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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Life Update

I have officially started learning Chinese!!! Sherry, my favorite person here, is teaching Danielle & me. I have "class" on Thursday and Saturday. To start, I am learning pinyin, not characters. This week I learned all of the initial sounds that start words. I also learned all of the final sounds. I am pretty excited about learning more. I will finally be able to talk to my kindergarten students about other things!

Today I started meeting with my thesis students. As part of the English department, I am advising 6 seniors on their graduation theses. My students all have business/marketing/retail topics. I am pretty excited to see how they do. I, obviously, have never written a big thesis, so I am a bit nervous. But, I think that my big papers in college are pretty similar. Also, as a native speaker, I can focus mostly on the language.

The only other big thing that has happened lately is the midterm. I graded them and handed them back today. The highest score, without the curve, was a 94% and the lowest was a 39%! I gave them a 6% curve (I was feeling generous). The average, with the curve was an 82%. Overall, I think it was pretty good. Some of them complained and said it was too hard. But, I expected that. The students who actually come to class and participate each week did well.

Last week I forgot to mention that I got 2 packages in the mail! It was a great week! I got one from Aunt Linda & one from my parents! They both sent me candy & magazines & goodies. Aunt Linda even made me cookies and mailed them in a Tupperware! They were fresh and delicious when they got here. No more excuses for not sending homemade cookies! ;) I ate the last cookie this morning. I tried to share, but it was hard. I think DK only ended up getting 3, I loved them too much! I gave out some of the candy to my students. I gave candy to the two students with the best grades on the midterm. I figured they really deserved it! I also was super excited to have American magazines to read. I can see what all the trendy fashions are. Clothing here is crazy, so it will be nice to see something more like what I am used to!

All in all, life is becoming very routine here. I love China and am really enjoying my time. Life is just finally settling down, and sometimes I even forget I am in a foreign country! There are a lot of times that I feel like this is where I belong. I feel like I am part of this new place. That never lasts too long, I still get plenty of stares just for being white & can't understand 99.9% of what people are saying.

Today, 11-11, in China is "Singles Day." It is basically the opposite of Valentine's Day. People celebrate being single & spend time with their friends. It's a pretty cool holiday. Apparently, it originated at Nanjing University in 1993. So it is a local tradition! This year, there are a lot of people getting married on Singles Day. There were 3000 registered weddings in Nanjing today!

I locked myself out of my room today, so I went downtown and spent the evening with DK. She has a key to my room and when we got back she was able to let me in! Thank God we thought ahead and swapped our spare keys. I didn't plan to go downtown, but it was nice. I bought a sandwich at our favorite western cafe. Then I sat in on DK's lesson with the middle school kids.

I should head to bed. Daylight Saving Time has messed up my schedule, even though China doesn't change. It's harder to talk to people at night now, for me. Luckily, I have been able to stay very well connected with Skype & email!

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