Is that… chicken?


marketSo this first post concerns nothing particularly earth-shattering, but it describes the first Beijing adventure of two clearly Western freshmen girls (who speak absolutely no Mandarin, mind you).

Scene 1: Haley Adams and I wake up, already eating almonds and searching for something else to satisfy our breakfast cravings. We pile on trillions of layers and start preparing for the adventure.

Scene 2: We step out into the brisk cold air and the settled smog of China’s capital, mumble something about face-warmers, compliment the porcelain beauty of Chinese women, and step inside of 7-Eleven (how very tourist-y of us).

Scene 3: We must’ve seemed endearingly lost as we took at least 10 laps around the convenience store trying to find something that seemed somewhat edible. I am Brazilian and therefore used to lesser standards of food quality, but keep kosher, so it’s not that easy. Haley is our all-American girl, so she’s also not too excited about packaged meat and non-refrigerated yogurts and milk. We leave empty-handed apart from grooming supplies.

Scene 4: We find a pseudo-French bakery and almost squeal with the prospect of food. I am startled to find myself listening to Brazilian music in a French bakery in Beijing, China (oh, globalization!). Haley buys water; I buy this concoction of sweet bread with red beans and nuts. We then head out.

Scene 5: We see cereal in the front window of a mall, run inside, and find ourselves in front of a supermarket: Success! As we waltz around the aisles and realize that we still have no idea of what we’ll eat, we decide on some basic essentials such as bananas, cereal, vanilla milk, rye bread, and what seemed to be Ritz crackers. Before our choice selection, however, we found ourselves facing a tank filled with crabs and fish (all alive), and half-joke about the “fresh catch” in Beijing (and steer clear from the tank). There was an import section that seemed promising but really had nothing apart from what looked like good wine.

Scene 6: Time to pay. The bananas had no price on them, and for five minutes we struggled as the cashier attempted to show that we had to weigh them and us not understanding a single word (ni hao is the extent of our vocabulary), until some blessed soul approached us and explained in English what we were supposed to do. We pay. No plastic bags are handed, he tries to charge us for one bag, we don’t understand exactly how much it costs as we hand him 1 RMB, we end up stuffing our oversized winter jackets’ pockets with our food and walk back to our hotel. High-fives are in order; we made it through with our very first Chinese shopping trip.

Jéssica Leão



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Welcome to Beijing, and the YIRA (Yale Int’l Relations Assoc.) China 2012 Trip!

Welcome to Beijing, Yale delegates of the China 2012 YIRA Trip! Congratulations on all of your hard work, and on making it to Beijing, the second-largest Chinese city by urban population, and China’s national capital. As the nation’s political, cultural, and educational center, Beijing will serve as the perfect geographic context in which we will study the nearly four-decade-old one-child policy. But, as the aptly named title of our blog reminds us, “er ting wei xu, yan jian wei shi,” or in English, “What you hear might be false, but what you see is true.” In the past year, stories concerning the one-child policy have exploded in global journalism, leading to controversy over the necessity and ramifications of the policy. While the true force of this economic and demographic crisis, and more importantly, the personal effects on the Chinese family are obscured in press coverage, you will be delving into a two-week-long series of seminar-style discussions, presentations, and tours to think critically on this issue. On top of it all, we will be immersing ourselves in one of the most quickly expanding cities in the world, the reconstruction of which mirrors the reconstruction of China on a grander scale.

Again, welcome to China, and welcome to our blog, readers!

Li Boynton


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Welcome to our blog, where you can follow our trip as we blog about our speakers, guests, presentations, photo- and documentary journalism!  Check back for daily updates starting Dec. 28 until Jan. 11.

Jack Linshi


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