So, a lot has happened since I last updated you all. The biggest, being that I am in CHINA. We arrived at Xiamen University on the 18th of January. I had a very special trip that I got to make after getting all my stuff into my dorm room. That story will be in the next post because it deserves its own title.
Now, back to China. Oh my goodness. I know that we haven’t been here very long, but I love it here. There are plenty of things that are different. And, yeah, the language barrier can be difficult at times. However, I really enjoy our group and I am really looking forward to the rest of this semester.
While we were at the YMCA in Hong Kong, it really felt like we were at camp. Here in Xiamen, it really hasn’t hit us that we are in school yet. It doesn’t feel like it. We have had classes. Heck, we had our first quiz on Thursday morning in Chinese. (Side note- so many rules and characters and tones to memorize!) Homework has started as well. Even so, it doesn’t feel like we are at school. Even with classes.
We have had a lot to do the past couple of days. We had papers to fill out, things to do, errands to run, and a quiz to study for. The internet was an adventure to get set up in our room. We’re still getting it figured out…by the time I post this, I’ll either have internet set up in my dorm room OR I will have made a trip to the library to use the internet. (I ended up on Kristen’s laptop) Another adventure that most of us have embarked on is going about getting a cell phone. The beauty of cell phones is that Tim can get a hold of us or we can get a hold of him fairly easily, and we can get in touch with each other. I hadn’t bought mine yet, but I have one now. A lot of us got bus cards, and I just purchased a cell phone (Friday).
Not knowing Chinese can be a pretty large barrier. As soon as we step off campus, all we hear is Mandarin. So, until we manage to learn some more useful phrases and such, we’re pretty much limited to “duo shao qian” (how much does it cost), “qing gei wo nei ge” (Please give me that), and “xie xie” (thank you). For me and Daniel, the other Chinese American in the group, the most used phrase is “I don’t understand” or “I don’t speak Chinese.” The forms for internet and a phone are all in Chinese characters. Many of which Tim doesn’t even know. He has been able to give us the general gist of what the papers say though.
Another thing that has been a fairly big adjustment is crossing the street. You just cross. And make sure that you don’t get hit.
English Corner is in about an hour. The students get together to practice their English. We go, they get to practice on us and we get to make friends. I’m excited to go.