Beijing’s winterscape

Today I woke up to about two to three inches of light, dry snow on the ground.

Icicles by my apartment:

My alleyway looking very clean!

Rental bicycles by the Mudanyuan (木丹园)Subway Station:

The canal by the Mudanyuan Subway Station:

A sidewalk by Ikea:

Can you even tell this is in the city? The snow makes the city look almost rural in parts:

A proper Christmas scene, I’d say:

I think this bush wonders what happened to Spring:

Some weather we’re having!

Last week, fed up with the 110-day drought, the Beijing authorities successfully made it rain using weird, futuristic technology that I will not be able to explain. It was refreshing to have some humidity, and since the temperatures were ranging from the forties to the high fifties, it wasn’t too miserable.

The weather seems to have been a false Spring, however. Yesterday it started snowing in earnest, or at least, as earnestly as Beijing can snow these days. Previously snow lasted for about 20 minutes before the weather got too warm, but yesterday and today it was snowing steadily off and on throughout the day and night. In the morning, the whole city was covered in about an inch of clean, clean popcorn snow, and giant dime-sized flakes were floating down slowly. There are icicles on all the cars and snow patches on all the bicycle seats. It’s actually very pretty out, since the snow disguises the usual pollution and dirt.

It should snow tomorrow, and I hope it does. As much as I loved last week’s tease of spring, and hate having to carefully coordinate layers of socks, long johns, sweaters and such, I do love the romance of a powder-sugared walk to school.

Let it snow!

Today it snowed for the first time this season! It was really light snow, like if you made light fog or mist into snowflakes, but it was really pretty nonetheless. Nothing stuck to the ground, but my coat had little white sparkles all over it by the time I got to school this morning. I’m excited!. It says on Google that it’s snowing right now, but it’s not. I hope there isn’t a rip in the time-space continuum because Google isn’t right.

Apparently Beijing has a few manmade ski hills and some ice skating rinks, so I hope it keeps snowing! I want a white winter!

OH SNAP!

Today I wore longjohns, pants, a sweater, scarf, ear muffs, gloves and a big coat, and still felt a little chilly. Tonight, I found out that the government issued a weather alert for the next few days; it will be ridiculously cold apparently. I also heard rumors of snow. I have mixed feelings about this.

Tis the season?

So winter is officially here, according to the Chinese government and my frozen toes. Right now it is 28 degrees fahrenheit according to Google, but I’d be willing to bet it’s a lot colder with added wind chill. Today we had to usual story of high winds making my place drafty and knocking things around outside the building.

Next week is Thanksgiving, which means that those of you in the states have been listening to Christmas music for a month now. It’s a little weird to go into malls here and still hear upbeat techno covers of the Beatles instead of a six-week-long barrage of Christmas music. Naturally, at first I thought I had the better end of the stick — who doesn’t get sick of Christmas music in October? But now it’s almost Thanksgiving, and with only four weeks until I head home for the holidays, I’m feeling a distinct absence of the Christmas spirit.

Did I just hear Devin throw up?

Anyway, as the temperatures drop, my natural instinct is to begin exuding and enjoying that Christmas spirit. Though I never noticed it much before, people really are generally nicer and happier during the holidays, including myself. Beijing even has many of the indicators of Christmas — the aroma of roasting chestnuts on every street corner, a chill snap to the air, the faint smell of chimney smoke. I’ve even seen a conical-shaped array of lights. But the Christmas spirit just isn’t here. It’s confusing my subconscious, I think.

At any rate, anyone who wants something from China should speak now! I’ll be doing my shopping as soon as midterms are over. Which, for anyone who’s counting, will be approximately during the time I’m supposed to prepare for finals.

Heat-llelujah!

This weekend, the building’s heat got turned on. This is amazing, especially since it’s been getting really, really cold here. In fact, I have been spending most of my time at home snuggled fully dressed in my fuzzy bathrobe, under a comforter and an open sleeping bag. Getting out of bed in the morning was terrible, because the floor is ice, and removing the covers caused instant chattering.

Now, all has changed, and it’s glorious. I can walk on the floors barefoot! I can move about the apartment without four layers on! Showers are much less miserable! Indoors and outdoors are differentiated. Life is wonderful.

There are some caveats. One, I can’t change or turn off the heat, since it’s controlled for the whole building. Two, I just bought a second heavy comforter because of the cold temps, and now it feels like the heating gods are laughing at me.

Colder temps

Last night my dad threatened to make me go to an American hospital in Beijing since my visit to the Chinese clinic wasn’t satisfactory. I guess my germs took note and got scared! This morning my temperature is a balmy 98.5 — my normal temp. Woot!

A Familiar Feeling

When I was growing up, the house of lived in was in a desperate state of disrepair. It leaked in the rain, and windows didn’t seal, so it was quite cold almost all the time. Accordingly, when I was home I was almost always tucked under my blankets with a warm kitten on my lap.

Lately, the weather in Beijing has been cold and foggy, reminding me of San Francisco weather. Last night a sudden, violent rainstorm kicked up, and it’s still very windy here today. My downstairs neighbors’ satellite dish fell off the building and is now hanging by a wire, waving around and banging against the building with every gust. The awning outside my window (formerly above my window) looks like it may also disengage itself from the building without much more prodding from the weather. I hope the air conditioning unit from the apartment upstairs is secured more tightly than my awning and my neighbors’ satellite dish. I don’t want that thing falling through my window.

My house is cold, and I’m already hating the winter weather. The only silver lining is that I potentially get to see things fall off our building and plummet to the ground. Yay for destruction of property!

Whining

Today, for the first time in a while I spent a few hours not doing anything. With Jeff in Hong Kong fixing his visa, I find myself feeling like I have a ton of time on my hands. How does that little rhyme go again? Correlation equals causation? Science kids, help me out. Har har.

Anyway, I had some time on my hands, and rather than doing laundry (current status: not quite out of chones, but choosing outfits is a bit difficult), or studying, I decided to stalk Jeff’s blogs of past days. Yes, I’m that pathetic.

But actually, it made me realize that there are a few things I haven’t been able to do in China that I really loved in my Davis life.

1. Bake bread

2. Bake brownies, cookies and chocolatey things to give to friends

3. Cook really tasty dinners

4. Go to farmers market/pick fruit from Impossible Acres

5. Hang out with Davis peeps in Davis

6. Warm country strolls

7. Warm country bikerides

8. Warm country car rides (sorry environment, I just love that stuffy hot car feeling)

9. Dates that don’t involve public transportation or traffic jams

10. Air that smells nice

Looking over the list, most of these things require a country setting, warm weather and an oven. Dang you China! Apparently my life is also a lot more food-centric than I thought, probably due to a certain tape-worm-toting boyfriend. I guess I’d better get that oven I’ve been coveting. [although baking soda, baking powder and yeast are probably the limiting agents in my baking dreams] I’m going to need an oven to comfort me in the coming months of bitter cold, pollution and hours spent riding public transport. It’s currently 4 p.m. and I am sitting in bed, wearing a sweatshirt, fuzzy bathrobe and blankets. Winter is coming…