I headed on over the Temple of Heaven for my third time, and this time I actually snapped some photos in front of the temple! Then I went to the Happy Valley theme park with Aili and Will and spent the day riding rollercoasters and eating way too many sweets. I also celebrated my friend Jaye’s birthday this weekend.
She is a student at Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) and we met in Wudaokou one night. Since then she has become one of our good friends. She’s a Chinese native who’s majoring in English!
We also had an opportunity to make our own dumplings (饺子）this weekend! They were delicious and filled with meat and veggies. The staff at our accommodation taught us how to roll out the dough and fold them up, and then they steamed them for us. You can have steamed or pan-fried dumplings but all of ours were steamed. Pan-fried are my personal favorite, but I recommend you try both ways!
The really fun experience this past week was going on a program excursion to 798 Art District in Beijing. It is a neighborhood full of street art, as well as galleries and museums.
We visited a North Korean museum which had artwork depicting North Korea and it’s people, and North Korean propaganda as well. As we were taking photos with the art around the neighborhood, we stumbled upon an exhibit which was just opening. The exhibit is by a foundation called the I Do Foundation (I Do 基金会).
Their foundation supports a school for young people with disabilities in Tibet. The foundation helps support the arts at the school and their mission is about helping students with disabilities find their voice and showing them that they do not have to be limited by their disability. The foundation supplies the school with well-known artists who come to teach the students. The exhibit was a display of the art the students have created, as well as stories about the success of the school.
We even had the chance to meet the students from Tibet, as they were coming for the grand opening of the exhibit later that day. Most of them were deaf, and we didn’t know sign language, but they could understand Mandarin so we wrote that we were visiting students from the United States. They had never met anyone form the United States and were super excited to show us their art. It was really special to meet these children, after looking at their art and seeing how creative they were. I love that the power of art is that of bringing people from all walks of life together.