|Ochazuke at Cafe Zabu|
Tuesday I had lunch with one of my fellow students, K. He has been here for a whole semester already, and is very outgoing and energetic. We had chewy scallion breads and he told me harrowing stories about his adventures. It's fun hanging out with advanced students because they keep to the language pledge even over lunch off campus. So here we were, two Americans walking down the street chattering in Chinese. I guess people around our language school are used to such things.
|Cafeteria lunch, includes some blood tofu (upper right)|
In the afternoon, I went to the National Library to hear my grad school classmate JC give a talk. I was very worn out from all my essay-writing, so it was a little hard to follow at first. But I got into it. I hadn't realized that the soul-summoning ritual had such a long history after the famous instance of it in the Songs of the South. They used it often when a person's body was unavailable for burial, which seems quite practical if you believe that there are souls that perhaps wander around and can respond to your rituals. The interesting question is what exactly was it they thought they were summoning. Ancient Chinese beliefs about souls are various and difficult to pin down.
|The National Library|
On Thursday I ended up writing an essay on gender (in)equality, which I got way too involved in. It's a very standard topic for Chinese language study, but I happened to also have been sent this article ("Why Women Still Can't Have It All"), which has apparently occasioned some debate back home. So I thought I would talk about the problem of family and career considerations using some of the terms she introduces, but also from the perspective of me and my grad school classmates. Of course I ended up getting way too involved in my little writing project, but it was fun to stretch my Chinese that hard.
|Balancing Family (on a Motorcycle)|
By Friday I was so exhausted I basically just came home from school and passed out. What a week! This week it is my goal to manage my time better and post a little more regularly. For now, though, I have to sign off and go get ready for class. I leave you with a picture of an awesome little guy I saw on the campus. Just like me--very hungry caterpillar--but I am eating up all the Chinese language skills.