07 June 2008



So, I've been looking for the mini-USB cord that connects my camera to my computer for about 2 days, and I know that it's around here somewhere. I am trying to organize, but something tells me that I'm going to have to go get a card reader. Anyhow, I thought I'd updated you all on the goings on here.

A couple of days ago, on Wednesday, we met our language partners from the university here who are Chinese speakers that need to practice their English. We're doing a language exchange. It's kinda cool. So we met, got lunch, and went to the National Palace Museum. It was incredible. A lot of Chinese culture is wrapped up in the art and artifacts that they have there. Especially the jade and wood carvings and porcelain. Perhaps the most famous artifact at the museum is a jade carving in the form of a bunch of celery called Cuiyu Bai Cai (翠玉白菜). On it, there are two courting grasshoppers. The genius of this carving is that the carver, in a very Taoist manner, saw that he should reserve the green part of the stone for the leaves and grasshopper, and the white for the stalks. In this way, he worked in harmony with nature to effortlessly craft this masterpiece.

The following day, we started class. I've never felt so in-over-my-head in my life. So much Chinese languge, so little English. I walked away wondering what in God's name I was supposed to do for the next class. I didn't catch the homework, if there was any, and I spent most of the time fumbling through the lesson. I haven't felt like that since I started Spanish 301 at Calvin College my first semester there! After class A couple of us went out and about and I returned home promptly to get in some studying.

My class has two Japanese students, a British one, one from India, one from Malaysia and me. Needless to say, we're all a little hard of understanding when the teacher starts off blurting out Chinese very rapidly.

Yesterday was day two, and I still feel very daunted. I'm way behind in my knowledge of Chinese characters compared to my other classmates, so this weekend is all about not doing to much other than studying characters, tones, and grammatical constructions. I could drop down to a lower level, but I tested into a high level and I'd like to make the most of it. These first few days, though, are bound to be pretty arduous.

After class yesterday, a bunch of us GVSU students went to Ximending, the hippest, coolest, most trendy 'tweener hot spot in Taipei. We ended up getting some pretty ridiculous outfits and parading around looking like Japanese pop got in a train wreck with American Nascar. I wish I could find that camera cable...

Today, I went with my classmates from GVSU to the Taipei Computex Computer Expo. It was pretty interesting to see all the newest technology, but I felt that I was a bit too far on the consumer end of the spectrum, as the expo was definitely geared toward businesspeople. Afterward, our whistles were wet to buy some gadgets so we went to the technology district to check out cheap computers. A couple of my classmates bought a computer each that is super small and pretty cheap (about $500USD). Great as a peripheral for taking to class and whatnot. I'm not on the market for those, but I am on the market for an electronic Chinese-English dictionary. These things are really helpful, and even have a speaker so the machine says the Chinese words. Great help with pronunciation. The downside is that these things run about $200. I'm going to see if I can find a much cheaper version, as I think it will serve me quite well for years in the future. 

Tonight, we're going out to dinner for a member of our group's birthday. Should be fun. We might end up going to Karaoke, which is a pretty big thing here in Asia. It's called KTV and it promises to be quite the event.

I'll keep searching for my camera. Sorry, this post was probably boring, due to the lack of images. Next time, I won't disappoint.

Feel free to comment.


Britney said...

today I spent some time on my rosetta stone and thought of you! :]

Abi said...

Okay, so you need to post a picture of this ridiculous get-up that you bought at the "tweener" store. Provided you find your cord.

Also, the photos of the temple and your masks that you posed in your last entry are too cool. That is the part of your trip that I am insanely jealous of.