After class finished this morning at 11:30, it was officially the weekend! Unfortunately, it’s the shortest weekend I’ve ever had – just one day. It’s just funny because my work load at TU as an engineering student was absolutely ridiculous to the amount of class and homework that I have here, and sometimes it felt like I had no weekend, but at least I always had two days of no class.
I’m looking forward to the weekend, but I must confess that I’m pretty frustrated right now. I feel like I’m wasting a lot of time on the internet – not doing the things that I want to do, but trying to do the things I want to do. After trying several options – websites that reroute individual sites, downloaded programs, VPNs, etc. – I thought I had finally found a solution a few days ago. A friend told me about a site and, after registering, I was immediately able to get on WordPress, Facebook, and the Onion. Things were great for two days or so, but now I can no longer sign on. Also, my Skype account was hacked – the password was changed without my knowledge and I have very little hope of getting it back. I can’t be sure, but I certainly suspect that one of these proxies was not as secure as it should have been.
Then yesterday I figured out how to use the TU VPN, which should theoretically let me access the internet as if I were at Tulsa. I was able to get to my journal perfectly and even managed to watch the first episode of The Office, Season 6. Today, it’s not working and even some sites that I used to be able to access aren’t available. So yeah, I’m frustrated. Not only can I not do the things that I want to, but I’m also starting to get concerned about my security online. I finally decided to pay for a VPN service – $60 for the whole year – and am tentatively pleased with it . . .
After that frustrating afternoon, I went in search of a library. It was a good expedition from the start, as I ran into both a friend from English Corner whose phone number I never got, and to Jerry, my 小朋友 (little friend, one of the kids I’m ‘tutoring’). I got on a new bus, #15, and headed north. The library was much further than I thought, in a totally different part of town than I’d been in. It seemed more residential and corporate . . . I don’t know if those words mean what I want them to mean, but it seemed to consist largely of huge apartment towers and big office buildings, with much less of the sketchy-but-sometimes-delicious restaurants every few feet.
Following the sound of music and the sight of a ton of people wearing the same thing, I came upon a taijichuan rehearsal. Every city in China is going to have a huge National Day celebration, and I had discovered the rehearsal!
They had grandmas doing taiji and little kids doing martial arts. It was quite the community event, and while I was the only foreigner watching, I was by no means alone. It definitely made me a little bit sad that I’m going to miss China’s celebration, but frankly not quite enough to make me want to spend my longest break of the school year in Xiamen.
I’m glad that there was something going on in the area because it was quite a long bus ride and the library is – you guessed it – closed only on Friday afternoons.
The bus ride back was notable because I saw my first traffic accident in China! It took place right in the middle of an intersection, stopping traffic in all four directions for about 15 minutes. It took about that long for the police to arrive, too. I wish I had some pictures of the ridiculous positions that some cars got themselves into, but if you would like to see for yourself, I suggest this video.
Leinira and I went back to The Key tonight, and checked out a nearby club as well. Here’s what I learned tonight: Crocs are perfectly acceptable clubbin’ wear, and chicken feet must go well with alcohol and dancing. Who knew??