Archive for June, 2008

Week III – Part I

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

By the end of my third week here in Qingdao, I’m starting to feel at home. I’ve been out in the city several times, by myself, and I’m getting to know my way around. I’ve done pretty well asking people directions and finding what I’m looking for. I’m able to read better than I used to, that helps a lot, and my speaking is slowly improving. I’m getting a better idea of the culture and what is expected of me. I am by no means an expert, I have such a long way to go. But I no longer feel a complete stranger always in need of a Chinese friend around to help me out. I do get stared at a lot though. Not really stared at so much, but people’s head turn. The kids actually stare at me the most. Though one little girl, probably only four or five, walked right up to me and said ‘hi’ today as I was walking back to the univeristy campus. Her mom was sitting on a wall next to the road and she was playing. She saw me as I walked up and went “oh!” *light bulb comes on, that person looks like she speaks english* so she walks right up to me and says “hello”. I said “Ni hao” and she immediately got all shy, as if she wasn’t sure I ‘was real’ and was just checking me out to see if I talked, but not really ready for the fact that I would talk back. Her mom laughed and tried to help me get a few words out of her, but she pretty much shut up after that. She was really cute.

Anyway, this week I only had three days of school (yeah, dancing in the streets) because on Thursday and Friday we went on a little trip. Our trip was up to the town of Lai Xi, a medium sized town in northern Shandong province. We went up there to visit two elementary schools. One of them was in the city and one in a farming village outside the city. The bus ride was about two hours, and I had fun not having fun while I tried to take pictures of the countryside from inside a moving van. We stayed at a fairly nice hotel in Lai Xi, I was in a room with three other girls. We drove up Thursday morning, and that afternoon went to the first school. A couple classes of kids were waiting for us in what I think was their auditorium. They performed some for us, did some dances, singing, reciting, and a play. They are all very cute kids. After they were done, I, and two other of my classmates from OSU gave short presentations about our respective hometowns. I felt very inadequate and bumbling up there, it was after all the first presentation I have ever given to a room full of complete strangers in a foreign language and in a foreign country. But, of course, they all said it was wonderful.

After all that pleasantness, the kids taught us how to make traditional Chinese knots. You know those red pendents and hangings you see that always have a knot and some tassels? Well they taught us how to make them. Just very small ones mind you, though I’d love to learn how to make the really big ones. Finally, the kids took us outside and we all played around for about a half hour. We played jump-rope, volleyball, and a hoping game that I couldn’t describe if I tried, so I’m not going to. The jump-rope was lots of fun. They had two adults with a really long rope and people would run in, jump, and run out. We did this, sometimes in pairs, in opposite directions, with a partner, or just completely randomly. It was so much fun and it felt wonderful to play like a kid again. There is certainly a beautiful innocence and joy that comes from kids that nothing else can reproduce, and I am sorry to know that I no longer have it. I know to much and have too many responsibilities. But this is not a bad thing, since life is a cycle of growing and you can not stop change, nor should you. Each part of life has its place, and it is our job to enjoy each moment God gives us to the fullest, because we will never have it again.

(that is all for now, Its late and I have homework so I’ll finish it sometime this week)

Week II Pictures

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

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This is the school we went to, Qingdao Zhicheng Shicha Zhongxue. This is the courtyard. Surrounding us are many, many classrooms, and off the the left is a large PE space, a huge open air concrete field with basketball hoops, a parade ground, and a track encircling it all.

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This is the class that we watched. I thought that the students would be very hot with those uniforms on (which look like PE uniforms but (more…)

Re to Dad’s comment

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

My dad made this comment on one of my blogs

“We all love your pictures, and the long, chatty posts are just what we need to get a better feel for your life in China. I think my biggest surprise has been that if I were in China right now, not speaking one speck of Chinese, I would still feel safe and be able to make my way around. Honestly, I can’t say that about the U.S., at least in certain places. Do you agree?
One more request– describe the ickiest thing you have eaten so far (Serena asked me to ask this … `-)” And here is my reply.

I would say that if I was an american tourist in China who didn’t speak any Chinese, I might definitely (more…)

Of school, school, and….whoops, lookie there, more school

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

Dear Readers, (sun, 6-22-08)

This was my first normal week, owing to the fact that last week’s schedule was put a bit off by having orientation on Monday instead of class. And I must say I am quite pleased with the schedule. As I believe I have already said, we have no class on Friday, it is a culture day. So, good old Monday through Wednesday was pretty uniform: class for four hours, go back to dorm and finish paper, go back to class and have it corrected, then free time the rest of the evening (we write three short papers a week and then have them corrected by our tutors). Thursday we had our normal morning class, then regrouped at 2:30 to visit a local middle school.

Alright, no one should ever, ever complain to me again about (more…)

Pictures, only read the post first, then look at these

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Hosts in Beijing

My hosts in Beijing, Mr. Sun and Mrs Li. (they are married, but in China you keep your last name when you are married)

My room1

My room

(more…)

Of Transitions, New Friends, and Underwear

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Friends, family, mes amis, mis amigos, 家人,حبيبتي , and all other beings who stumble onto my humble blog,

Greetings 😉

Fun fact: When I am awakened suddenly from sleep (a nap, nodding off, or whatever), I have found that I am unable to communicate in Chinese. I’m quite sure that this humorous phenomenon extends to all other languages as well, excepting English, obviously. Despite the fact that this is in no way surprising or unpredictable, after all, seconds after you are awakened you are still slightly disoriented and your brain is in the process of restarting, much like a computer that was put to sleep, I still adjudge it to be a startling discovery, owing to the fact that there is a large gulf of difference between knowing this fact and experiencing this fact, an adventure in and of itself that I have undergone several times in the past week. Yes, I give you (more…)

First few days

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Do not fear, I am alive and well for anyone who was wondering. Unlike the US, China does not have a plethora of wifi hotspots liberally scattered around and I’m having trouble obtaining a cat cable and modem box to go along with the internet card I bought so I can have an internet connection in my room. As it is, I have just discovered the college computer “bar” where you can pay 1.50 yuan (about 25 cents) per hour to use a school computer or bring your own and use their wireless network.

So, anyway, I guess you want to hear about my trip? I’m going to be brief since I have homework due tomorrow, you’ll get a more comprehensive blog complete with pictures (and maybe a movie), on the weekend. My flight was long but uneventful. I was met at the Beijing airport by the uncle of a friend of mine (Chinese) who put me up in his hotel for the night, took me out to breakfast in the morning, and helped me get to my train to Qingdao. He and his wife were so helpful and nice, as well as very generous. Beijing, as everyone has told you, is DIRTY! Actually the streets and such aren’t very dirty, but the air is…..bad to say the least. It is a combination of dust and pollution. During the day everything is in a haze and you can’t really see things that well far off. It irritated my eyes quite a bit and it was very bright during the day because of all the particles in the air for the sun to bounce off of. I didn’t get to see much of Beijing, but what I did see was very beautiful (lots and lots of trees and even more flowers).

The train ride was, again, long and uneventful. I actually slept most of the way because my body thought the trip was from 11pm to 5 am, when in China it was 11am to 5pm. I expected (more…)

Beginning

Friday, June 6th, 2008

I am off. I’m currently sitting in the Detroit airport, waiting for my connecting flight to Tokyo. I’m also trying to figure out why my e-mail won’t work, sigh. If for some reason I don’t reply to your e-mail for a while, that would be why.

I got up at a lovely 4 am to go to the airport, as per my father’s orders who always allows for two hours to get through airport rigamoroll. Not surprisingly, I was through in a half an hour and spent the other hour and a half sleeping on a chair.

Since I’ve not even left the states yet, nothing exciting has happend so I’ll just stop talking now and get back to you once I’m in Beijing (if I can find a wi-fi hotspot that is).

Serving Him

Lydia