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09 November 2007 @ 01:20 am
 
I think little Ruyi is getting more comfortable with me because he's more prone to acting hyper during lessons. I guess he figures I'm not such a hard-ass and like having fun with him, so now he often tries to run off and get me to catch him. It makes it a little harder to actually teach him stuff, but when he does focus, he can learn pretty well. I decided to incorporate a little play into teaching so he wouldn't be too bored, so I taught him how to say "pick me up," "put me down," and "let me go." I guess that last phrase is pretty useful if he ever goes to an English speaking country and gets accosted, so good thing I taught it to him. I finally learned that he's 6, which was within my estimated range. He reminds me a lot of myself when I was that age taking piano lessons, just because even though we could probably learn more if we wanted to, we just both didn't want to concentrate that much and were both really hyper.

He's really cute, though, and it's kind of a stress reliever to spend some time with him. It's almost like having a little brother or something. He's a little bit of a smart aleck, too, like when someone came up to me during a lesson and asked me for a light, I said to Ruyi "Don't smoke, it's really bad for your health." He then pointed to the bottle of Diet Coke in my hand and said "I don't like smoking, but drinking cola every day can't be good for your health, either."

I'm really enjoying Changquan class, too, I realize I haven't written too much about it. I think my main problem dealing with it is that I don't have the same kind of flexibility I used to have in middle school when I did karate all the time. Changquan has a lot of really low, long stances that can be hard on the hip adductor and abductor muscles, as well as high, fast kicks, and lots of jumps. I finally finished learning this rather long form this week, that involves multiple jumps and leaping kicks. It's too bad I don't have more time to learn this and perfect it, because it would be really good for my speed and agility. At the very least I already had the foundation of basic martial arts techniques so I didn't have to waste too much time learning those. I also wish the trip in Shanghai hadn't taken away time from me being able to study it, as well. I have, however, managed to improve my ability to do this jumping spin kick that the teacher showed us last week. When I first tried it, I kept slipping or falling, or otherwise not getting it right, I guess because we learned it near the end of class and I was tired, but then, this week, I tried it, and it was a whole lot easier. It's a really neat-looking technique, maybe when I get back to Miami I can try and learn to incorporate it into my pro wrestling repertoire.

I am feeling really burnt out on class right now. I really just do not feel like going to class or studying anymore, it's like my willingness has simply disappeared. I feel bad that we just have not had the chance to go out into the city and explore, because most people apparently are spending so much time studying (or playing Starcraft). Even if I have time to go out, I usually can't find someone to do it with me. The only times we get to see Beijing are on our mandatory scheduled activities it seems, and that sucks. I miss how in Japan everybody would be willing right after class to go explore some portion of the city, or how on weekends we'd have plenty of time to do so ourselves. I feel caged in, and now with this group project due at the end of the term, and the Luoyang/Xian trip coming up, I won't even have that much time to budget potentially going out and exploring with Denise or anybody else. I haven't really made any Chinese friends at all, either. In fact, the only two non-Dartmouth BNU students I've managed to get to know are Japanese. We're just too isolated from the actual Chinese students here. We're not forced to assimilate the same way we were in Japan, and even Fei laoshi has commented that that's a big flaw in the program.

It's also kind of a hindrance to exploration when you have to either go by super-crowded buses or by relatively more expensive taxis, instead of a nice, decently cheap and well-developed rail system like in Tokyo that can take you pretty much anywhere. Traffic jams can render going to some places completely impractical in the time frame that you have.

I think in the end, I think I still like Japan more, just to answer the question I get so much, but I can never be fully sure if my opinion is liking the country Japan more than the country China, or liking the Japan LSA+ than the China FSP.

I am just really, really ready to come back to the US. I need time to just recover and rest and not have so much stuff to worry about. Thank God I'm taking this next term off and not doing the "suicide six" like some do. I'd probably end up explicitly showing why they call it that.
 
 
 
(Anonymous) on November 9th, 2007 12:32 pm (UTC)
Almost done
You are in the final stretch and will be back home in just a few more days.
Hang in there!

casstawal
Friday 9 November 2007
stormiegs on November 9th, 2007 03:25 pm (UTC)
exploring
Maybe you can find a bicyle to use for a while, like many of the Chinese? I hope you can finish your project early enough that you can explore. Remember, however, that you are in a country where things, especially foreigners, are more restricted than in Japan. It probably would be very difficult to get the Chinese government to approve your visas if they thought you were going to be living with Chinese families picked by Dartmouth, and I doubt you would want to live with a family picked by the government. This is an example, I think, of how a repressive government permeates a culture so that everything is more difficult and people are not as open.