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01 December 2007 @ 02:26 am
Well, my last week in China is done. I go home Monday.

Chinese class was intentionally easy, I think, this week, being it was the last week and we had to worry about our group presentation for Fei laoshi's class on Tuesday and Thursday. The texts we went over had very few new characters and were pretty easy to understand. On Thursday, though, we had to do a 10-minute presentation of a newspaper or magazine article of our choosing. We just basically had to teach it to the class like our regular texts, introducing and explaining the new vocabulary words we learned and giving a general explanation of the article. This served as the final oral grade, as the test we took on Friday itself had no oral component.

It was actually pretty cool that, although the article was short, and I needed the assistance of an electronic dictionary for a few words, I was able to read and understand a newspaper article in Chinese. Newspaper reading I think is a normal standard of literacy in Chinese and Japanese, so being able to understand any part of a newspaper feels like an achievement for me. I still have a long way to go before I can read a whole newspaper, though. But at least I know my Chinese has improved. I feel overall it has improved a LOT, the jump to third year really helped.

The presentation for Fei Laoshi's class went well. We had to give a 40-minute presentation on different topics, and our group was Beijing consumer culture, focusing on the shopping centers Wangfujing and Xidan. We basically gave a chronological introspective on the development and different roles consumer culture has played in Beijing and China in general and how it has interacted with communism, etc. As most of you know, I can talk. I talk a lot, and many people think I just can't stop talking, so oral presentation is something that I don't have a lot of trouble with, so usually whatever is lacking in the substance of a presentation, I make up for in just trying to be an active and engaging speaker. Fei laoshi was filming the presentations, and he had to remind me several times to not walk out of frame because I move around when I talk. It helps keep people's attention. Anyway, we ended up getting a 93 out of 100, but then again, everybody got an A. Whatever.

I gave Ruyi his last lesson, too. His mother ended up giving me a present which was a BNU keychain (she's a teacher at BNU herself) and something I think is a bookmark. That was nice of her, I didn't expect it at all, and wish I had prepared something for her as well. Anyway, I decided to focus instead of trying to teach him something new, I'd just focus on testing him on everything he learned, which was mostly numbers, colors, and a few nouns. I turned it into a game since he liked getting picked up so much, where if he could correctly tell me how to say things like "5 red books" or "6 orange tigers" in English, I'd pick him up then put him back down.

After the lesson was done, I walked him to the library where he was going to wait for his mom, and decided I'd give him some parting words about how he should continue studying English hard since it's going to be really important in the future for people to know English and all that stuff. It probably went in one ear and out the other, though, since he's 6 and stuff. It's so funny that I've learned that despite my level and his age and being a native speaker, he knows Chinese I don't know and I know Chinese that he doesn't know. I guess it's just a matter of what you learn first. I'm gonna miss that kid, I hope he remembers me.

So last night, we had our Chinese table as usual, but got handed our special certificates of "graduation" from the program. Then, in the evening, we had a farewell/thanking the teachers party at this really nice restaurant in the Sanlituan area that had really nice pizza and equally nice Belgian beer that was all on Dartmouth's tab. I actually got to spend a good deal of time talking with my teachers just in a casual setting, which was nice, a good way to end the whole deal. before going out and hanging out with friends some more.

Now I am just in this limbo state, done with all my activities, but not having to go home yet. I don't want to start packing two whole days early, so I'm trying to see what other people are doing. A lot of people don't leave until Monday, too, so I'll see how everyone else is spending the weekend. I want to try and spend these last days doing stuff and not spending too much time just dwelling on how much I'm going to miss everything.
(Anonymous) on December 1st, 2007 04:12 am (UTC)
In time, everything arrives
Glad your school activities went well and ended well. We are very eager to see you back in Coral Gables Monday night. Have a great flight back from Beijing.