Thursday, March 04, 2004

Had a pretty good day today...been down a bit the last few days mostly because the weather has been really cold and I haven't gone outside much. But today the weather was great and on thursdays and fridays we don't have class in the afternoon so I spent the almost whole time outside. Let me explain a little about the class schedule...I have chinese language class every morning from 8:30 am to about 10:30, which means I wake up at about 8:10, get dressed, then sprint to class on my bike (probably about a mile away), usually arriving between 1 and 5 minutes late. If, before I leave my room, I see that I'm a running a little early, I go downstairs to the cafeteria and pick up a couple steamed buns for breakfast. This usually takes up enough time so that I get to class my usual 1-5minutes late. I view the lateness as an non-violent act of protest against having class at this insane hour. Along with that, Monday through Wednesday I have an afternoon class from 3-5 on Chinese history, which is a pretty interesting class overall. I really like the book for the class, The Seach for Modern China by Jonathan Spence...if anyone reading this is interested in chinese history, it's a good one to get. The class is good, the only problem is that because we have class in the morning, and in the late afternoon, there isn't much time to do anything in the afternoon on these days. So Thursdays (such as today) and Fridays are the best days of the week (aside from the weekend) because we have all afternoon free.

Seeing as the afternoon was free, there was great weather, and the air wasn't very polluted today, me and my yuban (my assigned language partner, more on him later) along with a couple other students and their yuban decided to climb the mountain next to campus. It was a pretty steep climb, and I've fattened up on this chinese food, so it was a little hard, but definitely worth it. Here are a couple pictures from the top:

About the yuban, we all have a language partner that we're supposed to meet with two times a week and speak chinese. The program actually pays them to do this. They gave them to us at guy is alright, but his accent is different than I'm used to, he doesn't speak clearly, and he talks really fast. So I have hard time understanding him...but the more I talk to him the more I can understand him, it's probably good practice to have a someone like this though. Overall it's working out ok...just hard to think of things to talk about seeing as my vocabulary is pretty limited. Today I tried to get him to teach me some bad chinese words, but he kind of brushed it off.

After I got back to campus, I decided to go to the lake by myself and just read and chill for awhile...maybe watch the sunset. I brought my history book along and found a really great spot and just sat there are read until close to sunset. It started to get really cold and I didn't bring a jacket, so I left about 30minutes before sunset. Really relaxing though, and just what I've wanted since it's been really cold and rainy here the last 4 or 5 days. Here's a picture of where I was sitting.

Took some really great pictures today, hopefully I'll get them all up soon...been saying that for awhile, but yesterday I made all the web pages...i just need to take my laptop to an internet cafe and upload everything.


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