Thursday, November 02, 2006

La Duzi and Nightgowns

You know you are studying in China when...

We have learned the words for various illnesses, including head ache, tooth ache, cold/flu, cough, and (to have a) temperature. So yesterday, we learned the words for stomach ache, feces, urine and diarrhea. Yup, I can now tell my Laoshi that something I ate gave me diarrhea. If I'm feeling ambitious, I can also describe the basic color and consistency. 昨天我因为拉肚子了,所以没有来上课。 Translation - I didn't attend class yesterday because I had diarrhea. I don't remember learning how to say that by the 27th lesson in Spanish. You know that you are studying in China when after 2 months, you can say diarrhea, feces, urine, and enteritis.

It was quite a surprise to me to discover that there is a "shower building" on campus. The dorms do not have showers, and so the Chinese students must go to the "shower building" to bathe. They get 3 complimentary showers a week, and must pay for additional shower usage. Additionally, there is only hot water between 12:30 and 22:30, and so there are always crowds of students going to take showers after dinner. Walking, on bicycles, and a few on scooters and motorcycles. All with shower caddies or wash basins, some with a change of clothes. It took me three weeks to figure out what was going on every night. And because wearing your pajamas outside is acceptable, students often leave the shower building in pajamas. It wasn't so bad in Sept., but now it is cold outside in the evening. Can you imagine American college students having to go outside to take showers, especially in the winter? You know that you are studying in China when you see girls with wet hair walking on campus at 6pm, in their nightgowns.

Ah, back to studying...

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