So, I finally made it
I have been in China for a week and two days and so far have finished four lessons of Chinese and taken two tests. When CET says their language programs are intensive, they mean it. My plane landed on a Wednesday and all of the CET students had until Sunday to speak English with our fellow classmates and teachers. Then our language pledge began in earnest this past Monday and we are all prohibited from speaking English unless it is with family or friends at home and out of earshot of any other classmates. Being limited to speaking Chinese with new acquaintances in a new place is very frustrating and humbling. Our program director told us to appreciate the fact that this might be the one time we have in our lives to be completely surrounded by Chinese, and I have kept that in mind every day. My roommate is a graduate student at Yunnan University and although our communication is very slow going at times we get along very well. Our dorm (which is actually a hotel) is located in downtown Kunming where you can’t swing a cat without hitting at least five restaurants or shops. Kunming is a beautiful city with many trees and flowering vines in unexpected places, and on the horizon above the buildings, you can see the lush green mountains. The weather is very mild, and, in my opinion, is comparable to that of Orlando, Florida; There are often sudden rainstorms in the afternoon and the temperature generally stays in the 80s. Tomorrow, my class will climb a nearby mountain and I can’t wait to see the spectacular views of the city and the province’s natural beauty. I will be updating my blog each week I am here and on each post will give my valley and peak of the week (a valley being the low point of the week and a peak the highlight.)
Valley: Performing poorly on my vocabulary quizzes and feeling frustrated when I couldn’t get my point across in Chinese.
Peak: Doing well on my first ever oral exam and going to a concert at Yunnan University’s second campus in Chenggong.