4th of July and other things

Ok, so this week from Mon to Thur. was really busy. I got maybe four hours of sleep each night. But don’t feel sorry for me, it wasn’t a big deal, I lived through it and I love school. It was however, one of the first times I can remember just lying down on my bed, still dressed and not even under the covers, and the next thing I knew it was morning. I hadn’t even meant to lie down on the bed in the first place (or maybe I only meant to lie there for a few seconds *sheepish look*). Fortunately my body knows what’s good for me and when it comes to the point, it has it’s way. Thursday we had a couple tests (in addition to class, not instead of), which I hope I did well on, and then school was over for the week.

This past friday, as you know, was the 4th of July, and we planned a big party to have out on the beach on Friday night (we being the American students from Ole Miss Univ. OSU, and Arizona state, who are all in this same study abroad program). The party was to be complete with grilled hot dogs and fire works, but then, it rained. Bummer. So instead we had it in a restaurant we call “La Duza” (which is a butchering of the chinese word for stomach, I have no idea what the place’s real name is but la duza is its official nickname). This is on NingXia Road that is between our dorms and our classroom, so it is where most of us eat, being right on our way to class. It’s a fair size but is a pretty lowly restaurant, nothing fancy, complete with a thieving kitten who lives next door (it actually doesn’t have to thieve, all it does is look at someone and they drop plates of meat at it’s feet). So we had a couple dishes (rice, tomato egg something, fried cabbage, and jiaozi), beer (of which I did not partake), and the hot-dogs we had bought to grill. We still grilled them, but it was on the restaurant’s little outside grill, instead of on the beach. There was much smoking, drinking, eating, and laughing going on. Someone had brought their ipod with those speakers you can plug it into, so there was music playing as well (very American music thank you very much). And there was a little bit of dancing too, which I joined in on. We sang the national anthem, loud enough to shake the rooftop (there was about 40 of us you see), and at 8:30 sharp we had fireworks. They didn’t last very long, but they ones the boy’s had gotten a hold of were very good, very big, very loud, and reminded me of Thunder Over Louisville (if you don’t know what that is, look it up). One of the boys, Kevin, kept trying to get me to go and drink Bai Jiu with him (a strong white wine) (he was doing this because I had told him, in my refusal to drink beer earlier, that I had never drank before, so he was determined to that I should try it out, after all nobody should not be drinking on the 4th of July!), and so about that point I unobtrusively slipped away and headed back for the dorms.

P.S. I’ve found out that people speak Chinese better when they’re drunk. I guess it has to do with the alcohol messing with your brain, you just speak without thinking about it and so it flows better. It was kind of difficult to keep up with them, since I was obviously not drunk, but I figured they didn’t care if I made mistakes. I actually don’t even know if they noticed. And just so you don’t get confused, I’m not saying everyone was drunk. In fact only a few people were drunk, and probably half of the students weren’t drinking alcohol at all. It just so happens that I was sitting next to the people who were drunk.

Saturday I set out on a great adventure. Shopping again! I was determined to get it all done, that is get stuff for everyone on my list, once and for all. I went alone, mostly because I didn’t want to drag around someone who had better things to do than watch me buy stuff. But I also went alone because I wanted to, and because I didn’t need anyone with me. I have been to the shopping market twice already, so I knew how to get there, and I speak Chinese well enough to get good directions if I needed them. It was very fun, I got to look around more since I was alone and could go where I pleased (its amazing how well my chinese friends, the girls actually, can imitate a mother hen. But I am very grateful because they showed me around and now I could go on my own). I was, however, exhausted by the end of it. Saturday evening I got some homework done and watched “The Brothers Grimm”. A very good movie, though a little childish (its intended audience), and delightfully full of fairy tales come to life.

Sunday I went to church again, but somewhere different. This sunday another friend of Hongmei’s (I gather she has many friends), took me to a house church. Meaning a group of christians meeting in someone’s house to have a church service. They do this because all the ‘official’ churches are controlled by the state and the state tells them what they can and can not teach. I am not going to tell you about it, since I don’t want to say anything that might get them in trouble. But I will say that the people were lovely, and the message was on I Corinthians 15: 35-58. It is the “oh death where is your sting” passage.After church this friend took me to his house where I had lunch with him and his wife and their little daughter. We had noodle soup with egg, tomato, and shrimp (whole shrimp I might add, shrimp that still had their shells on, you had to take them out of the soup, break them open and fish out the meat), roast duck, and cabbage. It was a very good meal, and they were both very hospitable and very kind. I tried to help clean up and do the dishes, but they wouldn’t let me, instead insisting that I relax and watch TV. So I watched an american news station and got a little updated on the world. The rest of this Sunday has been sleeping, writing, and laundry.

I promise I’ll post pictures later, just be patient with me.

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