02.23.2013 - 02.21.2013
I am with my host family now. It is so far going really well. I live with parents, grandparens and a young grand daughter. She is 13 and in the 8th grade. Everyone is absolutely wonderful! the family has two houses so I only live in one with the grandparents and young daughter. Our house is cold. all the time. In china it is not uncommon to wear your jacket from the moment you wake up till the moment you fall asleep. And the slippers. we all wear slippers from the moment you walk in the door till the moment you leave the house. Finding slippers that fit me was a riot, and embarrissing but mostly just hilarious. My families house is down a small alley and then we walk up this gated staircase (it looks super sketchy, has no lights, is very dirty) up to the 5th floor. But I wasn't that worried because if i have learned anything from China thus far it would be that you can absolutley never judge a house by its outside in China. The air pollution is so bad that it is the biggest waste of time to try and clean it. So even though my apartment building was gross the inside is absolutley spotless. My house has an enormous ping pong table in the middle of the room that I have yet to use but hopefully this weekend me and Ma Ri ( little sister) will play.
I have my own room which is awesome. It is relatively big and one wall is a huge mirror. Score. it has a heater and an air conditioner and a huge window. My bed is slightly softer then a rock
I use my hot water bottle and my down blanket every night to keep from freezing. hahah everything is different. The showers are interesting. if you want to take a shower you have to turn on the hot water heater a few hours in advance, our shower has a heat lamp on the top so you don't have to undress in the cold. That is the one thing I have noticed and the one thing they have repeatedly asked me. Are you cold? Are your hands cold? You are not allowed to drink anything cold such as milk or water. As soon as I get out of the shower my grandma is waiting to give me a blanket and has my bed made for me. She continuously says my house is your house I want you to be comfortable. You are my child now. She does my laundry makes me food, paacks me lunches, tries to do my hair for me (which i politely refuse because curly hair is way different then straight hair to managage lol) and she holds my hand when we cross the street. I feel like a complete child.
Funny thing happened the other day. I gave them some things to wash, including a few socks. I have lost an incredible amount of things while we were traveling prior to the start of the program. That includes most of my socks, lotion, retainer, chargers etc. There is a little piece of me all over China. Sooooo after washing my clothes they realized I 4 socks. All different colors. This was mind blowing to them and I took the next ten minutes trying to explain that I had lost them and had went and bought new ones. Oh and I had left 80 kuai in my pockets. oops
Classes are good. Very challenging. My listening comprehension is absolutely superb. I can listen to people talking and not have any issue understanding what they are saying. However, I tested into the intermediate level. The people in the intermediate level have had 2-3 years of chinese. I have had 1. So I understand the concepts, but I don't recognize or know the majority of the characters in my book, so when I go home from school I spend at least 4 hours on my homework just translating the questions and knowing how to say the answers. I do this for two classes and it takes up an incredible amount of time. However I have seen both professors at office hours and they are impressed with my speaking and listening skills so that is reassuring and they both know that I haven't had as much experience with characters. So i know they are patient with me but it is still frustrating the amount of extra effort I have to put in. My grandma has started helping me with my homework at night though so I am improving quickly.
The food is great as well although I have eaten things I wouldve perferred not too. Pigs feet, kelp, intenstines, stomach, donkey dick, fermented eggs, and I'm pretty sure I ate brains last night. Oh well my family is impressed I eat everything so thats good. I finally asked how many exchange students they have had in the past. I'm the first. It makes sense why they are incredibly attentive. They are ALWAYS giving me snacks and ALWAYS asking if I am comfortable, it hasn't gotten annoying yet but it might. lol
Thank god I have been abroad before or else this would probably be a little bit more difficult to handle. But trust me everything is fine, I'm having a blast, I am super duper busy but I will get internet at my house tonight and hopefully will blog more