Been here four months. Notable accomplishment: I can speak a little chinese (still illiterate).
I made a list of chinese words that I know today..it's the picture to the right. Pretty crazy how much of this alien language I've figured out. The best I can do these days is say VERY basic sentences. Most of the words on this list were written because I know the chinese character for them, but I wrote a few down so that I could practice recognizing the characters that are more complex. It's kinda funny...there are a few characters that I do recognize, but don't know the chinese word for. For example, the character for "entrance" looks like a box. Also note that all of these words that you see have a tone associated with each syllable. This is not indicated on the words to the right, I'm not sure how to write that on a computer yet.
As of yesterday, my vacation officially started. It took so long to finish grading all of the exams. There were 43 students, each with 9 total pages of tests to correct. Then there was the oral portion of the exam, and the essay part of the exam. The oral part was about an 8 minute session with each student, asking them simple questions where they'd have to use their brain to come up with a logical response to a question. I felt like a blade runner, asking ridiculous hypothetical questions to determine if my students were robots or humans. The written part was a 100 word paragraph about a basic topic. This shouldn't have been that hard, and for some it wasn't, but still. For some it was awful. UGH.
I caught three students cheating. They honestly must think I'm an idiot. Their tests were identical. Even the questions that asked for a short answer had word-for-word identical responses. They definitely weren't the only ones cheating either, just the most obvious. I guess it's unfair that because they were the suckiest cheaters, they get the shaft. When they come back, they're gettin a "stern talking to" by Mr. Jenkins. I have no idea how to address this problem. I really don't want to lose the friendly ambience I think my classroom has, but at the same time, this cheating crap is an insult. Sometimes I feel like my job is the ultimate fatherhood training job. Sidenote: only about 1/3 of my students answered the following question correctly: "What is a sentence?"
Enough about work. Right now in China is the Spring Festival. The Spring Festival is the equivalent of our Christmas break; people go home to their families and have big dinners to celebrate the coming of spring and the new year. By the way, the Chinese new year is in a little more than a week. Not sure what I'm doing yet, but I'll let you know. I don't have any plans for the break yet. I was going to go to Xi'an, because I really want to see the terra cotta warriors of qin shi huang di's tomb... but I need to go with someone who can speak chinese. I don't think I have enough of a rapport with anyone here yet to ask if they want to go somewhere like that.
It's ok. Wuhan is a kickass place that I want to explore a little more. Check out this place I found the other day. Nerd alert. I also haven't seen Huang He Lou, which is basically the symbol of Wuhan. I mean, the highest price and therefore best cigarettes are called "Huanghelou." There is also a theory going around that, because the number of unemployed migrant workers is increasing, there's a greater danger to people traveling around China (especially white people who are rich as hell). Right now is obviously a busy travel season, so I guess it makes sense. By now though, most people are home with their folks, eating big dinners and whatnot. Pretty funny that, two weeks ago during the Christmas break, everyone was throwing down in karaoke bars and nightclubs.
Only six months left. Still not really sure what my story is.