Sunday, June 17, 2007

Diving Right In

First weekend in the motherland was... interesting.

First off, food is phenomenal! I haven't had a bad meal, no lie. Lots of red meat, just the way I like it. It is like I'm back in Brazil! Americans and their 'sustainability' need to learn!!! The food here is also incredibly cheap! Eight of us went to this Korean BQQ where the staff brought out this huge platter of... beef! We got to grill the beef ourselves and ate it all. Huge meal... price? $30 total. Deliciousness.

On friday, I took an entrance exam for placement into one of the language classes. Since I've only taken level one Chinese, I was expecting to get into level two and maybe, hopefully, three. Well, they put me in level... four?


I speak pretty well, but I can't read or write well at all! FBI - remember?! Fluent But Illiterate! I looked through the first assignment, and I have to look up every other word... it's not good. Furthermore, I don't even know the meanings of some of the chinese characters' english translations! Like... what is a leaderette? A female leader? A young leader? Hm...

So, after thinking about it, I am going to try this level four business for a while. If it is really over my head and I can't handle it, I will have to talk to Zhu laoshi.

Another dilemma - host family or no host family? Right now, I'm living very comfortably in a building with AC, internet, TV, shower (with a tub! don't take tubs for granted!), and fridge. It is where everyone else is living. It is also right next to the building where classes are held. Do I want to give this up to live elsewhere where those conveniences are not guaranteed?

The pros of a host family, for me, is that the family could be amazing and could become life-long friends. They would really help with my chinese. They probably know the city very well and could direct me to awesome destinations. Also, they would probably feed me (I hope).

However, the house might be really far away. I might miss out on 'bonding experiences' at the dormitory. Getting to class will require much more effort.

Hmm... like the level four challenge, I think I'm going to give the host family a shot. It could very well be the best experience this summer.

Interesting 'encounters' thus far:
- Being startled by random guy jumping out of the bushes. What was he doing in the bushes? Use your imagination...
- Laughing at jokes posted above urinals. Badly translated jokes.
- Meeting random people in the streets and then having lunch with them.

Finally, I want to apologize for the lack of pictures in this post. The internet here is so slow! I would open up a page, go to lunch, and come back just in time for it to be fully loaded. It crawls. Hopefully my host family will have a faster connection, and I will be able to upload away!

1 comment:

Kelly McLaughlin said...

No doubt the homestay will be a pain in a lot of ways, but you'll almost certainly be glad for doing it!