Ok, David, this one's for you. I told you I'd do it ;)
Yesterday was the first day of school. I actually passed my test, which means I start each morning bright and early with a 400-level Chinese class; we started out by reading a China-US joint communique, just to give you an idea of the workload I'm facing. I tell you, 9 am is WAY too early to be speaking Chinese. All in all, though, I've been pretty surprised at how well on par I am with the rest of the class, but I've only gone twice. We'll see how it goes as things progress. I'm taking Classical Chinese as well - which is about as close to modern Chinese as Latin is to modern English - and a 20th-century philosophy class that I'm already lost in. It doesn't help that, even though it's only the second day, I'm starting to come down with a pretty bad case of senioritis, which means I have no motivation to do anything at all. At this point it also means that, armed with my haphazard Chinese and inherent absentmindedness, I could be a little dangerous.
In other news, John finally got his Apple PowerBook and his graduation-present iPod, and now he's got so many little gadgets to play with that I haven't seen him for three days. He started school yesterday as well, and he says the classes at his new university may kill him. I remember the hell I went through when I transfered, and now I'm a little frightened to live with him for the next couple of weeks...har har.
Friday, September 16, 2005
The greater part of the last two weeks has been spent in an almost valiant effort at re-acclimating myself to being both an American and and American student, neither of which has been either especially inviting or especially easy. I miss my baozi, I miss my friends in Shanghai, I miss speaking Chinese with silly taxi drivers. And I miss the sense of adventure that accompanies every step I take when I'm in China. It sounds odd, but I really miss that sense of not knowing that hovers over me everywhere I go, like anything at all could happen and very often does. Life here just seems so...normal, and I'm not entirely sure I've got a grasp on how to get used to it again.
Of course, part of the issue may in fact be that I wouldn't have the luxury of completely leaving China behind even if I wanted it. I wasn't a tourist, I was there because a big part of my life was already in China before I even set foot there. And I've had to spend a huge chunk of my time in the last two weeks reviewing for a Chi
nese placement test that I had to take today. So while I have no shortage of Chinese friends who are eager in every way to help me prepare - which I am eternally grateful for, by the way - and certainly have had no shortage of things to study, I'm finding that miring myself so deeply in such a stressful situation, especially one in which I have to tangle myself so completely in the culture that I just left, it probably doesn't do much for the re-acclimation process.
Tests, I might add, suck. I won't know the results until Tuesday, but let's just say I've prepared myself for the worst.
We did, however, go to the zoo on Wednesday, and the boys just stood and watched us with raised eyebrows as Amy and I had little conversations with and cooed over all the animals. It was a good day to go; a lot of the animals who are normally sleeping decided to get up and walk around, so we got good pictures of the grizzly bear and the wolf for the first time ever. It's kind of nice to have another animal-loving girl around. Now I can watch "The Planet's Funniest Animals" without feeling guilty.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Well, I'm home. And largely intact, unless you count the raging jet lag. I feel a little bit like Eeyore, with the minature rain cloud following me around above my head. It was exacerbated by the fact that I couldn't sleep on the airplane, so by the time I finally arrived in Seattle I had been awake for nearly 48 hours straight. And then they lost my luggage, told me they'd found it, and then lost it again. By the time I got home I couldn't hold my head up. I slept for the next two days.
But I'm alive and starting to feel a little better at least, which ought to count for something. Nate and Amy are living with us while they try to get their feet on the ground in Seattle, so the four of us are crammed into our tiny on-campus apartment. It's actually not as uncomfortable as it sounds, but maybe it's just because I haven't been awake enough to notice anything for the past week. Other than that I've just been studying; as fun as Shanghai was, the educational side of my trip left something to be desired. I'm a little nervous about my return to my Chinese classes. I'm afraid they will find me woefully behind.