Monday, December 19, 2005
Well, the quarter's finally over. I finished both of my finals on Wednesday, an experience which makes me think that someone somewhere should introduce a bill prohibiting a department from scheduling finals from two of its 400-level classes on the same day. I walked out of there that afternoon as physically as emotionally spent; even fully-caffeinated coffee, which normally affects me so dramatically that it makes me physically ill, failed to do much more than increase the space between synapses in my brain. So now I'm in the part of the quarter that, ironically, in some sense I actually hate the most: vacation. Because even though I get to relax a little - kind of - I spend at least half of the break wringing my hands while I wait for my grades. Especially lately, because I'm so close to graduating. I'm watching my goal of graduating magna cum laude slipping further and further away. It's especially frustrating since if I do miss the mark, it will only be by 0.02 or 0.03 of a GPA point.
And even though I won't call it a "vacation" per se - I still have to spend the bulk of the next two weeks doing preliminary research on what is shaping up to be an overly ambitious honors thesis topic - I am finding myself with a little more free time than usual. John and I are at his parent's house this weekend visiting with the family. Randy and Jess and the girls are here for Christmas, which would normally make for a full house if the new house wasn't so amazingly huge. The new baby is sweet, and Abby is as precocious as ever. It's nice to get a chance to visit with them before the house is flooded with people for the holiday.
This evening I was chatting on MSN with a language partner in Taipei. When Abby discovered I was using the internet for communication, she asked me who I was talking to. I told her it was a friend from China (an a-political answer for the purpose of simplification; how do you explain the China-Taiwan problem to a three-year-old?), and she promptly asked his name.
"Jiang Xiaozong," I said.
And Abby, laughing hysterically, said, "I don't believe you.
"It's true. It's a Chinese name."
"No," said Abby. "It's a silly name." And then, noticing the picture of a giant panda that takes up the desktop on my computer: "Oh! Is that a panda bear?"
"Where can you see pandas?"
"I dunno. At the zoo?"
"The one in China."
"Ohhhhh." Her eyes lit up with understanding. "Is it next to a Chinese restaurant?"
I explained that I thought, yes, the likelihood of a Chinese restaurant being somewhere near the Chinese zoo was pretty high. Abby then proceeded to type gibberish messages to my Taiwanese friend and ask me to translate them into legible English. Most of them said "I love my auntie" and "my auntie is the best." Well, I love my niecie too.