Sunday, July 15, 2012

My Second Week Here

Hello again, it has been 8 days since I last posted. Or 192 hours or 11,520 minutes or 691,200 seconds. Take your pick. Every single second of me being here in China is precious. I'm learning a ton, eating a ton, and speaking a ton of Chinese. Which will probably reflect on my slightly abnormal grammatical structures as I write this post. But hey,

(Credit of photo goes to Jessica Au)

After 6,000 years of history, China definitely still has some good pieces of wisdom.

Well, let's get down to the nitty gritty. Picture time.

On monday, we went to class in the morning, then played majiang in the afternoon. Everyone in school was on summer break, so it was only the 20 of us at lunch. We ate jiao zi. School cafeteria style. Interesting to say the least. Still pretty good.

On Tuesday, we went to class in the morning, and in the afternoon I went home to do homework. Nothing too exciting. Except the bus ride home. Which is always exciting, and slightly terrifying. I watched a Chinese movie when I got home WITHOUT the English subtitles. I understood more than I expected. Oh yeah.

This entire week, I've been getting up to go running. Mostly as a result of the massive amount of delicious food I've been consuming for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But today, Wednesday, I went running with my host brother. We have a small park by our house that has a track we can use. Afterwards, we played some badminton, which is probably the second or third most popular sport here in China. Just under ping pong and homework...

At lunch today I was getting my soup, when out of the blue a lukewarm sardine floated to the top of my bowl. It was the first time we've had anything with eyes in our soup at school. I don't think it will be the last.

After school, we went to the Zhengzhou science and technology building to learn about, well, science and technology - Zhengzhou style.

When I got home, my brother excitedly showed me a new American pop song he had just fallen in love with. He told me the name was Call Me Maybe. facepalm. I listened to the entire song with him. But only once. Than I showed him Some Nights, by Fin. (This is how they spelled it in the Chinese MV.... another facepalm) and explained that not all songs were created equally.

That night, we went to eat huo guo(火锅). But this huo guo was special. It looked like a volcano with a moat around it。 Or a bundt cake pan from hell. All the food was really good. Especially the sheep eyeballs. Seriously, they were amazing. Afterwards, I talked with my family until 12 than hit the rack.
Big day.

I've really started to notice just how much emphasis the Chinese put on school. Probably too much emphasis. On Thursday morning, my brother over slept and was late to school by an hour. But to them, it was very serious. If I had accidentally overslept an hour in American school, I would hardly even blink an eye. Just excuse my absence and move on. But apparently my brother would lose a decent amount of points if he came in late, so he had to fake being sick in order to not lose points. And in the lower educations(k-12), your schooling is your life. If you test well in elementary school, you go to a good jr. high. If you test badly there, you go to a crappy high school. and if you test amazingly there, you get to go to a decent college. That sounds so amazingly stressful to me, a foreigner. I am infinitely grateful I have the education I do in the U.S.

That night, I ate ZZ's specialty dish - hui mian, or noodle soup. Afterwards, I went to go sing karaoke with my bro, my dad, and all his friends. Karaoke is such a different kind of entertainment than I am used to. Mostly because I can't sing very well, it always seems more frustrating than fun. But the people here love it.

On Friday, I had the opportunity to go to my brother's school and introduce my self as an American in front of his 80 classmates. In Chinese. I didn't even know that I was going to be doing it. So it was all on the spot. They literally just took me into the classroom and then pushed me to the front. Then all 80 of his classmates stared at me until I started speaking. Definitely a new experience for me. I really enjoyed answering their questions about America. For most of them this was the first time they had ever met a foreigner in person, much less an American, and much less one their age. As well as debunking a few stereotypes such as that all Americans play basketball and we only eat steak all three meals of the day. I'll post the video of me trying to come up with things to say later. I gave them my chinese number and my email, I think a lot of them were scared to communicate with me, the foreigner.

Friday night, I went to go eat Peking duck and afterwards, guess what? More Karaoke! This time it was with my brother's friends, people my own age. There are few things more humbling than singing American pop songs with Chinese teenagers in China. Almost all the girls I met had amazing voices, and the guys, well, they didn't care what they sounded like. They just belted it out on key or not.

On Saturday, I slept in until about 9:00 then went shopping at the chinese markets. I spent about $9 and bought a ton of stuff. Practiced my bargaining as well. It's actually pretty intimidating at first, but it started coming back to me once I had gotten ripped off once or twice.

And guess what, when I got home we went..... Karaoke-ing! Since on friday my bro and his friends finished school, today they went karaoke-ing for 7 hours. I don't how they are still alive. I only went for three hours, and I'm pretty sure if I hear another Chinese, Korean, or American pop song sung slightly off key, and way too loud, I might listen to classical music the rest of my life. It's not that I don't like karaoke, I just can't do it for 7 hours a day. They must be superhuman or something.

And now, today is Sunday. 10:00 AM. I'm having my own little church in my bedroom with general conference talks in Chinese. There aren't any Mormon branches withing 5 hours of where I live. This is probably the thing I miss the most. Maybe I'll go to a buddhist temple sometime. It's really amazing how peaceful they are in the midst of all the high rising buildings here.

Now, I'm all caught up. But, here's my dilemma. It will probably take me another hour to upload all the photos I want and get them sorted out amongst this post's paragraphs. So here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna upload all my pictures to picassa albums and than give you guys the link. For now, my words will have to suffice.

Thanks for the few people who managed to make it to the end of this massive post! see you guys soon!


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