The TU Schedule of Courses for Fall 2010 has been released online. It’s like a window into another world, located in both my past and my future, but completely absent in my present. I have to take Mechanical Control Systems and Mechanical Engineering Design next semester, and will probably take Engineering Economics and Writing for the Professions because I’m running out of semesters to put them off to. The class titles sound about as weird right now as Chinese Newspaper Reading probably would have sounded last year!
I have a little bit of freedom as to what else I’ll take, because the other two main courses required to complete my major aren’t offered until next spring. There’s an economics course I’ve been interested in since last year (Resources and the Environment) and I’d like to continue studying Chinese, but I haven’t figured out what to do with those courses. Audit, Pass/Fail, or actually take the for a grade? I think if I take Resources and the Environment for credit, I might end up with an economics minor. I don’t think I want a minor in economics, though – I’m scared that someone might think expect me to know things about the field.
In fact, I’m way less into pieces of paper and the writing on them than I was last year. None of the math courses look interesting again this semester (not surprising; I mean, how could any class match up to Calc III with O’Neil or Partial Differential Equations with Constanda?), so maybe I won’t ever take that last class to get my math minor. I used to be disappointed that TU doesn’t have a Chinese Department that could give me a major or even minor in Chinese, but deep down I know that ability to communicate effectively is only tenuously related to a certificate or diploma, so I’m over that. Anyways, if language learning in America is as boring as I remember it being, then I won’t want to continue studying at any rate.
In a continuation of planning for the future, I took a look at flights home. I’m don’t want to leave early (although apparently it’s totally fine if we skip finals) so I’m thinking of leaving the Monday after finals. It will probably still be a while before I book the ticket. Buying plane tickets is probably second only to getting my hair cut on the list of things I irrationally loathe. Planes are wonderful ways of getting to other places, but at the time of purchase I can only think of them as ways of leaving the place I’m currently in. What’s making this plane ticket exceptionally hard to buy is that, unlike usual, I don’t know when I’ll be returning to this place that I think of as ‘my island’. Ever since my first trip to China in 2007, the next trip was practically planned before leaving, and I had a rough idea of when I would be coming back. But I have one more year of undergrad followed, most likely, by grad school, and I don’t know when time, money, and purpose will come together in the perfect combination for me to jet on over to China. Anyway, the country’s huge so who’s to say I would come back to Xiamen and it’s changing so fast that who’s to say I’d even recognize it?
This afternoon, Aleid took me over to ZhongShan Lu to a street market she had found. We bought some fried sweet potatoes and fresh mango juice and wandered the street enjoying the characteristic smell of 臭豆腐 (literally, “Stinky Tofu”). At the end of the street is a Uighur stand, where a few young guys in their traditional clothing rocked out to some [possibly Indian] music and flirted madly with us foreign women. Apparently it is not just me who attracts their attention; one of them regularly tells Aleid that he loves her! Our meal of warm flat-bread and slightly spicy lamb skewers was amazing – if I could bring one business to America, this would probably be it.
Back on campus, one of our friends was having the second meeting of her international film club. We watched a Korean film (“Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring”) and then discussed it. I enjoyed the movie but not the discussion, mainly due to one woman who, despite stating that she was not a Christian, seemed intent on misrepresenting every basic tenant of Christianity. Next week – a movie from Nepal!