Out of the Well: A Frogs-Eye-View of China and the World

Random Jottings on China, History, Culture, and Life as seen by an American student in Beijing.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Sandstorms, Brainstorms, and Months of Silence; or Drinking from the firehose of Knowledge

Well it has been a looooong time since I have written in this blog. For that I am truly sorry. I worry that perhaps there is no one left to read it. Oh well, better not to dwell on the subject.

So what have I been up to all this time? A reasonable question, and I am glad you asked. I have been drinking from the fire hose of knowledge. My classes here at the IUP Center for Chinese language studies at Tsing-hua U. have been keeping me quite busy. While I still sound like a six year old who has been spending to much time with an Econ text book, I have found that, little by little, I am becoming marginally literate in this ridiculous language. Now what does that mean, really? It means that If I was given a bit of academic text on a subject that I was not completely ignorant in, as well as the use of a good dictionary, I can figure out the point at the rate of about 2-3 pages an hour. This may not sound like much to you slackers who have studied French or Spanish, but to me this is like walking the Appalachian trail.

The weather these intervening months have been uniformly awful. Cold, polluted, dry and windy. The last two months things have gotten really nice, with interrupting weeks of cold or sand. "Sand?" you ask. It seems that, due to deforestation in north china, anyone downwind from inner Mongolia is periodically blasted with the all of the loose soil that used to be held down by trees. The good news is that these sandstorms are far less frequent then they were ten years ago, as the government has been planting trees as fast as possible.

Today however is fantastic, sunny, not a cloud in the sky, 70 degrees, ahh. The trees all have leaves again, meaning that my world of yellow and gray has been infused with green. Now that I have been re-invigorated by the weather, I will endeavor to write in this blog more.

If you want to see pictures of what I have been up to the last few months check them out at my flickr page.


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