30.09.2010 - 30.09.2010 57 °F
Tomorrow starts the first day of China's National Holiday. They so graciously gave us five days off, a seven day holiday including the weekend. Which means...
Uninterrupted time of study.
Hey, I like studying. Get off my back.
I'm currently getting over my cold still. I just have a few sniffles left over and around 8:30pm I was unable to smell and/or taste anything :/ Good thing I had dinner early. Nothing more annoying that texture in your mouth without the taste.
As I was saying a the previous post before my immune system flipped me the bird, many of the elective courses look intriguing. Taiji is 400元， the Chinese instrument is 300元， HSK (Don't know if it's Tues. AND Thurs or Tues OR Thurs...) 480元, and last but not least, pronunciation for 250元. Ironic that possible one of the most productive classes is the cheapest. In case you don't like mental math, that's $60, $45, $71, and $37 respectively. Yeah, once I did the math I thought, "I guess I won't be taking too many classes, haha...". It's supposedly once a week for ten weeks (October 18-December 17th). Again, they last from one and a half hours to two hours. It's definitely cheaper than what I'd pay in the U.S. Namely because half of these classes don't exist where I live. I KNEW I should have joined the Taiji club.
Oh yeah, we had club opportunities as well.
Brief aside time.
Helen and I scouted clubs to join. Well, her more than me. I take it since the majority of people were handing the flyers to her and not me meant that the club was conducted in Chinese. I did get handed about three fliers, though. One of them some club where international students (mainly those fluent in English) would talk with other Chinese language learners and Chinese students.
Later, when we returned to the dorm, Helen caught site of a flyer for the same club, but it was all "Cook dinner with X student and eat with them. Go for a walk in the park together, etc.."
Helen translated the flyer for me and said it sounded like a dating service of some sort :/ Kinda creepy. It's not like I'm NOT keeping an eye out for boyfriend potential, but, uh...I'm better than what this flyer was offering.
Brief aside concluded.
The only thing I worry about the Taiji class is whether or not it's indoors or outdoors. I only brought gym shorts, so if it's outside...yeah. And Asians run small in size so I doubt too many workout clothes will fit me. Same with shoes. Cloth shoes are preferred, not the jogging shoes I've got. GUH. I've been wanting to take Taiji for so long. And it would be awesome to find out what it's like to de-stress! Well, I've got yoga for that, but still.
I'll see once I've sat in on the classes.
My schedule for the National Holiday is tentative so far. So is when I will first head out. I definitely don't want the sniffles when I'm jam packed on a crowded subway. Friday afternoon will be rainy, so I either come back early (if my body is up to it) or I just scout campus since I have yet to see all of it.
In no particular order:
Beijing Zoo/Beijing Aquarium (separate tickets but they're connected to each other).
Beijing Natural History Museum (I LOVE PREHISTORIC MARINE LIFE, PREHISTORIC MAMMALS, AND PRESERVED PARASITES). No, I don't have a fetish for the dead and dangerous :P
China Palaeozoological Hall--Okay, I know you see a pattern with dead stuff, but I swear....
National Art Museum of China
Carrefour--Al right, I know it's a supermarket, but it's a COOL supermarket! And cheap :D
Debating on Yuanmingyuan Park. I kind of want to go with Helen. She can fill me in on the history and legends :D
Other parks--haven't narrowed anything down yet
I hope to check out some temples while I'm at it. I plan on getting a book on ancient Chinese architecture, or at least temple architecture, so a) I know what I'm looking at when I'm there and b) artist habits die never.
1. The Bookworm
2. Three bookstores at Wangfujing (The Foreign Languages Bookstore 外文书店, The Wangfujing Xinhua Bookstore, and The Export Books Bookstore)
Plus a few others. I'm going to have to map them out and put them on specific days (because I'm organizational like that). But! If you're interested in ever traveling over to the northern China yonder, I'm using these sites as references:
I want some nice study material for my journey within the confines of the Sino-Tibetan language...and I want to see if I can find some English books cheaper here than in the States. Mostly likely not if they're imported, but a penny pinching girl can dream, yes?
I sort of do and don't feel bad about not traveling around outside of Beijing for the holiday. I had such high hopes on going to Guilin, but I've not doubt Helen was right in that too many people would be crowding the mountains and such. Not to mention hotels and ticket prices would be jacked up. I felt a stab of jealousy when I overheard a few of my classmates mention they were traveling.
But I try not to regret too long, if at all. Don't pity me. I'm not pitying my situation. Beijing is a hella big city and I'll hardly cover all of it in my days off. I'd feel stupid if I spent a semester here and hardly saw all of it.
You may be thinking, "But that's exactly it. You HAVE a whole semester to explore it, so why don't you travel around China?"
To be honest, I don't really have that much time on my hands. I mean, I saw pictures of Guilin and instantly thought, "That's where I want my honeymoon." I'd want a LOT more than six-ish days there. Same with any other city or town. I don't want the feeling of being rushed. This is the first time I've gone on a study abroad without a tour guide. Without someone rushing us that we only have an hour so we don't have time to do X Y and Z. I don't have a tour guide now, but I still have school. I LOVE that I only have my Chinese class so I can focus ALL of my time on improving my fluency (which is coming along quite well, thanks for asking).
I will take a separate trip back over here (when I'm not sick of planes anymore) and take my sweet time traveling and experiencing China. I'd also like to find the family I've got over here. It's nothing dramatic and Amy Tan style where I've got long lost kin. I just don't have their address :/
Speaking of the Guangdong province, I recently skimmed over a page of Cantonese lessons and realized how much I've forgotten. I really want to pick back up on my Cantonese. I've only retained a few phrases and I'll be honest, it feels kind of neat (and I NEVER say "neat") to switch between dialects. It's also a little difficult since I now know way more in Mandarin than I do Cantonese, so to say a phrase in Cantonese, I actually summon it in Mandarin, then have to translate it into Cantonese. Or I'll infuse the two dialects into something unintelligible e.g. "Ngeih shi Mei guo jan a?"
A combo of Mandarin "Ni shi mei guo ren ma?" and Cantonese "Ngei hai mei gwok jan a?"
I also want to pick back up on my French. I'm really envious of a lot of the students here where Chinese is their third or fourth language.
So, before I die, the languages I demand be in my linguistic repertoire are:
Hakka, another dialect of China. I don't know why, but ever since I was a kid I decided I wanted to learn this dialect :/
Japanese. Might as well. I'll know all the Kanji
Portuguese--For some reason I always wanted to learn Portuguese.
Pretty hefty, yes. Impossible? Well, that's one word I can spell but still won't do.
To be honest, I never wanted to learn Mandarin. I grew up hearing Cantonese, so I thought it was prettier and easier on the ears than Mandarin. Unfortunately, colleges only taught the latter, so that's what I learned. I don't regret my decision to learn it, but there ya go.
Helen is gone for the week visiting family in China, so I'm left to tango with the city by myself. It will be exciting.