Thursday, March 8, 2007

Internet! and Chinese tests...

This morning I took a Chinese level test with hundreds of other international students, to put me in the correct class. There was probably only 3-5% Westerners. Almost everyone was from Asia...Korea and Japan mostly. These will be my classmates, and that I a super thing, because our common language will be Chinese, and I won't speak so much English. The test was crazy hard...10 pages of Chinese characters..and it even had an essay at the end. I'll find out in two days where they placed me.

We FINALLY got internet Adrian said, "This is sucking the life out of me." In today's world, we can't go for more than one or two days or even hours without email until we are in withdrawal. Thankfully we already had bought a wireless router. Adrian and I went to a hugeungeous five-story electronic market and I now can say "tv cable" "wireless/wired router" and "electric outlet" in Chinese. These experiences are always good for one's vocabulary. There were sooo many products there, and all bargainable. The vendors interact, share inventory, etc. When one doesn't have something, he runs down the hall and gets it from someone else. It makes you wonder how this retail system works. But back to my internet story: The router is in my room near the plug, so we spent the first hour or two on my bed...all three of us with our laptops...soaking it up. THEN I had the wonderful experience of calling the apartment manager and telling him our toilet was stopped up in Chinese. (I won't mention which roommate was the source of this problem.) It was pretty embarrasing, not to mention that I didn't know how to say "stopped up" on the who knows what I ended up saying. At one point there were four or five Chinese people standing in the bathroom all looking at the toilet!

Yesterday I took them to a market that I used to go to in 2004. We had our very first public bus experience together. A little crowded...but only costs us a nickel! We got off at the wrong place, but eventually got there. We bought fake bags, games, tea, etc. We had some interesting bargaining lessons, and I think everyone was surprised with the forceful sales tactics of the vendors. The weirdest thing we saw there was this tour group of Westerners that all had strollers with Chinese babies. It must have been an adoption agency that gets you your child and then shows you some of China before you leave.

Oh, and the other day I had to translate for a haircut for Adrian. Terrifying, really. A Chinese haircut is scary enough, but then to have to translate for someone else is even scarier. They barber that washes hair is different from the barber that cuts hair...and they all have crazy/funky hair styles and perms. All in all, it was a good first experience. Maybe a little too short for Adrian's taste...but you can ask him!

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