I am in Beijing! This is not my final destination, but at least I'm getting there. Orientation in New York was really fun. I got the chance to meet many kids on the program traveling to Anshan, Beijing, Changzhou, and Harbin this summer. There are 49 of us total. 10 of us are going to Harbin--9 girls, and 1 guy. I'll miss hanging out with lots of guy friends! The two people I hung out with most at orientation, Joseph and Paul (my "long lost twin brother"), are both going to Changzhou. There are some cool people in my city too though. The flight over was probably the best flight I have ever had. The seats were awesome. Paul, Jordan (the guy going to Harbin), and I had seats in the first row of the second section of economy class seats, so we had lots of leg room because there weren't seats in front of us. Also, we had a crazy selection of movies--I think it was something like 160. I have never had so many movies to choose from on a plane ride before! I watched Slumdog Millionaire and the Sixth Sense with Paul and I watched Shawshank Redemption with Jordan. Slumdog was great even though I was falling asleep through it; I had already seen Sixth Sesne, Shawshank was awesome. Some of my flight was spent standing up at the back of the plane (where there are free beverages and pretzels...little known fact) talking to other kids on the trip. We were easy to spot because we were all wearing vastly oversized neon yellow t-shirts. So attractive. The plane food was not bad. I tried some interesting new vegetarian foods, but I don't actually know what some of them were. I missed out on Hagen Daaz ice cream though!! The vegetarian and vegan meals are the same, so I didn't get ice cream. Paul shared though, so it was okay :D. After the flight was over, we waited in the longest customs line I have ever seen. When we finally got through, we got on a bus and drove only about 10 minutes to the hotel. It's definitely not in an area that shows "real Beijing" because it's on the outskirts, so I hope, for the case of people who haven't been here before, we will see some of the heart of Bejing this afternoon. The hotel is alright. It's probably not a place I'd stay with my parents, but it's definitely better than some other places we could have stayed in Bejijng. The beds are extremely firm (of course) but not as terrible as expected. The chaperone, Kathleen, is my roommate, and she (having never been to China before) was shocked at the firmness. The bathroom is a little quirky. The shower is in the middle of the side of one wall, and the shower floor is level with the floor in the rest of the bathroom. To take a shower, I had to close the curtain across half of the bathroom, but I was still on the same side as half of the bathroom including the toilet, which was strange to me. No squatty potty though, so I'm grateful for that. Once we got into the hotel last night, we had dinner and orientation. We were all way to tired to do any kind of orientation, and luckily none of the information was new, so it was okay that we were only semi-conscious. I finally got to go to sleep at 8PM (8AM New York time!!!), and I woke up an hour ago at 6AM. After breakfast this morning (by the way, all of the hotel food is Chinese, and we only have chopsticks to eat with. Luckily I'm better than I remembered at using chopsticks), we have more orientation, and then we are heading to the Great Wall. The Wall is about 90 minutes away. This will be my third time seeing the Wall! I'm excited to be with lots of kids who have not seen it (Although some have). Finally, at 19:00 (7PM), all of the kids going to Anshan, Harbin, or Changzhou are heading to a train station (we could fly, but this is cheaper, and we're not paying) to head to our host cities. It will be a sad time because some of the people I'm closest to on the trip are going to other cities. The train is an overnight train, and it is not supposed to be very comfortable, so it will be an adventure. I will be happy if I get one of the sleeper cars with a bed in it. Otherwise, it's all-nighter time for the Harbiners. I get to meet my host family soon!!! My mom's friend, Ying, who is Chinese (and American) and lives in Shanghai called them the other day to get some information. The dad is a military man but is pretty laid back because when I called, he didn't even know where his daughter was. Her name is Yitong, and she is seventeen years old like me. My host mom, who works in tourism, along with my host dad, does not speak English. Yitong speaks some. I am glad because I will learn more Chinese if the host family does not speak much English. Well, I should be going so I can go get ready for another long day. My host home has internet, so I should be posting soon.