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Thursday, September 27, 2007

a boring week and a half (with a terrible ending) before my Sichuan trip

September 16 ~ 27, 2007
Probably most people heard about typhoon Wipha that was headed straight for Shanghai... well it missed us so school went on as normal. It hit a bit south of us and we just got some wind and light rain. I didn't really hear about any damage caused by the storm or anything though. The rest of the week and weekend were pretty uneventful, I have been pretty busy with my classes and studying that I haven't had much time to go out and explore. I found out yesterday though that The American University in Cairo never got (or lost) a large chunk of my application material... and the deadline is October first. So instead of studying for my test and preparing my presentation over my readings like I should have been, I spent all day trying to call the university in Cairo and their offices in New York trying to get a hold of someone. My dad has to overnight 2 small pictures of me (which I think is pretty lame that they are so important they have to be overnighted) and I had to e-mail one of my professors yet again and ask her to mail another copy of my recommendation letter out. And luckily I found a copy of my passport on my computer so I can just e-mail it instead of having to try and send a copy express from Shanghai to New York. Hopefully that will all get worked out though in the next few days because I am leaving for Sichuan 四川 on Friday morning and I don't know when I will be able to check my e-mail or make phone calls while I'm there. And towards then end of all this stuff with Egypt... right before I started up my studying finally for my test tomorrow at 10pm was the terrible ending to my last week and a half which got my test canceled...

terrible ending

I was sitting at the table about to start studying and my friend Lisa got a text message from her roommate that said something along the lines of there is a dead person in front of the building... First we look out my window from the 13th floor but all we can see are the red and blue lights on the wall from the police cars so then we run down to Lisa's room and look out her window and see police cars, 8 or so policemen, and a few random people around the area of a body shaped white sheet with red stains on it. All we could do is just stand there and stare... We just talked about what we heard... What I gathered was they think he might have jumped from his window on the 5th floor because his window was open, but it was so far away from the building we didn't thing it was possible that he could have jumped that far. The other thing we heard was he might have gotten hit by a car but the we live in a gated area and the only cars in are taxis usually and the road isn't even wide or long enough I think to pick up much speed. They said the guy was from Denmark and just moved in that day so none of us really every saw him but my two friends live in the apartment underneath him and they were actually the ones who found him and they used her sheet to cover him up. I also unfortunately saw the scene without the sheet a little bit later. So because of this they canceled the test which is good because I wouldn't have been able to study anyways and I doubt anyone else here could either. So maybe I will find out soon what happened but as of now they are still trying to clean up the mess and figure out what happened.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Finally my first post

For some reason I haven't been able to log onto my blog since arriving in China... I think I might know why... But anyways I guess I'll start from the flight over.

August 28 and 29, 2007
Aside from some rude airport employees everything went smooth. The plane ride was about 14 or 15 hours and was pretty boring. We arrived in Shanghai on the 29th and we got on a bus and headed towards our apartments. We live in the Tonghe International Students Apartments which are reallllllllllly nice, especially compared with the living situation for the rest of China. We have 3 bedrooms with A/C and two bathrooms, a living room with couches and chairs and a TV with cable, and a kitchen with a table and a stove (but no oven :( ), refrigerator, and a washing machine (but we have to hang dry in our sunroom). Also I don't have to clean, we just pay about 4 dollars and people come and clean the whole place. I have two roommates. One is Japanese and his name is Yuki from Kyoto, the other roommate is Chinese and he likes to be called Derrek haha. We went to a restaurant down the street and has our first real Chinese meal, and it was really good. You just have to watch out for the 花椒 (hua1jiao4) or you will have a lot of 麻 (ma2). 花椒 are little things that look like peppercorns but they explode in your mouth if you bite into it and make your tongue go almost numb and tingle a lot with bitter taste, and they put it in almost EVERYTHING.

August 30 to September 13, 2007

For the next few days we basically just had orientations and placement tests and everything and then started class the first Monday. I have 3 classes here one is a Chinese language (汉语) classes which is the same as C301 and C302 at IU, another one is a speaking class (听说), and another is a society class taught by a crazy guy that manages to keep me awake for 3 hours straight haha.
Here is my weekly class schedule
Monday: 汉语 840-1135
Tuesday: 汉语 115-405
Wednesday: 听说 800-1135
Thursday: 汉语840-1135 , lunch, Society 130-500
Friday: 汉语 840-1135, lunch, 听说 130-500

The start of the week isn't too by, but by the end of the week I'm going crazy. I usually have between 150 and 250 vocab words a week that usually consist of 2 symbols or more plus all the homework and readings ontop of that. I also have to do a capstone project here, I haven't thought much about it but I think I am going to do something on the local dialect of Chinese. After the first two weeks we had a test and I'll find out tomorrow what I got on it hopefully. I spent a lot of time in the first few weeks just going around Shanghai and seeing different things and trying a lot of different restaurants because the food here is so cheap.

September 14 to 16, 2006 ~ My trip to Hangzhou
After our test on Friday we hopped on a bus to Hangzhou for the weekend. When we got the bus station in Hangzhou there were swarms of Chinese people just hanging around outside waiting to offer people rides but when we came out everyone started following us yelling "Hello, Hello!" and whispering to each other in Chinese saying "English, English!" They followed us until we got rides to our youth hostel a little bit later, it was kinda amusing though. The youth hostel was really nice and only cost us 10$ each for two nights. The people who worked there were really nice too and helped us out a lot and talked with us in Chinese. On the first day we went to a pagoda across the street. I forgot the name of it but it was rebuilt a few years ago from the one that fell down in 1927, so it didn't seem very authentic or anything. Then we went to Lingyin Temple and that was fun too except I managed to hurt my ankles and couldn't walk very well. But I did get some reallllllly good tea there because it is the tea capitol of the world. We had lunch at some little restaurant but it wasn't very good. We got the soup that was named after the lake which turned out to be a bad idea because it tasted and smelled like they just scooped some water out of the lake and heated it up for us. And our chicken dish mostly consisted of bones and random chicken parts like lungs and claws. The next day my ankles felt a little better and we rented bikes to take a ride across the causeway but it was PACKED with people so we decided to just walk instead. We had lunch at a little place then headed back for Shanghai for class on Monday. When we got back though my ankles started hurting really bad again so I wrapped them and went to sleep. The next day I didn't go to school though because they still hurt so bad I couldn't walk, but some of my new friends here brought my a bubble tea which made me really happy after being cooped up all day.