Saturday, August 16, 2008

Concerto: Basan Part 2

The plane ride is unusually quiet – I suppose everybody on this flight isn’t used to waking up early for check-in. Genevieve, my travel partner, is also asleep, tired from staying up with a few IUP students. Surprisingly, Li Yun laoshi, the education director of IUP, sat next to me for the trip to Sichuan. After an aerial Chinese breakfast of white rice porridge with ham/cucumber and mayonnaise sandwich, we reflected on the summer session in Beijing. Li laoshi confesses she misses teaching. The administrative side of education means filing paperwork and scrutinizing over teacher salaries and sick day leaves, never really any contact with the students. For this summer, I have definitely attained my goal – to improve my Chinese fluency. I am much more comfortable and confident living in China. I can survive on my own while conversing with others about everyday topics. While traveling, I wonder if I can put everything I’ve studied this summer to test.
For the remaining time on the plane, I forced Li laoshi to teach me some Sichuan dialect. The differences are not very distinct – instead of saying “wo bu zhidao” for “I don’t know,” it is “wo bu xiaode.” However, profanity is on a different aesthetic plane.

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