July 5, 2019, dawned the same way as nearly every other day has at Xiamen University: hot, humid, and filled with the screams of a million cicadas.
At 7:10, the gentle sounds of my roommate’s alarm pulled me out of sleep, and I quickly got up and dressed. I was hungry!
Breakfast, like all meals in the cafeteria, is interesting in the sense that it really forces you to try new things. Thanks to the language barrier, it’s something of a stretch (at least for me) to do anything more than point at the foods I want and say “this,” “that,” or “what is this?” I try to remember the foods that I’ve liked so I can make sure to get them again, but trying out new foods keeps me on my toes and is a cool experience.
After breakfast, it was time for Chinese class. Today, the intermediate class focused on ordering foods at restaurants and some new vocabulary. I definitely feel like I’ve learned a lot so far, and I’m sure I’ll keep learning even more.
After class, everyone headed to the cafeteria for lunch. When we finished eating, there was still about an hour left until afternoon classes started, so my friends and I walked around campus. While we were out and about, we ran into a massive group of local high school students. They seemed to be doing a project of some sort, because they got really excited when they saw foreigners and asked to take pictures and videos of us talking. It’s always interesting to interact with native Chinese speakers, especially when they are close to my own age, because it actually brings the language to life outside of the classroom. Plus, all of the students we talked to were very polite and funny!
After lunch break ended, it was time for a lecture about Confucius from Dr. Chen. Today is the third day that we’ve talked about Confucius. Dr. Chen has a really impressive reserve of knowledge, and I can honestly say that I’ve taken a lot away from his lectures. Next, it was time for interest groups. On most days, there would be different groups doing different activities, but today we had the privilege of getting to see a skilled practitioner of Tai Chi. We all had a fun time trying to make our partners loose their balance and practicing our punches.
Once Tai Chi was over, it was time for dinner. After eating, we returned to the dorms to lurk about and do homework. After a few hours, I left to run on the track, which was nice and, surprisingly, not too hot. Once the run was over, I headed back to the dorms to go to bed.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my lack of homesickness during this trip. I love and miss my family, but being here in Xiamen has given me so much that it’s hard to feel homesick. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Here are some pictures taken at the Tai Chi class.