Whew, it’s been a busy week so far! Our professor, Kevin Miller, has planned out things for us every day almost! The first site we visit was the Tibetan Dalai Lama temple nearby. We learned how to take the subway for the first time! Eejain and Han, two GSIs for the course, got us the blue subway cards the day before. So, when we arrived, we learned we had to scan the card when we got the subway station and when we left. There was also a security check as we got in. After 30 minute subway ride, we arrived there. There were a lot of temples and areas of worship both inside temples and before temples. The places had cushions so people could kneel. As we entered, we received bundles of complimentary incense. At each location, it was customary to burn three sticks of incense and bowed three times that represented a wish with each bow.
There were many bodhisattvas statues there. One of which was three stories high and had the record for being made of one tree. After leaving the temple, also titled Yong He Gong, we went off to lunch. We had the best dumplings near campus, according to Han. They were delicious. That night, BNU students visited us. My BNU student, Yoko, was extremely nice and we talked for a bit, promising to meet up later!
The next big location we went to was the Forbidden City! It was so beautiful and so many rooms! Kai, another professor told us that the number of dragons represented how important the building was. My roommate, Emily, and I walked towards the back where it seemed to be the imperial garden. We found a smiling dragon, which was the highlight of our day.
Unfortunately, we had to leave soon after due to time. Our GSIs took us to lunch at this nice location near the campus. Many people had vermicelli noodles for the first time with a brown sauce. As usual, it was delicious!