I've been predictably terrible at updating this blog! I've had some problems getting pictures to upload because the internet here is so very slow. I'll give it one more try but this might have to be a pictureless blog from now on :(
So I'm currently in my bedroom in the University Hotel, which I share with one other girl. This is a bit annoying sometimes having had my own room since I was about 8 but its better than the Chinese students here. Most are in flags of 6 to a room with no kitchens, the post grads are a bit nicer with only 4 to a room, but there is a problem with the power in their block so they have no electricity or hot water, and this seems to be a fairly permanent arrangement. They all have big flasks that they fill up with boiling water in the canteen. They work very hard and often stay in the library from straight after lectures until bed time. They also have a curfew of 11 o'clock when the halls doors are locked and they can't get in, so they don't really go for nights out ever, but hardly any of them drink anyway.
The campus here is strange, some of it is beautiful with loads of trees and fountains and lit up at night, but all the buildings are just square and grey and concrete so it looks a bit shabby in the bright light. The weather is usually overcast and quite cool, I have to admit my mum was right when she said I wasn't packing enough jumpers. I just bought a Shandong University hoodie for 60 Yuen (£6) and it is lovely and fluffy. I would probably have been ok with what I brought except that there is no smoking ban here so in any bar or club or shop or hall or basically anywhere, people smoke. My best jumper and one of my 2 pairs of jeans stank of smoke after we went to KTV, the karaoke lounge, so I had to take them to the laundry in the international students building and due to the language barrier I have no idea when I'll get them back, hopefully before tomorrow as my new red jeans are rapidly becoming rather dirty, what with having to eat with chopsticks and all... The food here is amazing,I've been out for dinner every night despite being determined to have an evening off. We usually have lunch in the giant uni canteen, and i mean giant. It is the second biggest in Asia and can seat over 5000 students at once! The ground floor sells very cheap and odd looking food that the Chinese students warned us to stay away from. As you go to higher floors the food gets nicer and more expensive. We usually go to the 4th floor and have some sort of fried vegetables, chicken and rice. Tomorrow we will go to visit local families for lunch. I told them i was vegetarian to avoid the awkward issue of not eating anything with bones in it or eyes or fins or internal organs or fish. I have got a lot better while I'm here, I have eaten meat with fat on it most days and even enjoyed some seafood meatballs yesterday! We have Chinese student volunteers assigned to each of us as buddies to guide us and help us out. Mine is an adorable girl called Chen Xinxin, but she said I can call her "little star" as her name sounds like the Chinese word for stars. She is very keen to help and take care of me, sometimes a little too much, to the extent of serving all my food out for me and closing my bag for me when I get my books out. Her English isn't brilliant but good enough to hold a conversation. Our group of 5 students plus our buddies usually go out for dinner but today there is nothing planned so I'm joining another group for some traditional Shandong cuisine, which I'm told will be quite salty.We are meeting at 6 as they eat all meals about an hour or two before we do in England, so I should start getting ready! I'm going to Shanghai this weekend so I'll post again next week probably.