Hello all! Sorry I have been absent lately, but my wonderful parents journeyed across the seas and ran through airports and came to visit us in China! It was great fun.

We showed them around Qingdao, and then we all headed to Beijing for some touristy sightseeing. First on my bucket list of things to do in China was visit the Great Wall so this was literally a dream come true. Ultimately, the Great Wall is awesome, but Beijing is not as comfortable for me as Qingdao. I kept wanting to tell people, "I'm not a total noob; I live here (kind of)" And the city is just so gosh darned BIG. Like woah big. Chinese cities include the suburbs as a part of the big city, same name and they account in the population. By these standards here are how the cities stack up. At roughly 9 million people, Qingdao is already stretching my comfort level with big cities. My beloved hometown of Seattle has 6-700 thousand. Beijing clocks in around 21.5 million. I mean, dude.

However, one of the reasons Beijing is so large and fascinating is that it has been an established city for about 2-3,000 years (thank you wikipedia and the brief bit of encyclopedia brittanica you can get before signing up for a trial). This means the history is fabulous and beautiful. The first thing we saw (also incidentally my favorite) was the Temple of Heaven. In the morning it is filled with Beijing's senior residents socializing, getting exercise, playing cards, and walking their birds. The buildings are bright and colorful and some are riddled with bullet holes from WWII. Most trees are often 100-500 years old. There is a blue line painted on the ground marking the 2008 Olympic marathon route.

(Oh, also, I went truely Chinese tourist and used a selfie stick for the first time ever)

My internet has pooped out for the weekend as it often does. And I have to finish my report cards. Sorry about the lack of pictures. I'll try again next weekend. Tootles!