Dear family and friends,
I hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving. I am thinking about whether or not to write during Christmas break, and I think I will at least twice, since break is all of December. I have one final left, Arabic, which is at 7:30 AM on Monday morning. This, contrary to some expectations, is not early for me, since I usually get up at 6:30 anyway. It is a problem, however, for many of my classmates, who are used to sleeping till 10 am, or getting up to go to a class and then going back to sleep again. After my final I’ll be done with school and homeward bound.
This being the last week of classes, a lot of parties and various celebrations went on. Thursday night I went to my Arabic club meeting. A girl named Nora generously offered to do a presentation on Tunisia, since her family is from there. She and her mom cooked some wonderful food which we feasted on while she was talking. Tunisia is a very interesting country; it is a mix of many different cultures since it has been controlled by so many people over the ages. I found the Tunisian dialect especially interesting. It is a pretty even mix of French and Arabic (Tunisia was a French colony at one time). When we listened to a video clip, it was very funny to hear all these french words, most of which I understood, intermixed with arabic words, most of which I did not understand. It was amazing, though, to hear how similar french and arabic sound and how well they seem to flow together.
Friday night I went out with 11 of my classmates and 3 of my teachers from my Chinese speaking and writing classes. We went to long3 yuan3 (little dragon) restaurant, which serves real Chinese food, as well as the popular American imitations for those customers who don’t have the stomach for fish bladders and frog intestines. We all sat at huge round table with a revolving center and ate Chinese style. First, everyone orders a different dish. The two most interesting dishes we ventured to try were whole frogs and bamboo shoots, both of which were very good. You put all the dishes in the middle of the table, and then everyone takes what they want from each dish and puts it on their plate. Then, you take a bite from your plate, and then take a bit of rice from your own little rice bowl. You do not mix everything together (a practice I am fond of). I think this is a very good way of eating when in a group, since it allows you to try and enjoy so many different things. I sat beside the teachers (believe me, I engineered the seating so I would end up with them ;)>) and enjoyed talking with them in Chinese and trying to understand their rapid conversation between themselves. We also played some very amusing Chinese guessing games, and generally had a great time.
Saturday night (yes there’s more) I went to the Chinese Cultural Connection club’s potluck dinner. It was actually a hotpot dinner, which is the Chinese equivalent of an American potluck. The food was very good, and very different. We played some games, including Chinese checkers and ma3jiang4 (mahjong). I especially liked Chinese checkers. It is simple enough to play pretty easily, but it has room for a lot of strategy and complex moves. We also watched a movie called “the flirting scholar” which is a Chinese comedy. It was very funny and wonderful movie; I can’t wait to watch more Chinese theater. Believe me, everybody is so deprived by only watching American movies from hollywood because there is so much amazing stuff out there.
Last, but not least, the Columbus Zoo brought some animals to show at our dorm Sat. night. I got to see a very cute tortoise, armadillo, and penguin, and a very beautiful and endangered clouded leopard.
Well, I hope I haven’t bored you too much. Have a great week and may the Lord bless you during the coming Christmas season.