Argh! I just lost my post. From now on, I promise to always write my posts in a text editor first, so that I don’t have to scream when I lose everything. Sigh. So, here’s my re-write:
Well, as I start writing it’s 15 minutes before China plays in (for?) the World Cup. From my window, I can hear a lot more activity than normal. All but one of my roommates has dolled up and gone out. I would like to go explore or hunt down some acquaintances, but I’ve managed to put off my homework. So, here I am.
My big adventure yesterday was making my way to/from the hospital to pick up the results of my health exam. It took my forever to find the place, but because my roommate helped me locate it on my map I managed to get off at the right bus stop. I cannot express what miracle that was! From there, however, I took a couple wrong turns. There happened to be a police station right at my bus stop, so I decided to go see if I at least had my bearings. I can ASK for directions, but I cannot necessarily UNDERSTAND directions. After a lot of discussion among three of the officers, they tell me yes, yes, it’s not far, just go straight this way and you’ll see a sign. I was lost for maybe 2 hours, but happy to have a look around. There’s always something to see. I gave up at one point, realizing I was headed in the wrong direction, and flagged down a cab, but he was baffled by the hospital’s business card with its little map. I retraced my steps and found I turned too early. I found the sign (“secondary road”) and my turn. Soon enough, there it was!
Unfortunately, I arrived right in the middle of their enormously long lunch “hour” so I had to wait around for another hour and a half. I wasn’t the only one though. The lobby had a handful of other people waiting around. I suspect that’s because the office hours are listed incorrectly on the hospital’s business card. Thankfully, they opened a little early and I had no problem retrieving my documents.
In addition to reconfirming that I am HIV-negative and generally healthy, I was happy to learn that my blood type is “O” — the universal donor. Now I just have to get over my fear of needles, so that I can donate blood. The last (and only) time I tried to give blood, I instantly got light-headed and they stopped. A couple of days later, I got a “thank you” in the mail from Red Cross. I felt silly.
Today, I had a great time telling my teacher about all this. Du4 Lao3shi1 (the stern but extra attentive teacher) was very receptive when I proposed that I try to speak more by preparing a little speech for each class. I wrote a narrative about my weekend in pinyin and read it aloud. She seemed amused, and helped me correct my pronunciation, grammar, and word-choice. After that, she asked me to put everything away and have a chat. This was also good. We’ll try it again tomorrow. I also want to try to record my speaking drills. I brought my (Jeremy’s) digital recorder today, but I couldn’t get it to work. When I got home I replaced the batteries. That might fix it. I only got a minute and a half recorded today. Not enough!
I spent Sunday night drinking beer and watching the World Cup with a couple of Chinese students that are attending my same university, Yunnan Normal University. We spoke a lot of broken English and as much Chinese as I could muster, which wasn’t much. Li2Xiang4Hua2 is just about to graduate and return to his hometown to become a math teacher. He introduced me to his friend – who’s name escapes me just now – and she is in her second year majoring in tourism. Not surprisingly, her English is pretty good, but very formal. I suspect Xiang4Hua2 of trying to romance me, despite me continuously mentioning my boyfriend. He’s a little fanatical about text messaging me, so I just turned off my phone today. I think I’m just socially-challenged.
On the other hand, I’m getting better at communicating with my roommate, Mogu. I was able to make a little smalltalk today. She told me that digital cameras are very cheap here, so I shouldn’t have any trouble finding a camera to take some pictures for my mom. Last night, she let me watch a movie from her DVD collection. I decided on “the Hours” — the “ugly Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolfe” movie. My roommate thought this was a poor choice, and she managed to find the English word: “boring.” I said I think I might like the boring one. In the end I liked it alright. I read the book, and it pretty much followed it scene for scene.
Ok, I’m off to study just a little more before bed.