We’re getting into a routine here at CAAS. The classes are pretty long to sit through, but still have some really interesting information. China has an intriguing (and long) history. We learn about the past and present. I'm interested that the professors and students openly criticize parts of the governmnts policy. I’m always anxious while in class to be out doing something else. I just learned that this won’t be the relaxing summer quarter I was hoping for…the class presentations and papers are going to be a lot of work!
Yesterday, my professor had a small group of us over for a traditional Chinese meal and story telling at her apartment. The housing situation in the city is unreal. The cost is incredibly high for the small amount of space. Her place looked very ragged and old on the outside, and I was extremely surprised with the expensive, modernly decorated apartment. You walked right into the dining room table...there were two small bedrooms, a little living room, and a tiny kitchen. Just absolutely nothing compared to the square footage of any American home. There is little room for extra stuff...no junk drawers or attic storage!
Sunday we went to Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City. I was paired with the cutest couple. It was incredibly hot and a little exhausting to communicate with these students for the day, but very enjoyable.
The OSU students in the program are bonding well. We have fun finding places to eat and ordering new food. It’s always fun to get the bill and split it. Most meals with 4-8 courses are around $3!
Monday after class I met up with my friend Elaine, who I met the last time I was in Beijing. Her office just happens to be three bus stops away from CAAS! It was great to see her again and talk about her life in the work world of China. She got married last year and has already planned to have her child in 2010; the year of the tiger. I look forward to hanging out with her again. We will maybe go shopping or to her house for dinner so I can meet her husband.
Then group of us then went on a wild taxi adventure to the craziest shopping center you could imagine. There are 4 stories of every knock off you could ever want. Chinese workers yell at you to buy things and even grab your arm. You bargain with them to lower the price. Once they give you a price you start 50-80% lower and bargain from there. Everyone was really happy with what they got for so little money!
Tuesday was the big match: OSU vs. CAAS in basketball. We actually played against their schools competition team! They lent us jersey tops to match their uniforms! There is one guy in our group that is pretty good at basketball and the rest of us were honestly a mess! Girls don’t usually play basketball and the guys were really surprised to see us out there; some were scared to guard us so we got some good shots in and a huge applause from the large crowd watching! It was a fun and competitive game. We ended up losing by 2 points…but I’m all up for a rematch!
Today after our long morning class, we had time with the Chinese students. They did a presentation about China and then we played a game. We would pass around this toy (like hot potato) and if it landed on you, you had to do some sort of act. Some of the guys talked about sports or told stories. The CAAS students would always giggle nervously…they were really funny! Some of them danced or sang serious songs! I did the can-opener (a dance move)! One of the guys came up to me afterwards and said that I had a really good Kung fu move…I tried to explain it was a dance move, but gave up with the language barrier and accepted the compliment!
Everything is great here in China…I’m getting well adjusted and it’s starting to feel more like my home for the next month. I really do feel like I’m at the center of the world with all that is going on in China. These people are truly expecting great things. Not only with the Olympics, but every sphere of society seems to be running at a sprinting pace to catch up with the few countries ahead of them in GDP.
Join me in praying for a chrch and a community of people to share my faith and life with. Although I have a lot of fun friends, I desire so much more to grow lasting and meaningful friendships.