Happy National Day holiday! Next week is the 61st anniversary of the PRC so we have no school! Thanks, Chairman Mao!
Last night, the overseas students office held a banquet for all the international students. The president or dean (not sure which...it was all in Chinese) gave what seemed to be a rousing communist speech which was incredibly exciting. It was my first real rousing communist speech! From what little I could understand, it sounded like he was encouraging us to study hard and learn a lot. Normal school things. The dinner was fun though but the food wasn't super amazing. I've found that the smaller family restaurants here are often way better than the bigger ones...and cheaper, but last night we didn't have to pay which was excellent!
After dinner, a few friends and I went to the Shamrock Irish Pub to watch football. They re-show the Monday night football games on Monday and Tuesday nights. It was the Bears vs the Packers so I clearly wasn't rooting for either team, but it was still fun and a nice way to unwind and have some french fries, or chips as they call them there.
Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and saw a giant spider on the wall. I wanted to catch it and kill it so I tried to trap it under a red cup, but it was bigger than the opening of the cup. I'm sure most of you know the approximate size of the opening of a red cup, and that is quite large for a spider. I couldn't catch it, but it ran away after a while and I think it went out the window somehow so I could go back to sleep. I am very glad I am not arachnophobic! It was really a gigantic animal.
Today after class, I decided to go out South Gate to run some errands. It was absolutely beautiful out so it was a really nice walk. It has gotten a lot cooler and the sun was actually shining with minimal smog! The sky was even blue! I had to get a duffel bag to bring to Tibet because I don't want to check luggage, so I got a nice fake Puma weekend bag for about $7 US. I also wandered around for a while and ended up by the river; there were a lot of people just hanging out and fishing. It was really pretty--I'll have to remember it for when I want a nice study spot. On my way back, I got a new purse (it is slightly nautical...really in style here and I finally found one that is the perfect size and shape!) and some breakfast pastries from Andersen's Bakery. The program the PLU group is doing service learning with gave us all 200 RMB giftcards to the bakery so I'm in business! Some of the pastries are kind of weird--pineapple mini croissants on skewers for example--but everything I've had there so far is pretty good.
On all my errands, I was able to chat a little bit with the store owners which made me really happy! I'm getting to be a lot more comfortable with speaking and I can understand almost everything people say to me as long as it is about a topic I am familiar with, like shopping or the fact that I am an American college student studying Chinese at SCU.
Tomorrow at 5AM my group leaves for Tibet. I am not bringing my computer and I don't think we'll have much internet access, so I'll be incommunicado until next Friday night. So if I don't respond to emails and whatnot, I am not dead, I am just in Tibet!
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