Long time no update! It’s hard to find enough time to eat, let alone blog. The semester is going well, I would say, but every day is the longest day of my life! Nevertheless, I am maintaining my tight grip on sanity (as always), and maybe now that I’m mostly caught up on homework and papers and readings, things will calm down.

Our weekly Kraettli gatherings kicked off last week, and we had a rather impromptu potluck dinner on Saturday that resulted in a lot of pasta. (Which I’m always ok with.) Most of our Europeans left at the end of last semester, and a lot of the newbies are Asians. Rachel and I have been enjoying their goofiness and openness. I’m trying to take more pictures this semester, and learning that I have to take them quick, or else everyone does the peace sign with both hands. Photographic evidence of this phenomenon follows.

This is the rare Japanese Joe bird, precariously perched in our living room! Please notice that he is wrapped in a cloak. This kid cracks me up.

Andrew, Rachel, and Hui! Andrew one-ups the Asians by whipping out the WOW sign. Three fingers on each hand instead of two? Wow!

I have a spoken Chinese class two nights a week, which I enjoy immensely! The teacher doesn’t like me very much because I told him I didn’t want to learn the writing system because it’s too hard. (I worded it in a somewhat more polite manner, but he still seemed a little offended, and no one in the class backed me up. Traitors.) Also, last night in class I also came to the realization that since all my classes have been taught by Israelis for the past few years, that has probably made my attitude toward language-learning a little more argumentative and belligerent than is necessary. In the Chinese culture, you’re supposed to treat teachers with a lot of respect, and maybe not be so confrontational about being taught the Beijing dialect. Now that I’m aware of that cultural difference, I will be the most respectful student EVER. But aside from the student-teacher dynamic, I really enjoy it, and I can carry on a very very basic conversation and even recognize a few of the characters! Wow!!

That is all the information I currently have time to relate. Maybe next time I will tell you about how much I love bean soup.