I found out that Chinese people do not call their country “China.” This was a shock to me! In fact, their name for their own country is Zhong Guo. This sounds nothing like “China.” Long ago, Westerners named them after the nice porcelain goods that they got from Chinese traders, but China named itself Zhong Guo, which means “Middle Kingdom.” For hundreds of years, Chinese people have thought about themselves as the center of the world.
Today, we visited the Forbidden City, which is the center of Beijing, the capital of China. It’s where many emperors used to live along with their many servants and other staff. It’s huge. We walked around for hours and only saw a small piece of the massive complex. At the front entrance, the Gate of Heavenly Peace overlooks Tiananmen Square, a place full of its own history.
I might not have mentioned it, but I am having such an amazing time so far! I’ve only been here a week and a half, but I am learning so much and really enjoying our little community. The students and staff are fabulous, and our days are packed with adventure. Here’s a little taste of some of the silly side of the past 24 hours:
A new friend that I made in the hotel lobby: