Why Study Mandarin? Summer Palace

Around Kunming lake at the Summer Palace, Beijing.

I had several challenging experiences in China that led me to study the language. I was in Beijing with a friend who was there on business. We were staying on the Tsinghua University campus. He went off to his meeting. We agreed I would go to the Summer Palace. It was a warm summer day, and the skies were uncharacteristically blue. A perfect day for a walk among the hundreds of beautiful acres. He wrote the address in Chinese characters on a piece of paper, as well as the return address for where I needed to go, and put me in a cab.

The Summer Palace was wonderful. I strolled on the paved walkways, enjoyed the classic pavilions, the studied vistas, the greenery, the vast manmade lake, but most of all enjoyed the people enjoying themselves: families, clusters of young girls, couples, kite flyers, people licking refreshing ices.

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