I lived in Beijing for 8 years before I moved back to the States for college, so I know what the Internet situation is like in Beijing. Or so I thought!! When I went back to Beijing over winter break, the Internet situation was worse than I remembered. The VPNs that I used to use weren’t working, but luckily, my family had recommendations. However, the Internet connection was so weak that I couldn’t even connect to the VPNs! Forget about trying to access social media; I couldn’t even access websites that weren’t blocked by the government! Luckily WordPress wasn’t blocked, which I was surprised by. Hopefully when I go back this summer I’ll still be able to access WordPress.
Somehow I survived winter break in Beijing, with much thanks to Sheena and Ray, who I hung out with almost every day. We didn’t have the Internet to distract us, so all of us were going a bit stir-crazy, and it’s not like it’s nice to be outside in Beijing due to the pollution. What a wonderful opportunity to unplug! you might say. Well, to a certain extent, yes. But there was also legit online stuff that I had to get done that I couldn’t get done, which stressed me out. Imagine not being able to check Gmail because Google is blocked…
So I’m creating a list of things that I can do whilst in Beijing as I will be spending the rest of my summer break there, and unfortunately, this time without Sheena and Ray to keep me sane. It’s more of a summer to-do list than a summer bucket list. Actually it’s more of a summer suggestion list than a summer to-do list.
Brainstorm topics for senior thesis (theses??) // I’m double majoring in computer science and linguistics. I have the option to do a joint thesis which is what I was hoping to do because two theses sounds like a lot of work. But it might actually be easier to write two theses. So I need to figure out whether I want to write one joint thesis or two individual theses, and then I need to figure out what topic or topics they will be on.
Brainstorm/plan life… // If you read my blog post about my first tech interview and my subsequent insecurities, you’ll know that there’s a lot I’m trying to figure out. Where do my skills lie? Where does my passion lie? Where do they intersect?
Practice coding, building websites // I spent last summer designing and developing websites, but they were all very basic websites. Since I don’t have any real plans for this summer (like a job or internship), I’m going to focus on improving my website development skills to build more robust and more functional websites. Maybe I’ll venture into creating Tumblr or WordPress themes. But I’m also going to have to practice “real” programming. But also this might be hard because Lynda.com is blocked in Beijing and I can’t Google either. *Bing pull through*
Have everything ready to go for a club I’m relaunching // I don’t want to get into it yet because it’s in the very early stages and I need to get applications approved from the actual organisation before I start thinking about the campus chapter.
Plan winter break trip // I have some exciting plans with high school friends that are currently hypothetical but hopefully we’ll make it a reality!
Take photos, videos // Of what? Who knows!
Write/plan blog posts // Usually I would expect my blog activity to increase over summer break (as in, my own activity, not like, my audience’s) because I don’t have school to worry about and thus I would have more time to spend blogging, but we’ll see how the Internet situation is in Beijing…
Read // I’ll shoot for 1-2 books per week??
Draw, calligraphy // I used to doodle mindlessly all the time, but I stopped doing it some time a long time ago. Now when I try to doodle, I can’t even think of anything, which is so weird. I just end up doodling the same few figures I remember I used to always doodle. Doodling would be a good creativity exercise.
Sing (classical) // I’ve missed singing classical pieces. I used to do some of it in choir. My mom would always help me out the few times I actually practised. Maybe she’ll be able to help me out this summer.
Duolingo // I’ve tried French a few times. I’ll keep it up for awhile but then I’ll inevitably stop, and then next time I decide to do it again, I start from the beginning. So I’m perpetually at the beginner level haha. I also want to practise ASL, but I’ll have to do that on my own because ASL isn’t offered on Duolingo.
Clean out my room // The first time I went home after going to college, I found my room exactly how I had left it, but with a few added things as my youngest brother took over my room. He didn’t throw out any of my things though. He just added on top of it. The room is a mess.
Bake // My brothers enjoy baking too, so it’s a fun bonding activity. We bake much more than we eat. My mom is always trying to get rid of the baked goods we make because she knows we just enjoy the process. But my brothers only like baking things from mixes.
Hang out with siblings // Maybe?? All I know that they do in their leisure time is that they play video games, which I don’t know how to do. Maybe I’ll get them to teach me a few this summer. But also that’s what I said last winter break and it never happened. Not that they didn’t try to teach me. I just never felt like playing video games when it got down to it. What I like to do in my leisure time is go to cafes and eat and drink and blog and read, but my brothers wouldn’t be able to sit still for that.
Do a workout video // I’d have to download these from Youtube beforehand though. I downloaded six videos from Blogilates, but they won’t last me the whole summer.
GitHub // I never do what I think I’m doing.
Illustrator // I don’t have the software so I’ve never gotten a chance to play around with it and figure it out. I’m hoping to borrow my little brother’s laptop because he got Illustrator from his school.
How to drive (and study for written test) // I need to get a move on and do this before I enter the real world as an adult. No more excuses!
How to use chopsticks (properly) // So embarrassing. I mean, I can use chopsticks and I do. But I’m pretty sure I’m doing it wrong. I hold them too low and they cross.
How to make a latte // Maybe then I can be a self-sufficient human.
A new recipe // I’m going to get sick of stir-fry and pasta one day.
Something I realised is that I never think about doing things that require more physical action. I go to places, but I don’t do things. Do you see “hiking” anywhere? I mean, I would like to hike. But Beijing summers are so hot and muggy and polluted… Can you help me brainstorm fun physical activities? What are your plans for the summer?
I leave for Beijing in two days!