September 19 – End of Week One

I woke up late because class on Fridays doesn’t start until 10am. I grabbed another thing of yogurt that I got yesterday, and went over to class. We got a couple more packets of readings for the core class, and spent today reviewing the first four lessons. the homework for the weekend is study and know everything from the first 5 lessons; we’ll have a quiz on the first four, and then a dictation on the fifth.

After class I went back to the dorm, and then to lunch. We went to the sichuan dining hall, and I got green beans with pork. The bean here are quickly becoming one of my favorite foods. Most of the other people on the trip seem to prefer vegetarian options for whatever reason. (Probably because they’re mostly from pitzer) There’s a scrambled egg with mushroom dish that people get a lot, along with various tofu dishes that seem to be enjoyed.

After Lunch I walked over to the taiji garden and took some pictures of the statues that were on display there. I said hello to shanbin, the guy I’d talked with yesterday, and also to a girl who’s an english major in the taiji club. They told me how to sign up for the club, and I said I’d be back later in the afternoon with friends who wanted to sign up even more than me.

I came back to the dorm, uploaded photos from the last few days, and studied a bit of chinese.

At Three I met with my language tutor, lucia, in front of the supermarket. I asked if we could first go over to the computer center and get my internet connected, and she was happy to help me with that. We first walked to the first floor office, which said that it was there to get student cards, and since I was a foreign student I didn’t get a full on card. They directed us to an office on the second floor. The lady there said that she didn’t know what to do with us. Lucia called Prof. Zhang, and asked what was up, and got told that information on what to do had been sent yesterday. After a heated discussion with the lady there, we were told to go up to the third floor. On the third floor another lady didn’t know what to do, and pointed us to an office on the other side of the floor. The person who was supposed to be in that office wasn’t there.

So we waited there for a couple minutes, and then the lady from the second floor showed up, and said the guy we were waiting for was on the second floor, so we went down to where he was, and he said that he needed to run off somewhere but would be back in ten minutes. In the meantime, Prof. Zhang showed up, and talked with the lady behind the office on the second floor.

They ended up not having a problem, but said that If we came back on monday it would cost $45 less for this month. I asked if there was a way to just sign up for the basic $30 plan for this month, and they said that there was a deal with the foreign student office where foreign students needed to pay for full international internet if they wanted anything. I decided to come back on monday. (One of the girls bought some sort of $10/day plan for this weekend, and I set up her computer as a wireless provider, so most of us are using that for now.)

I went back to my dorm with lucia, and studied chinese for an hour and a half. I read through all the characters so far, and practiced tones, and then we had a chinese conversation focusing mostly on the poisoned milk situation. (Very serious, it’s spread from powder to all milk, and they’re recommending that if you want milk you should only get it from nestle or 100kuai)

Then it was time for taiji class, We went to the field next to where we normally practice since the club is doing it’s display this weekend. We spent time looking at the statues, and then the teacher had us do what we’d learned so far in front of his teacher, who seemed to sign off on it. We ended class a bit early, and went into the taiji practice building, where there was a second display, where slightly larger versions of each of the types of statues were painted and displayed. There were also lots of explanations of what was going on with english translations.

After taiji, I came back to my dorm and did a first run through all the characters in the 5th chapter, that I need to learn for monday. I spent a while looking at the chinese internet, and ended up watching CCTV4 on my computer. (The College has a technical initiative to get IPV6 in use in the core chinese universities. What they’re providing to help the uptake is that access to IPV6 sites is free even when you aren’t signed up for an IPV4 plan, and they provide free streaming television over IPV6. They had all 10 cctv channels available, and also a for whatever reason were hosting a large site of movies and television programs that can be streamed. It’s very different from the US, where the college wants to stay as far away from that stuff as possible because of possible litigation. Here, I’ve seen large banners advertising the tv.pku.edu.cn subdomain where you can watch tv from you computer.

That was most of the day, I Went through email for a bit, and talked chatted with some of the other other participants. A bunch of them went out to drink, but since there was taiji class at 8 on saturday I didn’t really think that was a great idea. I looked through a map and decided to try and walk around the kunming lake and summer palace tomorrow.