We went to a networking event last Tuesday that I forgot to mention. The American, European, Swiss Chambers of commerce put it together. I met a couple of interesting people got some more experience shaking hands...or as Adam calls it..."pressing flesh." I've yet to figure out how much of the talk is just talk, and how much people actually follow through with things. For example...when someone in the U.S. takes your card and says they will follow up on something, they normally do. But I think that might not be standard practice here and part of the indirect communication pattern.
Tomorrow I have a dictation and am sitting here writing characters. For those of you who don't know...this is how you learn characters: you write until you can't write anymore. This picture is a typical school-night routine for us. The three of us sit at the table with a pot of tea and go for it. Our notebooks have little squares that we need to try and use to guide us. Fun fun fun. No wonder this is a category 3 language...
We also signed up in a Chinese gym and it cost us about $130 for the annual student membership. This is on the cheap side here in Beijing, even though it hurt to have to pay for a gym for the first time. We are quite a scene when we go in there, and get a lot of interesting looks. The gym, like everywhere else, is overemployed. There are always trainers standing around waiting to show you how to use machines, or even just talk to you. Sarah's going to try out the yoga classes on Monday and Adam is looking for a kung fu teacher. Me? I just can't wait until dance lessons Tuesday night!
This was the first dinner last night with Adrian's Mom. This might have been the best meal yet. The best dish was prawns something-or-other, and the Sichuan style chicken had an amazing sauce. Of course, we also had a beef dish, Beijing duck, soup, vegetables, etc. We definitely don't get treated better than this anywhere else in the city. The Japanese owner loves us, and always practices her Chinese with me. The whole wait staff lights up when we come in, and we always get treated with free fruit and mango or almond custard at the end. Always a very happy experience. Everyone has decided that when we have a guest...we will go here!
Tonight is the big party for Adrian's birthday. The Mom has made cabbage-wrapped something, and chocolate sauce, and oh-so-many sweets and she has just started. Directions have been e-mailed to 30+ people so we can't wait!