Day 12

5:23 P.M.

This just beat out Day 8 for latest update ever. The one earlier this morning doesn't count.

Well, today started out fine. I had to fast for the hospital checkup, so I tried to stay in bed as long as I could. When that failed, I started watching Firefly. Been on my computer for a while, decided to check it now. All I have to say, it's a damn shame it ended after one season.

I made my way to the meeting place, which is the main point of entry to the school, south gate. I got there at 11:45, since I was mortally afraid of being left behind. However... there's nothing there. I mean, there's no official person standing around. Nor were there any slick buses about. Heck, there wasn't even a loose configuration of students milling purposeless about.

I decided to stick around, ignoring the substantial demands of my stomach, spurred on by the sights and smells of food, wandering and wafting forth from the multitude of kitchens near by. So, I sit down in front of the bookstore, reading Sun Tzu. I was quickly approached by a student from Libya. He made sure that, yes, I was waiting for the bus to appear. Or something to make itself manifest. So, he sat down, and we talked a bit. Young, full scholarship, civil engineering, no Chinese, here for 5 years... Hey, this is awful familiar? After a while, hunger won, and silence reigned.

To be broken by a young woman who was wondering the same thing. That is, where is the bus? It was 12:15 right now, and we were understandably nervous. To spend some time, she introduced herself, and we us. She's from Chile, fluently bilingual (yes!), and on a full scholarship. She's only here for a year, though. Bucking the trend.

We spent sometime swapping stories about getting to China and such, when I spotted a massive migration of students towards a point, as if a cone had been bored into the ground and everyone within an area started to slip and fall inexorably towards the center. Anyhow, the buses had somehow -magically- appeared behind us. I'll start searching for the secret bus cave starting tomorrow.

So, we went through the city (in a decent bus) and arrived, after quite a while, at a hospital (in a nice area!). During the ride, we made another friend. I would not have suspected that she spoke English. Ever. Canadian, and, like the Chilean and I, spoke a modicum of Chinese. People who are as inept as I am! YES.

Now, I must say this for the Chinese system of things. Their hospital system? -Excellent.- I mean, I had blood test, an X-ray, general measurements, blood pressure, ECM, and paid all within 10 minutes. Wow.

Ah, but of course. There's always -something.- There was a list of all the students that were supposed to show up. It was written, used all the students that registered, yesterday. Hey! I'm not on it.


I managed to complain to the teachers, and, after firing a second (as in time) sentence that took me 2 minutes to decipher, realized that I had to wait until the -huge freakin' line- behind me as all taken care of.

But, all you have to do is write my name, nationality, and passport number. That's all!

And so I wait. The people I met stuck around as long as they could, until they were ushered out. I wondered what happened to them, when they motioned for me to hand over my passport. "Yes," I thought. Finally!

So, I walk outside towards the busses and...

Hey, where are the busses?

There are no busses. There's only a small number of students, straggling about. So I sit on the steps, the stream of smoke wafting over my head. Sun Tzu again, 'till the busses show up.

The amount of students slowly built up, with the smoke and the smell of... unpleasantness slowly building up in proportion with the students. I finish Sun Tsu, and decide to use my iPod (Dane Cook again). As I stand, the thought strikes me "I'd be so cool if the bus shows up. Nah."

And the bus shows up. It's like Fate exists to contradict me.

Hey, I -don't- want to be massively successful in all my endeavors.

Anyways, I get on the bus. It's a swift ride back (Beijing, it must be said, is -massive-) and looked at the old style buildings in the background, the new buildings in the foreground, and the slums that punctuated the landscape every so often. Only thing of note is... the European men at the back of the bus, where I am situated.

Christ! I know that getting used to things is a difficult thing, but there is running water. In fact, there's a fairly large faucet in your bathroom, where you, uh, wash your teeth, face, hands, that hovers above your head. It's rather convenient for such exciting activities like removing grime, and eliminating horrifying smells from your body. Use it, learn it, love it.

When I return, I eat with fervor. Afterwards, as I walk towards my dormitory, I am flanked by two Chinese girls. Now, I am normally all in favor of being surrounded, partially or completely, by females, but this was with such rapidity that it was ninja-esque. I stopped, and listened. "Would you like to be a teacher?" they asked tentatively, as if I were going to potentially scream and burst out with a firearm. When I say yes (why not?), they look at each other, wide eyed in surprise. Funny seeing a wide eyed Asian, by the by. Anyways.

I got an appointment now for a part-time job at a nearby university to teach 5-6 students conversational English. Along with the appointment for that other job. And the girl I'm going to tutor. And the dude I'm going to tutor.

Is it the glasses? What?

As I -finally- reach my dormitory, I find someone familiar exiting the dormitory. Well, it was a rather nice Canadian fellow from NYU whom I had met at the hospital. Well, if this isn't opportune. Along with the other few from earlier (I'd recommended my dormitory to them, which is apparently quite good [you have a bathroom? with ac?]), I may have quite the posse going.

Well, now I'm off to study for tomorrow's exam and to hopefully post yesterday's update. I may post todays, too, who knows?

8:10 P.M.

So, a quick update. As I walked out of my dorm to post Day 11, I encountered the people from the hospital that I lost track of, along with the fellow student from FIU. Wow, wow, wow, what luck! To boot, they are all looking for rooms within my dormitory. I may have allies nearby, and that is most excellent. *british chortle*

I gave them a tour of the school, talked, and had a very good time. We swore to keep in touch, and parted ways literally a minute or two ago. To have people who can speak the same language, have the same level of proficiency, and find themselves in similar situations is a huge morale booster.

Tomorrow I'll take my test, and I will inform you all how that goes. :D