Dear Family and Friends
Some interesting things happened this week. I had an “interview” in Chinese, went to an East Asian language department reception, went to the zoo, toured the Ohio capital State House, and pulled up kudzu for the first time in my life. Interested yet?
My “interview” was on Wednesday. It was the closest we would get to having an exam in intensive chinese. To grind it down to the basics, I had to go through a real life scenario with one of the Chinese teacher trainees, pretending I was on a train to Shanghai. I had to make conversation, answer questions, and do various things on cue (like offering her my second bottle of water after seeing hers was empty) that we had learned about in our lessons. Overall it was easier than I thought it would be, and it all went so fast that it seemed to be over before I had time to be worried about it. I did make some mistakes of course, but I got a good grade and the teachers said I did well. It was actually a lot of fun once I had forgotten it was a test.
Thursday was the last day of the Chinese and Japanese teacher trainee program, so at 4:00 PM there was a reception and everybody from the East Asian language department and its various programs was invited. There were about 60 0r 70 people there, Chinese, Japanese, American, and other (probably a few Taiwanese and Koreans thrown in for flavor). The department ordered some yummy oriental finger food (crab ragoon, egg rolls, chicken), and some normal sandwiches for the less adventurous. I had a good time talking with some Chinese T.T.s (teacher trainees, now no longer trainees, since they finished their program), and discussing japanese animation with various classmates and teachers.
Friday we had off (yeah! dancing in the streets), and I had been plotting since last week to do something in Columbus and get to know the city better. I decided on going to the zoo. Since I’m an OSU student, I can ride any public transportation absolutely free, and I got a half off coupon for the zoo. The zoo was very enjoyable, mainly because I was by myself and didn’t have to worry about staying with or keeping up with anyone. I always did dislike going places in big groups with a few haggard grown-ups trying to keep track of us all. The animals were interesting, and for once I had enough time (all day) to go slowly and read all the information about the various species. My favorites included the reptile house (all those snakes reminded me of Harry Potter, I almost tried talking to one), and the pheasant aviary (did you know the ring-necked pheasant, also called the American pheasant, is native to China and was only brought over here for hunting purposes?). Another favorite was the American songbird aviary where I saw two adorable bob-whites (quail) sunning themselves in the leaves. They reminded me of home, though sadly the bob-whites on our farm have almost disappeared due to over hunting and poaching.
When I finally returned to Columbus (the zoo was about 30 minutes to the west), I decided to tour the State House, since the bus stop was on the same block. The Ohio State House is very large and very beautiful, but I definitely like Kentucky’s better. I really like how in the KY state house, while sitting in the Speaker of the House seat, you can see all they way across the building (provided the correct doors are open) to the seat of the Pro tempore of the Senate. For some weird reason, the Ohio St. House seemed more southern to me than the KY St. House, though neither of them should be very southern at all. Maybe you should just go see it your self, and visit me while you’re up here!
Saturday I spent about five hours gardening at Mr. Pettibone’s house. To my horror I found a patch of kudzu around the west side of the house and promptly uprooted it, bringing its evil reign to an timely end. I hate kudzu, it absolutely takes over and destroys everything around it, smothering the life out of whatever it touches. Fortunately, it comes up easy, unlike the even more annoying morning glory vine. Morning glory, though not as expansive and fast growing as kudzu, is nevertheless much harder to get rid of.
A little update on Jerah’s family. Her grandmother died Tuesday night. They had a funeral, and Mr. Pettibone got home on Friday. Jerah, her mother and her brother are staying in New Jersey to settle Norma’s affairs (house, possessions, etc). I think Jerah will be getting home sometime next week.
Well, thats all for now. Just two more weeks and I’ll be home, so hopefully I’ll see most of you sunday after next. I pray everybody is doing well, I look forward to hearing from you.