Day 3

4:19 A.M.

This'll be brief. I fell asleep yesterday at 5 P.M., intending to take a nap. I was also hoping to shorten the amount of time I spent awake. It is a mistake I'll soon not repeat. I probably woke anywhere from 2-3, and I've been awake since then, distracting myself with thoughts of "When I get my money, what'll I do?"

This isn't too bad, though. I'm getting used to sleeping earlier (last time I fell asleep at 10 P.M.) and that'll definitely come to my aid when classes start. Right now, I'll probably continue reading Ilium and watch some TV shows on my computer. I'll have to buy a bowl, some milk and some cereal when I get the chance, to help me stave off these nighttime hungers.

Ending this, I just have one thing to say that I found amusing. While browsing the market today, I saw some basic necessities and started to look for the prices. Quite cheap. I then saw the toothpaste, and for the first time in my life, felt a little worried about buying it.

Heh. Who knew such a simple act like buying toothpaste would be cause for worry? I'll have to risk it. If tap water hasn't killed me, neither will toothpaste, and I use small, reasonable quantities anyways.

2:29 P.M.

Things have been going well. After watching about an hour and a half of Gurren Lagenn (anime) I got ready, ate some food, and went out in search of food and provisions around 7 a.m. After a bit, I remembered that school is technically out, so not much is open.

However, the weather was unusually pleasant; things kept their true color at long distances, and the sky was blue with clouds. It was a bit windy, so I suppose the wind carried the smog off. Where to, I wonder.

So I returned to my dormitory and read a lot and studied in earnest, then went out and ate breakfast. I have started to make quick conversions, and I'd say a plate of eggs with two slices of toast and coffee run me about 1.40 USD, which is not bad at all.

I also found the campus bookstore, where I found the books that I'll encounter later on should I keep using this set of books. It struck me at just how much I have yet to learn, and I wonder if I decided to study abroad a year or so too soon. However, whatever it takes others 1-2 years, I'll do in less than half the time. *thumbs up*

I also found cereal, and a bowl, which'll run me about 43 RMB, which is about 5.50 USD. I did find milk, but I cannot tell how much it is. There are no labels on it, and there's a bewildering amount of tags beneath them, so I can't tell what is worth how much. I suspect that the entire affair will be around 50-60 RMB, which is about 8$.

Again, not bad at all, but I do worry about one thing still; money. I have been queried today about my dorm fee, and I managed to stutter out that I have tried to call my university but they haven't given me my money yet.

Not only that, but I have converted 40 USD to RMB at the airport, and that's all. While this may be able to tide me over for another week or so, I'll need to convert more sooner or later and my language skills are still rather limited. I'll have to find a way to do so. I at least know where the bank is.

I feel a lot calmer today, but I don't know why. Things haven't changed substantially. Perhaps I'm getting used to things. Regardless, I feel better now, and my only pressing concern is the money, which is really out of my direct control. The language thing...

It's up to me, and I will not fail.

4:44 P.M.

How opportune is that time? Seriously. Kinda cool, except the Chinese tend to regard the number 4 the way Christians regard the number 6; with unease and vague fear. "Four" sounds really, really close to "death" in Chinese, which explains it.

Well, after going out and about for a while, I've some heartening things to say. The weather has held up beautifully, I can tell day from dusk now. The books I brought with me? AWESOME, and I have to remind myself that I have to study and read (Thanks, David, for Ilium. Daeman's "death" was most satisfactory, too bad it's not a permanent ailment).

I know more Chinese than I thought, and after a successful study session, I went out for a meal. I've settled on dirt cheap rice (around 1 USD for a heaping plate) and water. Hey, it keeps me going and I'm young! While there, this Englishwoman walked in. This is very, very odd. Even though it technically is a school for foreign students (I've noted nervously that almost all of the foreign students speak Chinese fluently), you rarely see an adult, and one that can't speak Chinese? Ever rarer.

If I thought I was bad off, she's worse. Not for lack of trying, though. She quickly got the waitress' attention and started to mime that she wanted food. Someone using my mouth and body called out to the maid and told her, rather well and nicely, that the lady wanted something to eat. The lady thanked me, and pointed out what she wanted. I managed a "She wants to eat that with some rice" and she thanked me profusely and confessed she just wanted to eat because she planned to drink some beer later. Whatever, just eat.

Furthermore, I finally got to see some Chinese TV. A drama about cops and mafias and women being kidnapped that knew martial arts and how to accurately spit in vaguely threatening old men's faces.

I will confess that I did not know what was going on, even with subtitles, which they inexplicably had. I suspect that the actors spoke so damn fast that even Chinese people needed help keeping up. Not that it helped. I wish I could convey the speed, and I'll try. Imagine reading this sentence. Now keep reading an-
Oh, just kidding, here's this sentence, exce-
No, start this sentence. Don' t wor-
No, see, this is h-
I got this f-
No, th-

There would be a full sentence on the screen. It would blink out of existence when I got as far as that "No, th-" And there were characters I understood! Lots of them! It's just that Beijing Chinese speak so blazing fast, it's really, really hard to keep up. Like, they compress entire sentences into 2-3 mumbles. "You're coming with us" comes out as "Yocowis." Or the Chinese equivalent thereof.


On my way towards the computer place on campus (nicest place thus far), I get accosted by a Chinese gentleman seeking to rent apartments. I knew this because of the slip he gave me later on after the whole confusion started. Here's how it went.




-"Sorry, I don't know."
->"I don't understand you."
-Run Away

YOU used "I don't understand you."




YOU LEARNED "English!"

YOU USED "English!"


YOU Ran Away!

Or, rather, I wish it had gone that way. Instead, I listened to the man for a good 5 minutes before he got that I did not understand the words coming out of his mouth, and left me with the slip.

I reached the computer place, where I checked my email (holy gods, my family sent me 20+ emails in a 24 hour span) and my Facebook (thanks, guys!) and received a good morale boost. I got the loan, and the people at FIU are working tirelessly to fix the scholarship situation and even the ATM card situation, which is really above and beyond what I expected. Aside from that, I'm really really happy I can put my family at ease now, knowing that I have contacted them.

Now that my money woes are soon at an end, things should definitely take an upswing around here. I'll be able to go the gym, be able to buy foodstuffs for my refrigerator, use my things, ect. ect. And that'll make for boring updates for a while, since, again, routine and comfort are boring things. Much better it is to struggle and fight for everything. Being unhappy and changing and to struggle mightily and valiantly, to adventure, to question, to be unhappy with our lot in life is a privilege for the young! In our old age, let us be happy and still and bored, and reminiscence about our youth. Happily unhappy, and unhappily happy.

Well, no, it shouldn't be too boring. I do have to find martial arts class, enroll in the gym, travel into the city, meet the video people from the Film college, start class, endure winter (delicious, icy baths in the middle of winter with no fat on my body, mmmm), make friends, learn Chinese, and maybe even, hey, travel to another city.

Also, about my notes, think I should name them something more distinctive? I think that being named "Day #" is efficient, but it might get buried in the "Home" updates. What do you think?

Also, any questions? I'll be happy to answer.

Oh, random, random thing before I stop typing:

I saw a Chinese bathroom today! Holy snap! The toilets...

See, I thought it'd be a really low slung style toilet, you know? I wish I could upload photos, but... the seat is literally -level- with the floor.

So, how do you sit on it?

You don't.

If you visit, and I'm not here with my Western style toilet, I hope you have lots and lots of leg-strength, especially if you are the type to take your time. I suppose it it more hygienic, since your butt never touches the seat, but still...

Oh, and did I use it? I had no need to, and if there was a need, I can sprint back to my dormitory, thanks very much.