I love Mondays. They’re the perfect slow day for recovering from full weekends. I had class this morning at 8, but didn’t bother getting dressed or anything until afterwards. (Class, by the way, was kind of interesting today in that a Thai classmate fainted – according to our teacher, this was because we was wearing too little and hadn’t eaten breakfast. I think not wearing enough and not eating breakfast are probably the leading causes of death in China!)
I went to malatang for lunch with Eunice and XuLei, where we continued our boy talking from the beach. I had told them about this Chinese guy that I kind of like, and had some new info to share with them. We added each other on QQ (Chinese Skype), and I found his profile kind of interesting:
I want a normal healthy girl, one who can make fried egg-and-tomato, who can work a washing machine, who still has some freckles on her cheeks, who blushes when she meets strangers, who knows how much a bottle of soy sauce costs, who would help me wash rice if I brought a big bag home. Are these requirements too high? If there really is such a girl with such a spirit, please give me one!
XuLei thinks he’s good-looking, liked his description of the ideal woman, and nearly fits it (as long as he doesn’t have height requirements, she joked). Maybe I should just set them up . . . I’m not really sure what to think about it. I think the utter Chinese-ness of it is hilarious, with the 西红柿炒蛋 requirement and mentions of soy sauce and rice. But I’m taken aback that he’s so frank about his desire for a woman who can cook and do laundry! According to XuLei, though, this guy has much better standards than most. The average Chinese guy is looking for a beautiful elegant wife who can cook and clean and make money, is good with computers – and is willing to overlook his affairs. Umm . . . no.
By the way, if I ever do decide to pursue a Chinese guy, we’ve figured out the perfect pickup line. All you do is go up to the guy and casually ask “qíngwěn”. If you say the tones correctly, it means “Can I kiss you?” (请吻), but the much more common use of those two syllables (with different tones) is “qǐngwèn”, which means “Can I ask a question?” (请问). If he’s interested, then he may catch your meaning; if he’s not, then he’ll just figure you messed up the tones and meant to ask a question. Ah, for once a fun use of tones!
I took a nap after lunch. It was amazing, with great sleeping weather (rainy and slightly cold outside, the sun’s brightness mitigated by the clouds) and a full belly. And then I was woken up by the sound of tornados approaching.
Well, at least that what I, born and bred in Tornado Alley, figured was going on. Crazy loud sirens – wailing up and down, up and down – right outside my window = tornado, obviously, or possibly some other natural disaster. But which one? Earthquake (get outside), tsunami (stay on the 4th floor), fire (run away from it)? I could see people from my window, none of whom looked remotely concerned, so as the sirens continued, I started making phone calls. I eventually found out that it was an air-raid siren, a test that they do this every year on this day. Wonderful. I freak out momentarily at noon on the first Wednesday of every month when they test the tornado sirens in Oklahoma, so this nearly caused a heart attack! The sirens continued for well over a half-hour, which seemed kind of excessive considering that it only took 30 seconds for me to be absolutely positive that they were working just fine.
Not exactly the best way to be woken up from a nap – Reminder! Taiwan is just across the strait and we have never technically ruled out the possibility of a forcible takeover! – but it did succeed in getting me out of bed when my cell phone alarm didn’t.
After making it through all of my flashcards, I tackled another element of my daily study routine: a Question of the Day from the Fundamentals Exam, the first test on the way to becoming a professional engineer. I found the site a few weeks ago and hoped that it could help me keep the scientific part of my brain from irreversible atrophy. I’ve done pretty well (especially considering I tackle all of the questions without textbooks or a graphing calculator, essentials you don’t truly appreciate until they’re on another continent).
But the last two days’ questions have been regarding beams in loading and have utterly stumped me. This is beyond depressing, as beams in loading is to mechanical engineering what multiplication is to mathematics – so fundamental it ought not need review. I remember graphs of . . . stuff (two of them in fact) and an equation that contained . . . letters. That’s about all I got. The hint mentioned something about a moment of inertia, which actually wasn’t much of a hint, as I can’t remember how to calculate it or what to do with it. It’s like my Spanish, all over again – still in there, but I can’t get it to come out on cue for the life of me!
This evening I found a bunch more articles of interest:
- A Chinese article on Bishop Cai’s ordination – in Chinese, but it has a lot of really great pictures!
- The Union of Catholic Asian News story on the ordination – including more numbers (2,000 participants), details on the participation of the local underground church, and a little bit of information on Bishop Cai’s life and vocation.
- The CathNews Asia article on the implications of the ordination and the possible of many many more double-mandate ordinations to come in the next few months!
- An old article on the status of the other Fujian bishop, currently illegitimate but apparently hoping for the approval of the Pope.
- An even older article on the death of the last bishop of Xiamen – the first native bishop – back in 1991. He was illegitimate (without papal approval) but apparently suffered from poor health due torture sustained during the Cultural Revelation. Hearing things like this makes me understand why Pope Benedict has called for mutual understanding between the official and underground churches here – it’s certainly not as simple as the good guys and the bad guys. Also in the article, Fr. Jiang (the older priest here, now 65 according to their info) said that he was taking care of the church and “didn’t know the arrangements for a new episcopal election.” I wonder if he ever thought they would wait 20 years?
- This article about Cardinal Sin, which I found interesting mainly because it’s a really unfortunate name for a cardinal, no?
- This slideshow (kind of random) of Russian vets. Definitely check out number 14, who is basically like my Grandpa Garibay, only Russian.