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Published: June 29th 2011
First of all, recalling everything I've already seen is going to be difficult. We'll start with my first impressions of China.
My room as of October 1st.
When I arrived I was the only foreign exchange student in the building. Imagine traveling to a different country to live by yourself for 5 months. My initial thought was, "I'm the only westerner that decided to come to this university and it's going to be that way until January." Combine that with wanting to vomit after having a cold fast food experience across the street from the university, realizing that all of my western comforts (clean air, speaking the native language, and having the ability to read) were gone and you have the greatest first day. At this point I'm ready to move my flight date up.
All of that soon changed, well, slightly, when the Dutch appeared at my doorway. Two gentlemen, Casper and Roel, came knocking and all the way from Holland; a place known for its beautiful flowers, sharp cheddar, and casual legislation regarding the sale and purchase of marijuana.
I then met Kenny Arnold. My first contact from America. We're very few in numbers. Kenny has had an interesting life as an employee of one of the chemical companies in Delaware, making his way up through the ranks to land himself a very high paying job that he just was not satisfied with. In short, he's now receiving approximately15%!o(MISSING)f what he was originally earning in Delaware now as an English teacher for the college here in China. He graduated from the University of Delaware and then decided to come here.
Filled with hatred for Jersey Shore and the belief that in Arkansas we exclusively eat corn, ride horseback to the supermarket, and fry everything, the Dutch reminded me of how different we all were. Roel has become one of my good friends since, however, because we share the same sick sense of humor. Casper is more reserved and serious.
Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, the university made the mistake of admitting three more Dutch students. The first, Emille, is a loud and charismatic guy who likes to sport his business casual every day, make the most of every moment, experience as many new things as possible, and bother me frequently. The second, Raylien comes from a pedigree of success. At age 19 she opened her own business but later left to go back to school. Nice to talk to and she has this nervous habit where she laughs when she feels uncomfortable. Lastly, and least, is Farhoud. I like this guy. He's the oldest of the three. He's had a few business ventures that we won't talk about.
Finally, the French came, and I met the infamous Marty. French first, Marty second. The French are a close group. They traveled to Malaysia and Hong Kong before coming here. I think they all come from the same province in France called Brittany. Very polite group of people and they love France a lot, as do all French people. Their nationalism rivals ours for sure. I love that accent even though they have to repeat themselves 5 times. They cook for me, too, and it's good every time.
So I mentioned Kenny the English teacher from Delaware earlier. There is another English teacher from Arizona named Marty. Marty is this mass of awkwardness that floats around the building looking for people he can trap in conversation. He generally opens his conversations by staring at your chest and slowly looking you up and down, undressing you with his eyes.
More to come. Trip to Qingdao, babies that don't wear diapers, Mount Tai Shen, night trains that smell like human waste, and things you don't even talk about at the dinner table in the United States but you eat in China.
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