On Thursday night, we had a birthday party for Rachel, because she is 21 now and is the most wonderful roommate ever and deserves a party. I have pictures for you! Yes, you.

Rachel's bonfire cake! And yes, there are 21 candles. Lin (see stroganoff story below) would not let us cut the cake until he had confirmed this fact for himself.

Below we have Christine (our Taiwanese neighbor) posing with the food table. She brought the giant box of donuts and is doing the peace sign because it’s apparently illegal not to. Let me tell you a pointless story about the beef stroganoff at the far right of the table. One minute after the party officially started, our Taiwanese friend Lin burst through the door, plopped down on the couch, breathlessly apologized for being late, and exclaimed that he had made beef stroganoff but it was ugly. We told him beef stronganoff is always ugly, so he said he would go get it. And go get it he did. He reappeared with it twenty minutes later, and as you can probably tell from the picture, it’s very pretty for beef stroganoff. Unfortunately this picture does not include the salmon quiche that Lydia brought later.

PEACE AND DONUTS.

In case you are wondering whatever became of Elmo, wonder no more! He went out in a blaze of violence and glory. We kind of forgot to explain the concept of the piñata before we started whacking him, which alarmed some of the internationals. I heard someone exclaim, “How violent this is!” But they quickly got the hang of it, and poor Elmo never stood a chance.

Rachel (birthday girl) gives batting tips to Claudia (Colombia), while Gyongae (S. Korea) helps Elmo (piñata) come to grips with his mortality.

Here’s another piñata picture. Apparently he was a pretty high-quality piñata, because he did not die easily. I’m not sure that I personally could cling to life for so long if I were beaten with a rolling pin as long as he. Oh Elmo. You are an inspiration to us all. RIP.

Keith (U.S.) inspects the rolling pin, Gyongae (S. Korea) inspects the mop, and Pingyen (China) inspects Elmo for damage and checks his tensile strength. She did this every time someone hit him.

After Elmo’s untimely demise, the party quickly disintegrated into nerdiness, which everyone seemed to be ok with. I took advantage of the diversity of the guests and bugged them to tell me examples of onomatopoeia in different languages. (This is hopefully what my senior essay will be about. More on that at a later date.) My Turkish friends thought it was a really fun game, and people were generally cooperative. Fun fact: the Turkish and Colombian Spanish words for “gargle” are the same.

In other news:

I signed up to be a language exchange partner (or something) with the English as a Second Language program on campus. Today was my first day, and it was quite fun! I met my language buddy for tea and we talked in English for an hour, which is an easy job for me. His name is Michael and he’s a finance major from China. He seems to be enjoying America; I just saw that he made a photo album on Facebook about some turkey he ate. Perhaps they do not have turkey in China, I will investigate this.

I had the afternoon free today (wooohooo!) so a friend and I went out for Indian food and explored an art gallery with a giant creepy cement face outside of it. In the evening, I went to another friend’s senior composition recital, which was a new experience. People performed the various pieces of music that he has written over the course of his college career. It was excellent.

Lest you think my life is all fun and games, please be aware that I am working hard, learning hard, going to all my classes, getting ready for midterms (gasp!), and reading more about language philosophy than anyone ever should. And yes, that sentence is for the benefit of my parents. I love you guys!

This morning at the library I ran into Christine, and she was carrying a pineapple. When I expressed surprise at seeing produce in the library, she pointed out that she had put it in a bag so it “wouldn’t freak people out.” Then she pretended to attack me with it, which did freak some people out.

Spring break is around the corner! Yesss.

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