Thursday, April 30

Classes Beyond Due

I have been soooo busy lately it's not even funny. I was having quite some time situating things for summer school and fall semester. Then I began to worry about passing the japanese test for next year. I am going to study abroad again, but this time I want to be in class with people who speak my target language. This means I can actually integrate! But that's a whole different post.

While searching for blogs of past CIEE Tokyo participants I found exactly what I was looking for!! People who talked about the preparation and the classes they took and the school itself!
Most of the blogs are a few years old but one is for this year. The thing is while reading them and finding what I wanted, I realized that I forgot to describe those things here! I have reported too much culture and not enough info for people looking to use the USAC China programs!

So here goes:
This semester I took Advanced Chinese track 2. I liked that that class used a textbook that gave us articles to read. Real life stories or articles that real people have had published in books. It made me feel as if all of this learning was really paying off...No! I mean IS paying off haha We even started a "newspaper" textbook.
The only thing I didn't like was going over the passages line by line by the second half of the term. Then the homework was cut down because we did it in class! How do I know I improved if you do my work for me? You all know how this final went. Test and speech.

I also took Managing in a Global Economy Emphasis on China. That class was my favorite actually. Just because I was learning so much about the way things work in business. The homework was light but it was ok, we were also able to have class discussions about the real life cases that were related to the chapters we talked about. I didn't feel lost! There was one presentation, a final exam and an essay.

My second favorite class was U.S. China relations. Our teacher was very knowledgeable and most of the questions we had to ask got answered. The homework was reading different people's views on certain topics, and it was a lot of work, but wasn't graded. I feel kind of cheated by that because there is no way my teacher will ever know that I read those things!! and that I really did learn a lot while taking this class. The worst thing is the only grades we will have are 20% participation and 80% final paper that's 4-6pgs.
Most of you may think that's the easiest class ever but the problem is college professors NEVER like my papers!! I just don't understand why. Also if you were thinking I can show that I did my readings through my paper, think again. Our topics have to be unanswered questions. Something with little information on them.

I also liked taking China Phenomenon even though it was a complete lecture class. Only the teacher talked unless there was a random question. My teacher for this class was like a walking history of china book. I learned so much about china that I will never forget. I thank him.
For assignments we had 2 presentations, 2 500 word essays and a 2,000 word final essay. All on whatever topic you wanted that was covered in class.

TaiChi was a very nice class. It didn't go into the details of TaiChi but it sure was a great "fun" class. My teacher was so energetic and I just know that if a real fight broke out she would kick be-hind! haha Our final was us presenting the form and her recording it. Then we will do it one by one recorded.

I took these classes because they interested me. If you want some more details on the classes please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. Overall they weren't as bad as some people complained. They had me thinking, "If you've already taken this class or already know so much, WHY ARE YOU HERE???"

Thursday, April 23

Not All Peachy Keen

I can't believe I have to write this but since it has happened lately I must.

One day as I was meeting some friends in the dorm lobby, the snack lady shouted, "Hey! You owe me 2yuan!"
I was confused because I hadn't visited her store for quite a bit.

Another day I was with some friends in a restaraunt near campus. There are quite a few around campus so I'm not a frequent at any of them. This particular day after we all had finished eating, someone was accused of not paying enough.

An other day I swiped my card on the bus and it said that there was no money on it. As I was trying to be subtle and not embarassed by that, I looked for some change to pay. As I did this the bus driver was looking at me suspiciously, so I held out the change and put it in the slot.
Then he laughed and said, "Oh you understand Chinese then haha."

Why do I write this? Because these things are happening to me! It's rare but it's happened twice this week. I felt like I was being accused because I was black. It doesn't help that I read an article that talked about an African guy and some of his friends who always tried to cut deals or skip out on paying for things. (He has frequented Shanghai for 8yrs and can't speak a lick of Chinese. It was written by a foreigner.)

So I want to say: Please black people, be trustworthy when it comes to paying for your mess.

*Note: the store people told me that it wasn't me, but a girl who looked like me. I realise that when you don't see much of a certain race, guess what...THEY ALL LOOK ALIKE! and I don't like to be blamed or called out for other people's actions...

Thank You.

Tuesday, April 21

Culture Fair Pictures!!!

The long awaited pictures are here~ haha
Even though there are a lot for you to view here, I still want to make you go to my photobucket and look at more! Just search for jamasianblog. I will try to use this week to completely fill it up haha (I have procrastinated long enough.)

Only us 5 Yanchang classmates did TaiChi that day but we did it with a bang!
This is an awesome man. We call him Zhang Laoshi. If it weren't for him, people in my program would never know when cultural events are taking place. For some odd reason USAC doesn't help us integrate.
She is from MADAGASCAR and she is so cute. A lovely personality.

Me heading Paddy the Green Dragon's parade lol I am going to miss the Irish. They go to my school so we are friends.
The Irish, Mexicans and a black and white girl reppin AMERICA haha We are so silly.

They go to my school. That's why I can hug them. ;p

hahaha ECUADOR

I think this is VIETNAM

These two are from mongolia. Unfortunately the girl in the queen dress is a smoker. I was thinking she was so pretty before I saw it.

I'm sorry I'm not sure of their countries.

Monday, April 20

Cultural Fair Day 2

The next day my Tai Chi teacher wanted some of us to perform with her other classes...We got nervous because we hadn't practiced together before. There were a few groups who were showing off Chinese culture that day too.

While my group was waiting a little girl came out with her adopted mother and they asked me where the bathroom was. I told and the little girl said, "Wow! Your english is veeery goood!" and off they went.
Offense! Didn't she recognize my American accent! I have become soooo patriotic about my background here haha. I am constantly letting everyone know I am American. Especially since one guy from Algeria kept trying to get me to speak some random language. It was then that I decided to let people know that my family is Jamaican! I just don't understand why he kept trying to talk to me!! he didn't even use Chinese!

Anywho. We went out to perform and it was pretty good. People cheered so I didn't feel too out of place. The four people who came with me; we are from the Yanchang campus, so no one at Baoshan knows us. It would have been very uncomfortable if they didn't perform with us.

Actually 4 Baoshan students know me. I met one that yesterday and 3 more called out to me while performing *Big smile!* (I was so glad they remembered me, because I had been thinking about them all.) There was one more person who might remember me but I didn't see him either day. Now that I'm typing this I must admit that seeing them gave me a sweet for sour feeling. Why? They all knew my name!!! Why for the life of me couldn't I remember theirs? I'll tell you. My name is simple! These people all come from random countries that speak random languages!! haha ok. The guy from Laos is easy to remember. Maybe that language isn't too hard.

Saturday, April 18

School Culture Fairs In China!

You know, back at my home school they were doing the Carnival of Cultures. I must say that is one of the most boring events...I feel like people should enjoy their background so much that they think of everything in the book to show it off that day. At my school they are mostly interested in how much money they can make. -_-

Well we had a Foreign Culture Day on the Baoshan campus of Shanghai University and it was bomb! There were so many people representing their cultures; Mongolia, Cuba, Thailand, random countries in Africa...etc.etc.
I was so pleased by how everyone made an effort to wear their traditional clothes, sell their countries special foods, play their cultural games, and dance or sing. Never have I had so much fun at a mulit-cultural event.
Even more amazing is, we used a lot of chinese to communicate lol Now you may be thinking,"Duh, you are in CHINA!" but please believe me when I say, it seems like everyone and their foregin moms speak english. No matter what country they are from, most foreigners use english. (Freakin' punks)
I love using Chinese as much as possible. So whenever I went to a new booth, be it India, Laos, whatever, I would greet them in 你好!And they would explain whatever they were showing off in chinese to me. (Only one girl switched to english for me...I was only slightly offended, because you must realize that not everyone has the same level of chinese haha)

Something I want to point out. Everyone talks about how disgraceful black dancing is and how the women shake so much of this and that. Guess what? Cuba, Mexico, and Mongolia were shaking like no tomorrow and "getting low". It seems to me like a lot of cultures use their hips to dance which accentuates the hind quarters. Therefore I ask that everyone stop bad mouthing black dancers! (Of course there are always exceptions to each culture. Some people do too much haha)

I also finally got a good impression from some Africans! They were so kind and one guy was excited to tell me his stories of the ridiculous things some Chinese people say. Here is one joke: There was an African married couple who decided to move to China and start a business. The woman was pregnant and the day she delivered at the hospital, out came a beatuiful pale baby boy. "You have a beautiful baby son. Don't take him back to Africa or he will turn black!" Warned the doctor.
lol That cracks me up! There are still some people who think you can only turn black by being born in Africa.

All in all it was a good day. Pics will come later because my camera is full!
(I'm sorry I'm behind on the other pictures too. 太痛苦了!原谅我!)

Wednesday, April 15

Banking In China 2!

I feel cheated!!
It costs 20 something dollars to transfer my money to my american bank. That american bank charged me 10 dollars just to accept it!!

Why! Why does this happen!!! Money! Why do you let them use you like that?

Well I only wanted to post this to warn Wamu users. I am very satisfied with that bank, but now that they've charged me that extra 10 USD just to recieve that money...our ship of friends! It seems to have come to a halt!

Lesson: CHECK YOUR BANK POLICIES BEFORE YOU LEAVE. (haha i should have told myself that but i guess a shocking learning experience lasts longer.)

Saturday, April 11

Banking Between Two Countires

I went out today with the purpose of depositing money in my american bank account from here. Here are things you'll need:

**Only Bank of China 中国银行 can deal with foreign currencies.

**You must bring your passport whenever you're going to change currency, transfer funds or open an account. (People forget it all the time)

**First talk to a worker at the small desk because they are the only ones with the forms you'll need to transfer money. They should also help you out.
Since they will suspect you can't speak chinese they will not really want to help you so they may seem standoff-ish. Most people are embarrassed even if they have good english skills. Ask them if you need help. If you can speak chinese let them know. It saves for you headache.

**As of right now they charge 200元 for transferrs. That's about $30
I use this site before moving money and it's been awesome:

**You'll need to provide your banks address, account number and a swift code. The code will be provided to you when you call your bank. Some banks will have a different code if they don't accept foreign currencies.

**You must know your address here too.

I think that was about it. It doesn't take long.
If you want to know something else dealing with the bank let me know and I'll see if I can find out for you.

[By the way, some people have informed me that they can't post a comment. Regretfully, I don't know what to tell you. Maybe you have to sign up to blogger.]

Wednesday, April 8

Other Black People

This is a continuation of The Last Day Of Shooting.

After the show I got a ride to the metro and talked with my boss. She told me I would receive a dvd and photos from the show...(I better stop delaying posts. I can't remember if she said photos.)

She confessed that she hadn't understood why we lost the singing competition. I explained in chinese. Then she talked about how unprofessional those judges were. She told me that all of the staff thought we should have won. It's ok. I would have died if they put a snake on me.

Did you know: I sang during the practices with no emotions and absolutely bland. Why? because I as still trying to get used to singin rock. Of course when show time came, I put out. That's just how I am. Mostly because I hate to here "you didn't do it that way in practice" or "you change the way you sing it so many times" so now I make it obvious that my practice won't be like my performance.

Anywho when I got to the metro I was on the way to meet some other friends...yes he black people that my title referrs to. They had been shopping around Yu garden. I found a skirt that I liked and a dress that I didn't need and bought them. I had feigned ignorance and disinterest when the worker told me the dress was 98yuan and the skirt 147yuan. I got them for 40yuan apeice, but I'm thinkin I should have done 30. The quality isn't that good and I know it. But it's nothing I can't fix.
The worker was mad because I used a 100yuan bill to pay for the dress. Then she asked about the skirt, since she felt she'd been cheated, and I replied in chinese that 147 was ridiculous and I couldn't do it. She half scolded me about not speaking chinese sooner but she really wanted to sell me something else since I was making it so cheap. (I just thought this was kind of funny. I go to bargain places sometimes because the quality is bad but it's not far behind some things in a store. For the most part you just have to cut the extra threads off.)

After the others wanted to go to a japanese restaraunt. I helped them tell the taxi drivers because they are all beginners abd haven't mastered the tones yet. I was happy because they were practicing.
We arrived at Haiku and were informed that we only had an hour to eat because the place was booked! We sat and talked a bit while scoping the menu. I decided on Chicken bowl because my friends and I go to a japanese restaraunt in Vegas and we eat the same things each time. The chicken bowl brought back memories.

So when everyone else ordered they used as much chinese as they could. I was happy. (I had just pointed to mine.) The food was delicious. I just listend to the others talk since I didn't find a reason to stop eating. haha I did stop twice. They were mostly talking about how they should have went to japan. I was almost going to join in but I was afraid. As most of you know, japan is one of my oldest dreams and i was regretting a bit for not going there at first.
So why not throw in my 2cents about loving japan? Two reasons.
1] The workers here do speak english. no need to make these chinese people feel bad. I like china too.
2] I am still in shock that black people are here interested in chinese like me. They are practicing and everything! Now thy like japan too!? This is too much for me. I was made fun of by blacks for these interests.

Anywho, I was so happy to be around people of my color. They all come from the same school and are from a different program but I feel like they are good people. I'll try and hang out with them more.

Before I forget: Most of the group are girls so I'm extra excited because I feel the world should acknowledge black women more. I just feel like no one sees us. We are doing good too. I want to show off black women and boast about them.
That was just running across my mind today.

Sunday, April 5

Last Day Of Shooting

Well I have waited long enough lol (it's really Apr.08)

So we were too meet at 9:30 outside of a subway stop. I was 3rd. My partner and the other chinese girl were there. My partner was practicing again, bless his heart. I wanted to paint my nails and the girl offered to do it for me since she was a professional. I'm not sure if she was joking but she did a good job.

A van came and got us. We entered a real studio! I thought we'd be performing in some random place. Inside there we were to get our make-up done. I didn't know make-up was so complicated. I was also worried about the products making me a strange light color. The lady did a very good job though. She even put something on my bottom eye lids. I was scared she'd poke me but I suppose this is why she is a professional ;p

We went into the studio to do a practice introduction of ourselves. This is when I found that we were going to do the "quiz" as well....We ate lunch and then got to business. The first thing we did was the introductions. My partner messed up a few times because of nerves but he got the hang of it.
One of the camera guys was taking photos of us and when it was my turn he didn't direct me he just said, "Okay make some good hero poses" ...(I'm sorry I don't think he said hero poses, but whatever he told me, I remember making power poses. Like I was ready to kick butt! Yea haha) In any event I did the poses and he just kept snapping. I was wondering if he just randomly thought I was accustomed to modeling because he just snapped when I moved and I felt like I was modeling. Oh well. I hope the pictures were good, because I seem to have more than the others. Nervous.

So after the intros we changed clothes and came out to perform in front of our English judges. The other group went first. Then us. While we were performing I heard the judges laughing but at the crew was applauding. There was no audience. So when we finished the host asked the judges why they laughed and they said we were...bad...horrible...awful.

I know. I felt bad because my partner doesn't speak english and yet all of these criticisms are being thrown out. Don't worry the host translated for everyone since this is a chinese show. They decided the other team had better outfits so they won.

At that time I thought of 2things. 1 the program picks the outfits so their win was unfair in that sense. 2 Did we lose because I'm American??
They commented on bad vocal skills but the only one out of us 4 who can actuallly sing guessed it. Me. How would it look if I left my partner behind and stole the show? I made sure to miss a few notes so that I blended with everyone else. I know you may think that's stupid, but you have to consider the show. If you have to sing with a non-singing person, I feel that you rudely embarrass your partner if you sing normally. Don't forget this is television.

After that we changed clothes again and did the quiz... It was about England things of course and since we lost we got to answer first. Sadly it was about sports and I had no idea what the anwer was. It turns out that fencing is not an English sport. I had said tennis. Then we were blasted wth cold air. It was funny. It turns out my partner knew the anwer but had no confidence in it....ugh.

The next thing we did was the old fashioned make them laugh game. So my partner and I were trying to make the other team laugh. And with time running out the host came to help. He put a snake on the guy's neck and then brought out a tarantula. But the guy held fast, I think he held his breath actually, and he won the game. The girl laughed so she lost.

In the end the other team ended up inviting us out to spend the money together. I'm not sure if I typed it before but I met some good people through this game show. The only people I could have done without were the judges and the lady host. She was pretty cold. Not just to me but to all of us. I think she's mistaken about how famous she is...not haha

ok i'll finish the day on a different post.

Saturday, April 4

Practicing Does Not Always Make Perfect


I spent the morning watching a chinese cartoon. Then it was off to practice the song with the partner! I had to go to his place so again I spent money on the subway but! I found out that this family has a car!! How? My host dad was on his way out so he gave me a ride to the subway station. I was shocked but I shouldn't have been. I think every normal family owns at least one car. They are middle class after all.

I met my partner at the stop by his house. We took a cab from the station to the supermarket. His room mate was going to cook for me. So I picked out some food and then the 3 of us walked the short walk to their apartment.

It was a small 2 bedroom one bath one kitchen no living room. For their privacy I won't post their specific apartment but I'll see if I can find something similar. They made it cozy though.

We practiced for a long time on that danged Satisfaction. My partner doesn't feel music and can't sing. So for a singer like me it's kind of hard to try and perform together. He mostly wanted me to help him on his English pronunciations. Then he wanted me to cue him in for all of the chorus parts lol We were able to laugh and talk and watch a little bit of the program we are working for. We were playing the song over and over in between time. Luckily his roommate liked the song, (it is a classic) So he didn't mind.
We ate dinner, which was pretty good considering that he taught himself. And then took pictures which I will post later. Then we practiced for one more hour until I was accompanied back to the subway station. I prayed that he could count on me to help us win this challenge. I am good at singing after all.

Since I'd called out different friends I went straight to people's square to meet them and the 3 of us went to take.... Puri Kuraaa~~~
I think I've gone crazy.
I will also load those later.

I had forgotten that the buses stopping by my home are off the clock early so after waiting until 11pm I finally realized I'd have to settle for the one that at least stops on the end of my street; a mere 20min walk away from home. I decided to take one of those special carts since it was pouring rain.

It was a bumpy ride but I was kind of fun. For only 5 yuan I can drink milk tea. I drink this often. I have decided that since the cart ride is only 6 yuan I may skip the tea every once in a while. Yep. I'll be lazy. I don't care.

Friday, April 3

Final Exam And No More Chinese

That's right. This morning I took my last chinese class.
This time it was more difficult. The writing part. We had to do the thing where we finish a sentence with a specific grammar point but those questions were so strange! All four of us were stuck on the same things for the 2hrs and then rushed the reading. (We can scan pretty well by now :p ) So the teacher ended up giving us hints as we were 15min over.

We waited while she graded them and you know what I got? 79% . I wanted to stick myself in a pot of depression but I need to wait until my parents send more money (Haagen Daz $) and the game show is over. My overall grade is 87% but I really take it hard when it comes to tests. It's supposed to show our knowledge but...

My friends and I went out for lunch before they all go on their magnificent trips outside of China for spring break. What? You think I'm bitter? I can be bitter towards myself! I should have worked another job so that I could have the extra cash. The school should have paid me my scholarship by now. But neither has happened.

After lunch I decided I could buy some cream puffs for 4.50 and then went home. The creams puffs did ok for a pick me up.

Thursday, April 2

Practice Shoot

Today I got up early and went to my Chinese Phenomenon class on time, but yet again our teacher was 15-20min late. I don't know whether to pity him or be angry. (I'll stick with pity.)

Anywho, after class I used a friends computer to review my dvd and cd. well the dvd was ... great i guess. I mean, it was a Rolling Stones concert. Then I put in the cd to discover that they gave us the song we'd sing! Made me wish I'd studied it during that outing between classes on wednesday. -_-

I reviewed the song a few times and then recorded it with my camera so I could watch it on my sub ride. Of course when I got on the sub I chose to just read the lyrics instead. This time I took the subway line one to the train station and actually exited. I had no idea the place would be so big! I was at a loss to find out which bus I needed to take. Then a guy was asking if i'd wanted a motorcycle ride and I told him i preferred bus. To my surprise he pointed the bus out to me.
(I felt kind of bad because when I heard him reply, "I'll tell you where to go" I thought he said "take me where to go". so I ignored him the first time.)
Anywho, I walked across an open area across from the station and a man asked if I wanted taxi or bus. I said bus and kept walking even though he kept talking. So when I arrived at my stop I was a little confused as to which side of the rode I needed to be on. Another man asked me taxi or bus. I said bus. He asked where to and I said I don't know. Then remembered the address was on my phone. I showed him and then he told me to stay there because i was in the right place.
(I hope I felt on top of the world ignoring the people who were only trying to help. I realized this after the 3rd guy asked taxi or bus. But you have to understand that some people are not really trying to help a foreign girl. I will not prejudge next time.)

Though I had boarded the right bus I got off at the wrong stop. I heard a similar name and didn't see a sign so I just got off. I decided I'd better taxi it to be on time. Sometimes it doesn't pay to be cheap.

Surprise!! only the sound men and my partner were there. so the crew was kinda late and ordered KFC for us. I told my partner what our song was but he hadn't heard of it before. He only watched the dvd. I felt like we could have had an advantage because the other team hadn't looked at theirs....

We were shot being showed what songs had been chosen and we 'picked' with one we wanted to sing. Then they filmed us going over the lines together and practicing a little bit.

Before we left though guess what?.....

That's right! interview time. I was confident this time when I went in and the camera wasn't as close. The problem? I had to fish for words this time and 2 times I didn't understand something. Shame!!! I want to study until fluency and come back and do a few more shows just so everyone will remember my good side!!!

Wednesday, April 1

An Involuntary April Fool

Today I went to my last normal Chinese class. I did a speech on in-laws but since I have never been married, I just took into account others' relationships hehe My teacher was surprised that there are similarities in both of our marriage cultures.

After class I decided that, instead of studying that DVD, I'd go to lunch with some odd friends. Odd as in it's rare for us to hang out. We toured a random underground shopping district in People's Square and we found プリクラ!!!
Puri Kura is nothing but taking extremely cute pictures, decorating them, and then printing them out and posting wherever possible!! I will try to upload it here so you can see for real lol

I went to my US China relation class and that guy had planned the lesson so that we could talk about Taiwan. The only problem is, I'm sure not many Americans know anything about Taiwan's history unless it involved us...

On the way home, the night 'market' called me. I was determined to get some new socks and then i was determined to get my brother's perfect gift!! I found socks that looked good and one I bought just because it had foot padding. Hilarious! I've never seen that! Well, the gift is not that perfect as in it's not a sword, which he likes. It's a shirt with a funny saying. (Unfortunately I realized at home that he guy gave me the wring shirt. The characters were mixed and it changed the funny meaning. So yes. I will go out and re-buy the shirt, but I won't give up 20 yuan if it's that guy again!!)

I have noticed, only now, that there are no Chinese sayings on characters at all. But if it's Korean, Japanese, English, or French, you'll find it. It sucks because I want to buy "Chinese" shirts and low and behold I've only found my brothers' (and the reversed version).

I came home and was thinking of watchin the DVD but I watched some Japanese show partner will be disappointed if I don't get it down.

*******Utterly unimportant but for a little while now I've been comparing my work habits to my favorite Actor Lee Junki.....No I don't know anything about his working habits, or anything at all. But from the time I started watching him he has become more and more flawless: faultless, immaculate, impeccable, perfect, unblemished
I must get to that level one day. Actually not his level since he's still progressing, but I need to work like that.
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