Maria Holland


In Uncategorized on August 29, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Yesterday afternoon, I took my placement test. First I had to read some passages out loud. I didn’t understand any of the first one, because I only knew about half of the words; the second one was something about parking cars; and I finally understood the third one, about eating some kind of food in Beijing in the winter because it’s cold.

Then I went on to the written test. I accidentally started out on the second part, which was way over my head. Out of the 30 questions, I knew about 6 of them. When I figured out that I had skipped part 1, I did slightly better, but still only knew about half. It was definitely discouraging, but I guess it is a placement test, so hopefully I will be placed well.

Last night I went karaoking (?) with the UNC group. Next time I go I would like to go with some Chinese people, and I won’t cross it off my Chinese Bucket List until then. It was fun, but thanks to Amy taking excellent care of us, we were almost completely isolated from interactions in Chinese, even in the taxis, which have historically been very fruitful practice times for me.

It was my first time off campus really, and it was at night to boot. I feel very country-mouse-y because Xiamen is huge and bright and shiny and busy compared to even Yanji, which is the closest thing I have to a comparison. My favorite thing is probably the highways, which are made out of (or at least covered with) a shiny white material, and accented with a thin strip of lights along the bottom. They wind around each other a little bit, and it feels almost magical when you go underneath or next to another one.

I was hoping to finish up registration this morning with the help of Amy, the UNC Chinese assistant. But they went on a tour of Xiamen this morning and now it’s time for the 3-hour lunch break where nothing can get done.

While waiting for Amy to call, I continued with my cell phone learning experience. I’m trying to figure out text messaging, which would probably be easier if I ever did it in America. My favorite find of this morning is the “范本”(literally, example book) option. It’s a collection of commonly-sent texts that you can use. I especially like them because I can read most of them. There’s one that says “我在开会,晚些给你打电话”(I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you a little bit later). Another says “我XX点到”(I’ll be there at X:00). The last two options are really funny to me, though: “我也爱你!” and “生日快乐!” (I love you too! and Happy Birthday!, respectively). If these exist on phones in America, then I hate texting even more.

I just came over to the wang ba and was absolutely delighted as I walked out of my room. Especially yesterday, my glasses fogged up every time I left my air-conditioned room for the sweltering hallway. (Here in Xiamen, only individual rooms are air-conditioned; while it is uncomfortable sometime, I appreciate it from a conservation standpoint. Not so much with the open doors to said air-conditioned rooms, though). Anyway, my glasses didn’t fog up! It’s actually decent outside! As one of my UNC friends said yesterday, it’s pretty much necessary to take a shower whenever you’re not currently taking a shower, but today I managed to walk down to the wang ba without becoming utterly repulsive even to myself. This is good! According to, it is currently 91 with a heat index of 109 (70% humidity), but yesterday the heat index was 115, so I guess that’s progress.

Other things of note in the wang ba: I’m constantly in a flashback here, as the music selection is best defined as “All Boy Bands, All the Time”. When I came in, it was “Larger Than Life”, and now we’re on to “Everybody”. Also, I saw a t-shirt with Chinese characters on it! In case you didn’t know, this is extremely rare in a country where clothing with English is insanely popular.


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