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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.


Anonymous said...

Dear Salah,

You seem to be enjoying your time in China. I am very happy for you. It is interesting to read about your experiences there so far. They are quite fascinating. I worry about two things though: forgetting Arabic and whether you are alright and not affected by the tropical storm that hit Shanghai yesterday. Also I hope your ankle is all better now.



Anonymous said...

I miss you! Keep writing all this stuff down, its exciting! I was just laughing about your lake water soup comment....
Anyway, I don't get what happened to the ankles. You never like fell down or anything? Did people in the hostel kidnap you and drug you so you forgot all the scary escaping in the middle of the night? Thats probably it...