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Dre J.’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 25 Mar 2010

Location: Xi'an, China

MapSo i'm kinda pissed. I started to write my long ass entry that i promised, which will follow this, and was prolly a good two pages in when the internet cut out. for some reason the autosave feature i paid for didn't work either so i'm starting all over again. i'm just gunna have to save it myself every minute or too.

SOOOOO, sorry to start out that way but its a bit frustrating. i've been dealing with crappy internet for almost three months now so i'm tired of it. Anyways, i have lots to tell and lots of time to tell it so sit back and enjoy the ride that is my life in xi'an. you may also want to get a nice comfy seat cuz you would be here for a while. But, now that i'm starting over, i think i'll start with the present and move backwards, with jumps from time and again so bear with me. lets see...right now i should be in class but i didn't get to sleep until at least 630 this morning. i've been sick for the past two weeks. i'm confident most of it stems from the air pollution. i say that because pretty much since i've gotten here, my asthma has been iffy and i've had a nasty cough. and since my body is constantly fighting that i'm weak to other things. acutally, two weeks ago was the worst. i think the main thing was pure exhaustion. i've been running ragged for a while and it all just caught up to me. all the viruses and flus formed a global jihad against all that is dre. good thing my immune system is made up of an elite group of patriots, otherwise i'd be f--ked. but ya, last monday was the worst day. i was down and out for the count. it didn't help that the next day was my midterm either. i completely bombed it. big F. but luckily my director isn't a prick and understood that a two hour midterm should not be completed in 30 min. i just wanted to get back in bed, i was high on drugs to be awake. so i'll retake that next week. i think on a good day i'd still only get a c but that's better than an f. but school has been interesting to say the least. i've sorta been a bad student, just depends on your point of view. so on the one side, i haven't been doing the amount of text book studying that one should be doing. i haven't really been studying the new words or dialogs or grammar, and haven't really been doing all the homework i should be doing. so on that end, i'm a bad student. but on the other hand , i've made friends with lots of native chinese kids and have been hanging out with them speaking as much chinese as i can. it works better for me personally and i gatta do me here. this way i learn practical listening, speaking, grammar, and vocab. the books are good for what they are but they don't teach spoken chinese. even the teachers admit to that. almost everyday we learn a new word in the book that the teacher tells us is never used. so i feel this way works better for me. but society requires you get a set of specific letters to determine if you learn anything or not so i promised omar, my director, that i would do an hour a day of book work. he was actually mad when i told him what i have been doing but he wasn't mad at me, he was mad at the system. he tried books when he was first starting out but didn't get anywhere until he met some chinese friends and started talking everyday. he thinks that is the best way to learn and encourages it, but, he understands that the system needs me to get a good grade. so he literally told me, his words, not mine, to do one hour of text book work a day, and when that clock strikes one hour, close the f--king book and go talk chinese. so that's what i've been doing...sorta. well i'm getting to it. i have a shit ton of hw i need to catch up on so the last few days i've been knocking out 3-4 hours a night of hard hw. we are in a new book, book 3 now, and i am still doing hw in book 2. so i'm trying to catch up on the homework aspect and then i'll do my one hour of actual text study a day. i'm hoping i can start that next week. oh i don't remember if i told you but i'm retaking the midterm next week as well so as of now book 2 is really the only book i want to be focusing on. i don't need more shit in my brain to forget. so as if that isn't enough, the real reason why its been an extra two weeks since i last said i'd update this is because on the day of my midterm, two weeks ago, my computer finally shit the bed. dead, done, gone. and if you were lucky enough to be familiar with my computer in the last 6 months (colin, bird, mom and alp) then you know how messed up its been. so ya it finally went. so all last week it was at the computer place getting fixed, and boy did they do a number on it. i mean i guess i'm happy it works but they ran out of english hard drives, english word, and memory devices. of course they didn't notify me of this until they finished it all and it was too late to go somewhere else. so now my hard drive, along with all my programs and ish are in chinese. i don't have word anymore. they luckily saved all my pics, docs, and music...but oh wait, they only gave me 4MB of memory in my computer so with all those things in zipped folders i have just enough room to download aim and skype. i literally have 1KB of memory on my computer at the moment and about every 5 min i get a balloon pop up saying reminding me i only have 1KB of memory left and should delete some ish. which means no more civilization!!! f--k my life. but one bonus is i can write in chinese now!! 现在我能写汉&#
23383;! i just said "now i can write in chinese!" so pretty cool. it also helps a bunch cuz lots of my chinese friends have skype and when i talk to them we can write in chinese back and forth. it helps me practice my reading and writing. its also nice because lots of times i forget how to write things, but i can recognize it if i see it. so this way i can write lots more then i can speak or write. so ya, that just about wraps up the last two weeks for me. i've been hanging out with this chinese girl and a japanese girl a lot lately. they are real cool kids and my chinese has been getting better since i've met them. the japanese girl doesn't speak any english, but can understand quite a bit. its actually kind of interesting. but she speaks pretty damn good chinese. shes in level 8 out of 9, so ya...i'm at 2-3. the chinese girl can speak pretty good english and can understand lots of japanese. so we make quite the trio. i'll ask the japanese girl something in chinese, she will answer to the chinese girl in chinese/japanese, and then the chinese girl will tell me what the japanese girl said in english. its pretty funny to see actually. but being around them really puts my chinese out there and really shows how horrible i am. its all good tho. like i said, i'm making some progress. not leaps and bounds, more like shuffles and trips, but thats better then nuttin. and if you had a chance to hear my chinese last semester you'd be proud of me. lets see prior to that there were a few weeks of school and hanging out with my chinese friends. we also finally moved into the new dorms. was it worth the wait? idk. the rooms are nicer, and its nice to have our language partners/roommates. we finally have internet as of a few days ago but its still sketchy. we still don't have hot water all the time, its only from 8pm to 8am. which is nice if you don't do anything all day and are a lazy ass bum, but like devon and i go play ball quite a bit. so by the time we are done playing at latest its 5-6pm. waiting for 2 plus (cuz it def does not come on right at 8) hours for hot water to shower when your sweaty, dirty, and hungry is not fun. the hotel was the same way but i went to the gym everyday so i just showed there. since i've been sick i haven't really been able to go. also, the weather over the past few weeks has been on and off (last friday it was 90, yesterday it was 34), but when its on we have playing some heavy basketball. so i've needed the shower lots more and its not there. we have also been promised lots of things, like fridge, hot water, internet, toaster/oven, lamps, light bulbs (we got one lamp for two rooms and no light bulbs...wtf)...and its been 3 weeks and we just got internet two days ago. prior to that we went on out trip to Gansu Province. that was quite the adventure. We went to a town called Xiahu, which is where the Tibetan riots broke out a few years back. Xiahu has one of the most important Monasteries to Tibetan Buddhists and it is the most important in China. We got to see that Monastery, as well go horse back riding with nomads in the grasslands. We checked out this really old city with this ancient pounded earth wall that we got to climb on top of. the view was amazing. we climbed (in the bus) up the mountains a few thousand feet until we hit this plateau of grasslands. it was very large and filled with goats, sheep, horses, cows, and yak just running around here and there. the scenery was amazing. the mountains looked amazing. we were about 9-10,000 feet up. on this plateau was the oldest Tibetan Monastery in China, about 900 years old. Most of it was destroyed in the 1950's when the Chinese invaded Tibet but its been rebuilt and restored. This was prolly the coolest part of the trip because for 1, we met and talked with a living Buddha. Buddhists believe in reincarnation, and they believe the Buddha is reincarnated in someone. Well this guy was believed to be one of the Buddha's reincarnated. that was pretty amazing to be apart of, talking to him and so forth. then the next highlight of the trip was we got to play basketball against the monks! that was tight. here i was, this delinquent kid from buxton, me, 9000ft up in the Himalayas playing basketball against Buddhist monks...not too shabby. after that the rest of the trip was a wash for me. i ended up getting sick and spent the next two days in Xiahe. Even tho i was sick i still tried to walk around the city and saw some pretty cool ish. overall it was a pretty good trip. i do have pics but like i said, all my pics are in a zipped folder so i just need to find the time to get them out and uploaded. i've got a very busy schedule and when i have had free time the internet has sucked so hopefully since the internet is working better now i can do that sometime soon. i might have time later next week or next weekend. no promises tho. but that wraps up what you've all been missing. i'm sure i'm missing ish since its been a good month since i've last updated but this was the best i could do. tomorrow we are going to Yan'an for the weekend. that is about 6-8 hours north of Xi'an i'm pretty sure. its where the communist revolution started and really flourished in china. its where mao and all the chinese communist leaders lived and where all the troops were trained and indoctrinated. its still the most loyal place in china for ccp rule. basically this should be really cool. i wanted to get up there anyways so this is a bonus getting it all paid for. timing isn't best cuz i really do have lots of ish to get done this weekend in particular, but i gatta do what i gatta do. this is a great opportunity, my book report due monday, my capstone write up, my capstone questions for my interviewees on tuesday, my lesson plan for the kid i tutor on wed, my homework that i'm 3 chps behind on can all wait. they are irrelevant. lol, if only. but on that note i'm gunna go get some muslim food, go to the cafe and get some homework done, then come back and pack since we leave at 830am tomorrow. enjoy! 慢走!