Monday, January 23, 2012

Back again

Been back in the US since Christmas 2011. Heading back to Shanghai this coming Saturday.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Time is moving rather slowly, which is a nice change of pace. Already cooked 2 meals at home, both times had some friends over. I'm excited for class to start so I can meet more people. Right now, it's basically just hanging out with people I knew from before, and making some appearances in Johns Hopkins group. The roommate search will start next week, which involves interviews… I think my friend Hannah will help me out, she was good friends with Jackson and that crew last semester, and she has an idea of what to look for.

We did french toast this morning, me, Hannah, and her classmate Bernard. Was very good, though no syrup. Just strawberry jam. I really enjoy using my 2 woks, very easy to use and clean.

Still in the process of organizing and cleaning. I have a maid now, comes over once a week and cleans the floor, cabinets, dishes I have left out, tidies things up. I pay her $5 an hour, which is $3 more than what she usually makes. I recently also had a plumber come out, $4 to clean the pipes and whatnot. Got some wireless internet (doesn't work yet…)

A few little first observations: I see a ton of girls here like wearing leggings with wool shorts over top. The taxi drivers here don't really like to talk. In Beijing, they loved talking about their thoughts on the US and government stuff, not so here. It's freezing cold in my house. The eggs I bought the other day froze on the counter.

Things should pick up next week.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Arrival - Nanjing

The plane ride felt quick, though this time I wasn't able to sleep, just couldn't get comfortable. Talked to a few people, stood up for quite a while visiting, watched 3 movies, and didn't eat much. Just didn't feel hungry.

Once we got in to Shanghai, I felt uncomfortable, a headache plus my stomach feeling funny. I'm sure God was helping me out after I got off the plane, because several people approached me about hotels and taxis, and I ignored everyone till this one guy. For some reason I felt I could trust him, and turned out he worked for the airport, and hooked me up with a nearby hotel, only $25 for the night, very nice place. Got 9 hours of sleep and still felt bad, if not worse, in the morning. Took a taxi to the train station, bought a ticket for a train that was leaving 10 minutes after I got there, which I reckon was a good thing. Felt sick, so I wanted to get somewhere, drop off my luggage and stay inside if needed. Train ride, threw up several times, to the point I had nothing left, felt bad, got a taxi to campus, and as soon as I stepped out of the taxi, I felt fine. A little dehydrated, a little shaky, but no more pain and discomfort. Found a hotel nearby, had some drinks, and felt much better. Still not hungry, but I went ahead and got some KFC, and feel fine.

Today, went and walked around, found Costa Coffee, a place I used to go to all the time in Shanghai to study, went out to Uniqlo and H&M. Snowing all day, everyone says it's very abnormal, but it was a nice welcoming gift.

Now, just waiting for tomorrow, when else everyone arrives.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

In the next few months

I have not kept up with this guy very well, but alas I will try again. First, a status report, then travel plans.

Chinese courses are going smoothly, though it's a constant stress having to move through material so fast for 2 courses (doing Flagship course at IU in Chinese and 4th year Chinese at the same time).

Almost done with my second all Chinese research project.

Got a FLAS Fellowship to pay for my summer in Beijing with Princeton University.

Going for a Boren Fellowship for next year's study at Nanjing University.

This summer, I'll travel around for most of June, then in Beijing with Princeton in Beijing (PiB) from June 24-Aug 20. Shall be an intense language learning experience. Going with Jackson, who was with me in Qingdao last summer.

3 weeks of class left, then summer, then my last semester at IU, then China again spring 2011 to study at Nanjing University, then an internship with a Chinese firm from mid-May 2011 till mid-late fall 2011. Then, who knows.

Now, I have to get back to preparing reports and revising papers. Joy.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Things from Qingdao

First off, we were approached Monday by a professor on campus (one that we don't know) and he asked if we could speak chinese (me, Jackson, and Garrett) then asked if we would be willing to go on Tuesday to the local beach to hang out with some 12 and 13 year old kids to just interact (in english and chinese). We had no idea what was really going on with that, but we said ok. Tuesday he picks us up in a cab, we go to the beach, there are tons of people there (we live about 10 minute drive from the beach), and there is a group of about 20 kids in blue t-shirts. We introduced ourselves in english and chinese (a few kids could understand okay, but the majority were lost) and we spent the next 4 hours just playing at the beach. We were in the water for a while, and eventually settled on building a huge sand castle/hill with a network of moats around to keep the tide from reaching the castle. That was fun. Then the head teacher wanted us to teach the kids a song, so the three of us talked about it and I decided the Hokie Pokie might be the best idea. So the head teacher had me put on a portable mic and speaker and i stood in the middle of this circle of kids teaching the hokie pokie. They did really well with it, and really enjoyed it. At the end I was singing and not moving, and the kids had to listen to what part of the body to put in and out and they did well. A few came up to me after and said i was a good dancer...haha...

One girl, Zhan (english name, Jan) talked to me a bit. She's 13. We talked about her school, about what she thinks about the big college entrance exams (because she'll start preparing for that within the year...). I also learned the group is from the furthest city away from the east coast of China (in Xinjiang province). This was their first time seeing the beach and ocean (just a class trip/vacation before summer break). She loves going on-line, loves to run, and has no idea what she wants to do when she grows up, as is the case with the all chinese kids i've met.

The other neat thing that happened this week was yesterday. We all decided to go to the beach (on our own) for the first time. Just to chill. So we went, played in the water for a bit, then got on the beach (inland a ways) and started building a sand castle. But as we were each building our own thing, I began making a dragon head instead of a castle, and the rest joined in and we ended up spending about 2 or 3 hours building this 10 foot long dragon that attracted mobs of people. People were standing around for a good hour before leaving, and they just kept coming and watching and taking photos of us, or they'd come stand near it and take photos with it. We liked the attention. We plan to go back in a couple weeks and make a bigger something and see if we can't get in the paper a 4th time (well, me and jackson have each been in the news 3 times sofar).

Last Friday we went out to some clubs and danced and such. Twas fun. I normally don't do that, but we all had a place to stay (one of the upper level students has an apartment so we just slept there, all 6 of us). Today we are going out to eat breakfast, and then buy some HSK (the standard chinese proficiency test) prep material just because we want to see what's in it. I feel like my speaking has been pretty off lately, but my listening has been fine, and I've finally started to read the paper. It's cool... I can now read the paper... not the easiest thing, but I can get through 2 or 3 articles a day.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Only a month left

How the time flies.  I'm sitting here in this huge fancy mall at Costa Coffee, now my favorite coffee time/ study place.  The semester has flown by, and as much time that has elapsed since last post, I can speak in general and sum things up pretty well.

Here is my schedule that I've had nearly every day this semester:
5:15am, wake up, go running at the track with all the old people
6:30am, head out to the metro to get to Huangpi Nan Lu
*I do all my reading and vocab memorization on the metro, much easier to focus than when I'm sitting at home or anywhere near my computer...

7:10am, arrive at Hungpi Nan Lu, walk across the street to Wagas, order scrambled eggs with toast and a medium cappuccino.
* They recognize me, always leave the power strip sitting next to my table.  I use the brown coffee sugar on my eggs and toast, makes for a tasty breakfast

9am, get back on the metro and head back to campus

10am, start class

12pm, lunch at the "Foreign Student Cafe", as we've nicknamed it...

3pm, class ends, head home to play some piano and start studying, or head out to some cafe to start studying (Tues and Friday are Internship days, so I go there instead).

10:30pm, try to get to bed... most days by 11pm I'm able to get some sleep.  Just been really tired from all the studying.

Friday - Sunday, I tend to sleep in till 6am (Sat or Sun I just don't go running, sleep in till I wake up), and study, work on some music, talk to friends in the US online.

Basically, all I do is study Chinese.  Kid you not, from 3pm till about 10pm I'm in my books, trying to memorize the 50 characters or so for the next day's quiz, doing all my readings, written hw, etc.  So much to do!  No time to really get out.  I haven't explored much of Shanghai, maybe a day's worth of tooling around, but really I'm so busy I just head out to a popular area, get to a Costa Coffee (they're everywhere, and they have free wifi and plenty of outlets), and just study for several hours.

The main troubles I've had here are 1) retaining stuff from class and 2) dealing with all the oil in the food my host ma makes.  Don't get me wrong, the food is very tasty and very chinese... just the "thing" with Shanghai food is that Shanghainese people love a lot of oil.  That's one of the reasons I head out for breakfast, just so I don't start off the day with an upset stomach... haha... (other reasons being I study better on the metro and outside my room, and I love being out in the morning).

Speaking of studying a lot, I'm on 'vacation' this week, and I need to get working on my homework for next Monday.  It never ends... well, actually it will.  In 30 days.

Till next time.