September 15 – Classes Begin

Got up at 7 today, because classes started at 8. Walked over fairly leisurely, and got there a bit before class started. Prof. Wang was at the entrance of the building and directed me to my room up on the third floor. It’s quite a small room, but fits two students and a teacher without problems.

All told there were 5 of us, me and Sergio, the teacher, and our two language tutors who are going to be listening in for the first few classes to see what level we’re at.

Today was day one, and so we covered an aeronautical vocabulary. A lot of words, we basically spent the full two hours going through new words and doing short examples of how to use them. It was fun, but pretty intense.

Afterward, I went with the second year students to the bookstore outside of campus to see if they had notebooks. They did, but they were quite expensive so we headed back to campus and get them there. A couple kids got whiteboards from the bookstore though since we hadn’t seen them elsewhere. next to the bookstore was a bakery, and it had set up several milk crates full of moon cakes that were on sale (3 for $10). Sarah and Alice both got three moon cakes, Alice tried one of the ones she got, and it turned out to be fish flavored, which wasn’t what she had been expecting. I went into the bakery since I was hungry and got a pizza hot-dog. It was a hot dog, with a custom made bun, and topped with cheese and bell peppers, overall quite good. Steven got a bun covered in pork shavings which also looked okay.

The next stop was the bookstore on campus where I got three notebooks, as Prof. Zhang had asked us to. I got a report pad for writing down new characters, a spiral book for homework’s, and a normal notebook for writing down dictations.

After that Jeremy and Steven wanted to find the gym, so we walked over to the building we were told it was under. We weren’t able to get into the door that looked most promising, and after a bit of wandering around we got hungry and walked over to the nearby cafeteria. Alice wasn’t very happy about her food, because it seemed too mushy. I had, well, something. There were hot peppers, onions, and some sort of meet. The meet was chewy and sort of cylindrical and hollow, which didn’t exactly inspire confidence, since most parts of animals I know of don’t come in that shape. None the less it tasted pretty good.

After lunch I went back to my dorm. I was pretty tired and didn’t get a lot of studying done, but did transcribe all of the characters from today into a new notebook, and wrote a paragraph that was our homework.

At 3:45 I decided to take a walk before the taiji class that evening, and so headed over to the college again. There were white barriers on the sides of most of the roads, and it looked like they would shortly be blocked off from the campus proper to serve as channels for people heading towards the olympic stadium. I walked for a bit, got a bottle of tea at one of the stores on campus, and ended up at the meeting place a few minutes early.

The taiji instructor is a student at the college, and a member of the taiji club. The teachers were quite impressed by his faithfulness to rules, as he told us that the main movements weren’t worth teaching us because they required at least 10 years of preparation to do correctly.

Instead We spent an hour and a half doing essentially squats, the whole basis for taiji appears to be having the ability to move freely with your weight entirely on your heels. It was interesting work, but also quite tiring. The mosquitoes didn’t help either.

For dinner we went to the sichuanese cafeteria we’d been to earlier. I got a sweet-and-sour chicken and cucumber dish that wasn’t bad and a plate of fried noodles. Then I helped direct sergio to the place, since he had stopped to talk to people and then got lost.

After dinner we headed back to the dorms. I reviewed the new characters a couple more times, and sent in my mathematics research proposal.

I still need to deal with some basic housekeeping this evening, but I’m exhausted from the taiji, and expect to sleep well tonight.