Autumn Has Arrived

The AQI of Beijing was incredibly low once again today so I decided to go out and take photos with my DSLR camera on campus. More specifically, the lake. To me, it’s more like a large pond. But anyway, it was looking good on this great day. The wind was blowing and it was a bit chilly, so I think that deterred some people from coming outside. Which means less people walking into my photos. Here they are:

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Can anybody guess the practical function of that stone fish in the center of the frame? Leave your guess in the comment section!

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With all of this wind and the chillier air that we have for more than a few days, I figure that autumn has arrived. In California, we don’t really have cold weather for very long. As soon as it gets cold, it warms right back up. This winter in Beijing is going to be quite different for me.

You can find 2 more photos from this day on a photo challenge post of mine.

Bible Verse of the Day:
I know the lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
Psalms 16:8 NLT
Source: Bible.com

高丹玉

I think I joined a softball team?

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My lunch: chicken, rice, bok choi, and a fried egg. A flat price of 9 RMB (~$1.50).

I had four hours of class today; 2 hours of Chinese language learning and 2 hours of Chinese Folklore and Culture. After class, I decided no to go straight to lunch because that is what everybody does at 12:00 and it can become incredibly crowded at the cafeteria. So, in the meantime I decided to walk around campus because it is a nice day. It’s a bit windy, but here in China, winds coming from the North blow a lot of the smog away. The AQI today was lower than 50 (as low as 21!), so generally a really great day. I walked around campus, took some pictures with my phone, and checked if any people were playing soccer on the soccer fields I know of. There were more people playing basketball than soccer. 12:30 pm came along and I went to the cafeteria. Sure enough, not as many people. There were still a good amount of students there, but I did not struggle to find a seat.

While returning to my room after lunch, I decided I was going to go out and try to join a pick-up game of soccer. No exceptions. I had to at least try and ask somebody if I could participate. I had to or else I would spend 10 hours during the whole afternoon and evening on my computer. After the decision, I changed into appropriate sporting attire, got some water and headed to campus on my bicycle. I arrive and I stand right outside of the entrance of these two small soccer fields. All of the sports fields I have encountered in China have been astro-turf, aka not real grass, and these Peking University’s fields were no exception. Both fields were being used. One field had 6 people, so I figured they did not need an additional player. The other field had 13; perfect! I could even up the teams. I stood there on the opposite side of the chain link fence for 5 minutes, trying to time when I was going to ask somebody if I could play. I didn’t want to ask when the ball was too close to the goal that I was near and I also didn’t want too many people to hear me. The time to ask finally came.

“我可以参加吗?” (Can I participate?) I said to the goalie. He yelled at somebody across the field, asking if I could. The other guy shouted back some answer.

“_______, 不好意思. 对不起.” (Something that I could not fully understand but he was talking about a team. I am sorry. I am sorry.)

I did not play soccer today.

After I was rejected, I ran around the track 2 times before I remembered that there was another pair of soccer fields on campus. I packed up my things and rode my bike there.

Baseball! Correction; Softball! Yet another correction; Slow pitch softball!

I saw soccer on the other pitch, but when I saw softball, my decision was made. I parked my bike and stood outside of the chain link surrounded fields once again. I was standing by the home plate area. There were a lot of people on the field. Who was I going to ask? My second chance arrived.

“我可以参加吗”? I said. I hoped it was the last time.

“可以啊” she replied. Yes! I was in. I walked around in order enter the field. Two girls approached me, including the one I originally asked. We spoke half Chinese and English. Both of them were perfectly capable of speaking English with me but I just wanted to practice my Chinese. A few other people came over while I briefly introduced myself and they told me things I needed to know about their group and such. At some point, I was going to go to another team, because I told them I was in a certain department, but as soon as I said I had played on the diamond for 6 years, they were happy and did not want to lose me to a different team. One thing lead to another and ended up on first base with a glove on my hand. It is where I belong, really. After a little while, I headed over to home plate and tried batting, which I knew was going to a bit different since I have only played fast pitch. I hit a few balls here and there, but I will still need to work on figuring out what is and is not a strike. More time passed by, and a guy on the team asked me if I wanted to play in a game against the medical department team.

“什么时候?” (When?) I asked.

“现在.” (Now.) He replied. I figured I had no where to go so I agreed to join. The assigned me to first base and the 8th batter position.

4.picDuring the game, I fielded well and batted alright. I was having trouble swinging all the way through, which has always been a problem for me. So my hits did not go very far. I got on base every time I was up to bat except once, when I was thrown out at first base. I never scored at home plate, for I was always on base when the third out occurred.

We played until past 5 pm. After it was all over and wrapped up, I was invited to come eat with some of them. My choices at that point were to either go with them or eat by myself at the cafeteria. I chose them of course. We all rode our bikes to the west side of campus (we were playing on the east), and ate at a non-crowded second floor restaurant. Many topics were discussed, including my interest in buying a set of team jersey, hat, and pants. It will cost a little more than 300 RMB (~$50). I told them I would think about it. I currently still deciding. They also invited me to come play with them this Sunday at 12 pm at what they call Freshman Cup. You apparently do not have to be a college freshman to play, just a newcomer to the team.

I have a selection to make. The first option is to go to this Freshman Cup at 12. The other option is to go to church at 11 am and frisbee at 4 pm, just like my past Sundays have been. I want to go to church and especially frisbee because there are only so many weekends left were it will not be too cold to play, but the same is true for baseball. I make my decision on the point of why I came to China: to learn more Chinese and to bond with Chinese people. There aren’t too many Chinese people at church and frisbee. And besides, I think this Freshman Cup is just a one day event. I don’t think it will carry on to the next few Sundays.

Overall, today did not go how I had expected. I prepared to play soccer, but played softball instead. I am not saying softball is better than baseball, but I was certainly glad when my hand was put in a glove.

Origami I made today in my Chinese folklore class.

Origami I made today in my Chinese folklore class.

Song of the Day:
Stuntman by DANakaDAN

Bible Verse of the Day:
Taste and see that the lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Psalms 34:8
Source: Bible.com

高丹玉

Dry Eyes and Game Night

First day back to class from a week long break and my eyes feel like they have had no rest for 2 days. I figure it is either all of the time I spend looking at a computer screen or today’s windy and dry weather. Probably a combination of both. So, during all four hours of class today, my eyes were quite uncomfortable.

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A classmate of mine invited me to join a board game night with him and his friends at a local cafe. I was told there was majiang and some sort of automated majiang tables, so I was definitely in to go. There was a fee of 25 RMB (人民币) to enter the cafe, but with that price you get unlimited drinks and ice cream. When I arrived, I got a little bowl of chocolate ice cream. It was okay tasting. It was far from being the best chocolate ice cream in the world. I was the second to arrive, while the first was my classmate. We ate our ice cream and set up a game called Catan while we waited for others to arrive. This game is apparently German, but the specific set my classmate has is all in Chinese, which means the instructions and all of the card details were in details. But that was actually no problem for me because my classmate as well as all of his friends knew how to play so they shared their knowledge of the game with me. This process took about 30 minutes. The game is quite extensive and has quite a lot of components. Not my favorite game but it wasn’t horrible, and they really like it so it was completely fine by me. I drank a hot chocolate part way through the game. The game took about an hour and a half to play, which I privately was not too happy with. It was past 9:30 pm when the somebody won (not me but I was just happy it was over) and I mainly came to this game night to play majiang. So I stayed out a tiny bit later than I originally wanted and I did not get to play majiang :/ Also, my eyes did not feel good, as previously explained. I think I will return to this game night, but maybe not every Thursday.

Bible Verse of the Day:
Trust in the lord always,for the lord god is the eternal Rock.
Isaiah 26:4 NLT
Source: Bible.com

It’s getting late here, and of course my eyes feel like resting, so I suppose I should do just that. Goodnight!

高丹玉

Is a Crab a Pet?

I woke up this morning at 7:20 (I don’t have class until 1 pm today), and walked toward the window of my room to open the curtain in order to let light in. As soon as I did, I noticed that the trees in view were moving and waving at me. I noticed that there were no gray skies and I could see farther off buildings. Overnight wind has cleared the smog! Right then and there I sent a quick thank you prayer to God, including that I did not want to wear a mask for a week straight. I don’t have to now (for the time being)! The AQI for Beijing right now is 27! So low! I should really go out an exercise.

As I write this post, I gq.pico to the window, and I look down at the little park and fountain area that is within the apartment community. A lot of parents and grandparents take their little children there to play around and such. There are usually a few strollers parked on the sidewalks and the children are attempting to play in the water of the fountain. I have seen some strange stuff at this area, looking down from my 5th story room. I have seen kids pee in the water. Parents prefer to allow them to do that than take them to a bathroom or change a diaper. But today, looking down, I see a child chasing something. I look closer and I see that it is a crab. Its body is about the size of my fist, with it legs trying to escape the people’s harassment. The child is following it closely while stomping. The crab makes it to the edge of the grass, stops there, and the grandmother (I assume) approaches it, holding a 2 foot long black rope. While the crab is not facing her, she takes on of its legs to pull it closer. She ties the rope around the crab, and hands the other end to the child. He starts to walk to the fountain, which is no more than 5 feet away. The crab is dragged along the ground, somewhat roughly, and thrown into the water. It was quite a sight. I have no idea if the crab is in actual pet, or they are enjoying its company before they cook it up for dinner tonight. I have a feeling it is the latter, not the former. I know for a fact it is not originally coming from the fountain/pond area, for there is not enough food to support it and I would have seen more crabs at other times. This has been a mildly interesting way to start my day. I may ask some of my Chinese friends to see how the feel on the topics of crabs as pets or play things.

Song of the Day:
솔즤하게 M.U.P. by iKON
This is a very new KPOP group, under YG Entertainment. This song is off of their first, and currently, their only album.

I have 3 hours until class starts, so I better collect myself and prepare for the day. Talk to you all soon!

高丹玉

Origami Club

I am about to depart my dorm’s lounge and attend UCR Origami Club 🙂 Origami Club has weekly meetings which are Tuesdays at 7:10pm.
I really enjoy Origami Club. It is a great group of people and we always laugh. It is 2 wonderful hours of origami and laughter. Hopefully Peking University has an Origami Club of some sort that I can join.
Today’s theme is fantasy. I am expecting to see a dragon and a unicorn being some options.
After Origami Club, I am going to the library to meet up with a classmate to complete our Chinese speaking homework. The two of us also need to discuss what are are doing for our final presentation in the class.

An update!
There were no dragons or unicorns prancing around in yesterday’s Origami Club meeting. I folded a heart with wings and vampire teeth. I’m not sure if either of those models are worth memorizing, maybe the teeth. Maybe. During the meeting, I was watching several different KPOP music videos with Ben, the current President, and Diane, the current secretary. And once again, lots of laughter in those two hours.
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Quidditch Tournament

The day started early at 7 AM in order to prep the field. Tye, our president, was painting the pitches last night, so we didn’t have to do that this morning. We had to set up the snack bar table, e-z ups, hoops, cones. Volunteers also had to be organized. From what I have gathered, there are 6 referees on a pitch at a time.

In our first game, we played against Arizona State University (ASU). ASU is known to be quite aggressive, so I was a bit apprehensive about being on the field. The word about ASU turned out to be true, and we lost that game. Sadly, one of the best players on our team, Stephen, sprained his knee in the first 5 minutes. He didn’t play throughout the rest of the day.

Our second game was against the Long Beach Funky Quaffles (cool name, eh?). We won that game! It was a good feeling for the team, being our first win for the season.

We played against the Santa Barbara Blacktips in the third game, and with them being one of the best teams at this particular tournament, we losed.
This next fourth game was the first game of bracket, meaning if a team losed this fourth game, it would be their last, putting them out of the tournament. Teams participating in this tournament were also guaranteed 4 games to play.

Our first bracket game was against University of Southern California (USC). We were tied throughout much of this game, but eventually our seeker, Jerome, caught the snitch and we won! We got to move on in the brackets and we put USC out of the tournament.

Unfortunately, we did not win our fifth game (2nd bracket game). We were put up against the Blacktips again. We did try our hardest but we still did lose.
At the end of Riverside Quidditch’s (my team) tournament participation, USC went on. I had to leave right after our last game, but I was later informed that the Lost Boys won first place in the tournament.

Overall it was a nicely planned tournament by our team president, Tye, and it was an enjoyable first quidditch tournament for me. I learned a lot about how quidditch games work and how clear communication goes a long way.
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Not very exciting pictures, as I was mainly focused on quidditch rather than photography.

November 6’s Peaceful Photography

As I have promised, here are the photos from November 6.

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“Loud”

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“Probability of Purchase”

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IMG_6761This somewhat spontaneous photoshoot was a very peaceful one. After my one and only Thursday class, which is a lecture, I wandered around a few different places on campus, chose a spot to sit, and click, click, click. Whether I was sitting on a bench or on the floor, I felt calm yet still engaged with my surroundings. Not only was my mind occupied with photo set-up, I was also thinking about the passersby’s stories, which lead me to naming some of the photos I captured.

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“White Rabbit”

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“The Observer”

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“Wait for…”


And for current events, nothing much has been going on. I did not have school yesterday, in observance of Veterans’ Day. In substitution of attending class, I went to my parents’ workplace.

The first highlight of that day was that my paternal uncle told me some stories about his and my father’s father in World War II (fitting for Veterans’ Day). I had never heard those stories before. Stories that give to me a new perspective of my grandfather.

The second highlight was witnessing my uncle’s tarantula shedding her skin. Agreeing with my uncle, it is truly amazing on how tarantulas do this. They flip over on their backs, and go into a coma-like state, being completely unaware of their surroundings. This process is the most vulnerable state of a spider because they are completely defenseless. Taking an average of three hours, they practically maneuver out of their own outer body. They leave behind their lungs, fangs, esophagus, legs, and other body parts. They come out of the process looking translucent and soft or not strong, similar to how a butterfly is when it has just emerged from its cocoon. I did not get to observe the very end of the rose-hair tarantula’s molting, but I did get to see most of it. She had already shed half of her legs, pedipalps, and head.

The beginning of the molt process.

The beginning of the molt process.

The legs that are sprawled up in the air are her shedded legs, while the more bottom part is her actual body.

The legs that are sprawled up in the air are her shedded legs, while the more bottom part is her actual body.

Overall, my Veterans’ Day was enjoyable. I did help out my dad a tiny bit, and I also got a bit of work done on some English homework.


I made another dragon in the library, but instead of leaving it, I plan on giving it to my father. He asked for six. Six. "Why?" I asked. "I don't know," he responded.

I made another dragon in the library, but instead of leaving it, I plan on giving it to my father. He asked for six. Six. “Why?” I asked. “I don’t know,” he responded.