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Spring Semester Begins!… with Frozen Ice Sculptures?

March 3rd, 2014 shjin15
Before Spring Semester started, a few students and Chinese roommates from Beijing Janterm and I booked a weekend trip to visit Harbin – one of the coldest cities China. From January to February, the typical temperature ranges from -40 to -4 degrees Fahrenheit! My weekend attire?– A long-sleeve T, a sweater, a hoodie, an ultra-light down jacket, a winter jacket, three pairs of pants, and three pairs of socks. Why endure such low temperatures you ask? Simple: to witness the annual Harbin Ice & Snow Festival!
From the end of December until the end of February, the Ice & Snow festival houses extraordinarily detailed snow and ice sculptures. When the sun sets, the sculptures come to life with colored lights. Despite the bitter cold, my friends have raved about this place, so I knew I had to venture to this northern land. Braved in my extra layers and some heatpacks, we explored this frozen park. It’s like a winter wonderland! If you’ve seen Frozen, the new Disney movie, this is exactly the kind of place that Elsa could’ve built! I’m not sure how the sculptors were able to make art in that below freezing weather, but they sure did a thorough job!
Gooooooooorgeous

Gooooooooorgeous

The cold never bothered me anyway

“The cold never bothered me anyway”

 

Can you spot the frozen Empire State Building?

Can you spot the frozen Empire State Building?

 
Besides visiting this winter wonderland, we also explored Harbin’s most famous landmark – the Church of St. Sophia (great name!), and were able to meet up with some of the students from our January term. It was great to see our old friends again, and some new Spring semester students were able to book last-minute train tickets to join in on the fun as well. I’m sad that the January students have separated, but i’m ready to make some new friends as well.
Although i’m beginning the semester off with a icy cold start, Beijing sure is starting to warm up! We hit 50 degree weather in the past week, and when the pollution level is low, i’ve been getting some good exercise running around the track near our campus. Some of the students have signed up for gym memberships at a local gym, but I know I won’t be able to commit to exercising everyday because some days i’ll be too busy exploring Beijing… or doing Chinese homework. Beijing has so much to offer, and as Spring arrives, the weather will allow us to explore even more wonderful landmarks and outdoor fairs. Bring on Spring!

Me and KeTing (one of the new Spring students!) at the Olympic Stadium

Me and KeTing (one of the new Spring students!) at the Olympic Stadium

Cheers,
Sophia
金羽庭 (Jin YuTing)

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