Seriously. This morning, a mere 9 hours after my last dancing fix, I found myself on the search again. This time, I was acting on a tip from some friends who said they knew of a place, by West Gate. I got up early – only the hope of dancing could get me out of bed at 7:30 – and set off.
Anyway, I found the place alright, although I arrived too late to join in the dancing. There were about 20 people dancing, including one man that I recognized from last night. After the music stopped, he came over to say hi, which I thought was nice. There was also a whole gaggle of women who surrounded me, asking me where I was from, if I could dance, and if I was going to come every day (if only). I have morning class on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but we’ll see about Tuesdays and Thursdays . . .
Getting up so early gave me a lot of time this morning, so I continued working on my new Mechanics textbook. I’m still on the table of contents, but I’ve learned a lot of useful words so far: statics, stress, couple, plane, space, friction, center of gravity, axis, tension, compression, torsion, bending, strength, and fatigue.
When I come down from class in the evenings, I usually find a gaggle of foreigners and tag along with one group or another for dinner. Today there wasn’t really anyone hanging around, and I was feeling kind of bummed at the prospect of dinner alone. I made a few phone calls, though, and was soon feeling better as I walked to dinner with a group of friends, connected in many and varied ways.
We ate 麻辣燙 (numbingly spicy soup) which was, surprisingly, neither numbingly hot nor soup. We selected from an array of speared vegetables, meats, and mystery items, and they were cooked (possibly in some numbingly spicy soup?). It was really good, and quite cheap – dinner for under $1.
Chinese Corner was going on as we passed by the park with the statue (shown below in the daylight).
I joined my Dutch friend Aleid and three Chinese girls who are studying to be Chinese teachers. We had a good conversation – all in Chinese, of course – that included Aleid and I complaining about how hardworking XiaDa students are (they agreed). We also discussed the letter ü, which is, in my opinion, the hardest sound in the Chinese language. The best instructions I’ve been given as to making the sound is to make the “eeeee” sound while forming your mouth to make an “ooooo” sound. It’s pretty hard for me and also makes me feel ridiculous while trying. Anyway, I was happy to come home and read this article, which attempts to make a connection between facial expressions and mood. The author’s theory is that as smiling is generally accepted to improve one’s mood, there may be a connection between the prominent vowels in a language (which determine the most frequent facial gestures) and the general mood of the culture. Her prime example is German’s ü and their dourness, but I wonder if China’s ü and my feelings of silliness are connected as well.
On the way back to the campus, I stopped to buy some fruit. I had to get ingredients for the sangria I’m planning for this weekend, and also needed to get a fix of my other obsession – the mystery fruit of a few days ago.
Turns out, it’s a 柚子, or pomelo. Like I said, it’s a little bit more sour than an orange, but much sweeter than a grapefruit. It’s almost the size of my head, and has a thick, cushy peel. The fruit is so large and sturdy that it’s possible to completely peel down to the pulp, which stays intact. When I eat oranges, I spend ridiculous amounts of time painstakingly removing every bit of whiteness that I can, but this fruit is a dream to peel.
And then of course, you get to eat it, which is also a dream.