Not technically, because I didn’t have any classes.
Actually, you know what, that’s not technically true either… I DID have a Chinese class but didn’t get my schedule/language placement test results in time to go to it. But no worries, because I’m embracing a way of life in which I don’t worry about….well, anything actually. Haha! Wish me luck! It’s add/drop week this week, so professors are (hopefully) expecting people coming in and out of their classes.
The language classes here are divided into three components: speaking, writing, listening, and comprehensive. I tested into the intermediate level. This week, I’ll be going into as many of the classes as I can to decide which ones I should take, as well as some in the beginner level just to see. The speaking classes are the ones I probably need the most as that’s the area of language I most struggle with. Of course, those classes are the ones I dread taking! I’ll go to the first one at 8am tomorrow and see how it goes.
Today I woke up before dawn (jet lag!) and took our first unaccompanied walk to the university. Crossing streets here is an experience in and of itself… everyone goes at any time, and people are used to a much shorter distance between cars/bikes/people/tuk tuks/literally whatever else happens to be on the street. Our apartment is about a 15 minute walk to the South gate of campus. It takes about 30 minutes to walk from the South gate of campus to the North and about 15 to walk the width (East to West gates).
Everyone on campus has a bike. They’re cheap… a used one is about 100RMB or around $15. With a lock and basket at 10RMB each, that puts the total around $17. Sweet. I haven’t bought one yet… as I mentioned, classes are still in flux.
I took a few pictures of campus today during classes changing. BIKES! It reminds me so much of the peloton.
I’m going to interrupt this blog post for a second just to give a sense of how many and how quickly things are happening. I’ve been typing this for maybe twenty or thirty minutes. In the span of that, Sharon (our in-country contact… she deserves a post in and of herself) came by to return our passports after registering them with the police (we all need temporary residence permits). We got our schedule of Chinese classes (half of them conflict with our elective classes…oh well, figure that out tomorrow, probably. We’ve been joking that the answer to every question we have here is “tomorrow, probably.”) Two dudes who only speak Chinese showed up to fix some of the problems in our apartment, left, came back again, and left. I arranged my interview (no small feat! I had to figure out which building the internship coordinator was talking about because she only gave me the address in pinyin. Then once I got the characters, I could get the English translation. Once I got the English translation, I went to the map. It looks like an hour walk, so I wrote down the characters to show to the taxi driver tomorrow. Adventure! But an adventure for tomorrow…probably.) Also during this, the Chinese roommate that’s living in the boys’ apartment came by, and a few minutes later, I met Charlene, who will be living in our apartment. They are both so nice and already really helpful! It’s nice to talk to an actual student.
My Mandarin skills are improving a tiny tiny bit. Mostly in terms of vocab and getting used to the sound and intonation of the language. I recognize more and more characters each day, and it’s only really been a few days.