Monday, July 10, 2017

The Forbidden City of Beijing


So this week has been rather eventful.

First things first - I graduated from my masters on Tuesday. It was the first time for me to defend my thesis, so I was nervous as I had no clue what should go down during a thesis defence. One of my supervisors lives in California, so he joined in through a video call, then we had an external evaluator flown in from Denmark and my Chinese supervisor and her assistant. Quite a crowd. 
It went surprisingly well, I got the highest grade (absolutely unexpected) for my thesis on design thinking and leadership. Life's great! Done with school! No more troubles with thesis writing!
Secondly - after two damn years in Beijing, I finally decided it's time to visit the creme de la creme of all the touristy things one can do while in Beijing. Yes, I went to the Forbidden City!

It's undoubtedly one of the most crowded spots in Beijing, so I kept postponing my visit (since I  really dislike huge crowds). My idea of a perfect trip to the Forbidden City included being among the first batch of visitors of the day and having some rain on the same day in order to reduce the number of visitors. Both of my wishes actually realised on my visit on Thursday. 
My impressions: The Forbidden City is massive. It took me two hours to walk through it from the south to north and there are multiple imperial halls along this meridian that are worth paying closer attention to. Not to mention the beautiful royal garden at the end of the palace. There are also the West and the East wings of the palace, which I didn't have the energy or the will to visit on that same day. Next time.
(Now I feel like I need to go back).
I was so impressed with what I saw, that I'd actually watched The Last Emperor on the same night. It's been on my mind for a long time, but I'm glad I watched it right after my trip to the Forbidden City, as all the locations, the massive palaces and halls were still a fresh and vivid memory which I could clearly picture in my mind. I think the combo of the visit and the movie reignited my interest in Chinese history and language, as on Friday I bought two books on Beijing, one of old archived news stories and snippets from the Imperial China on during the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and a memoir called Beijing Bastard about 90's in Beijing.  

Since it had rained right before I arrived, the entire Forbidden City complex was covered in mysterious fog.


To top of my adventure, I headed back home to Estonia on Saturday and as usual - flying over Estonia, I couldn't help to feel amazed by how green and serene my home country looks. Stepping out of the plane and letting my lungs fill with the crisp clear air of Tallinn, while knowing that the entire summer is ahead of me, is probably the best feeling in the world.
I'm constantly amazed at how quiet and clean the streets are, how little people are there on the streets of Tallinn (seriously, are people out for summer vacation or how come it's so quiet?). I went for a run in the forest yesterday and stood for a while just to listen to birds chirping and a woodpecker ferociously working on a tree. I'm so used to shutting myself out of the world while in Beijing (protective measure to decrease stress), that I need to teach myself to be fully present in the moment again. 
I'm not bashing Beijing in any way tho, I still love it to death. I love living in China. It's just a very different life I lead there and I'm glad I can escape it for a bit to recharge.
When you're visiting the Forbidden City for the millionth time


M said...

Palju õnne eduka lõputöö kaitsmise puhul ja Su pildid on hingematvad nagu alati! Tekitavad tõsist huvi Hiinas ringi rännata.

Kriss said...

Aitäh aitäh! Oo ja ma väga soovitan Hiinat väisata, võin ringi näidata vajadusel ja abiks olla :)

M said...

Aitäh nii toreda pakkumise eest! Kui võimalus avaneb, kaalun kindlasti. :)

Michael DeLeon said...

Great stuff. I love the rainy gray feeling and I'm glad you embraced it.

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