Sunday, November 30, 2008

Charlie Brown Theme Song: Post Thanksgiving

It is cold in Beijing.
Well, it's been cold for the past couple of weeks. As soon as I got off the train from Shanghai, I saw everyone trekking in large overcoats and fleeces. I bought a new jacket and some new clothes to replace some of the shirts and pants that I brought from home. China's laundry machines, though good at cleaning, are horrible at preserving clothes.
This module at IUP, I am studying classical Chinese. I'm glad that I went to Hangzhou and Suzhou - classical poets refer to specific objects and scenes that can only be found in southern China. My teacher is having me memorize every lesson character for character. I feel like I'm back in Elementary Chinese when I prepare my classical Chinese lessons, but without the agony of encoding grammar patterns or the pressure of preparing for different classes. I am also studying from a book designed by IUP called Academic Topics. It is basically a collection of speeches by professors from various professional fields. We are learning to speak more like the writers themselves. In a nutshell, we have to prepare the lessons as if we are experts on the topic at hand.

I really enjoy the course so far - the topics are much more engaging than those of previous books, and the vocabulary is much more useful.
Yesterday, IUP hosted a student-alumni mixer event at the Element Fresh restaurant bar in Sanlitun. Unfortunately, I felt sick and nauseous throughout the mixer and didn't really get to speak to many of the alumni. Director Laughlin didn't feel great as well - in fact, a lot of people were feeling aches and cramps. I need to go to the hospital and get that flu vaccine.

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