Hello all! I hope everyone’s doing very well back in the States. We are already midway through January, which means that everyone will be going back to school and many New Years resolutions already forgotten. Not that I’m pointing the finger or anything–I didn’t even make any this year! With the passing of the holidays I celebrated my 22nd birthday, and it was pretty great. I can’t really say that it was better than my 21st last year, but this was my first (and possibly) last birthday in China. I spent it at KTV and had planned to go to a bar afterwards, but I was really in no state to do so and ended up back at the dorm fairly early. Many of my Chinese friends and people near the campus wish me and the fellow foreigners a Happy New Year, even though to them they don’t take this to be New Years at all. I got into a little bit of an argument with a friend over QQ over the meaning of “New Year” here. He agreed with me that the 31st of December is. indeed the last day of the year but that new one doesn’t really start until Chinese New Year (which is February the 10th this year). Also, for the Winter Solstice Chinese tradition is to make jiaozi and then eat them. If you don’t eat jiaozi (which are dumplings, essentially) your ears will fall off or freeze off, depending upon whom you ask. I ate plenty of jiaozi that day so I think my ears are safe.
My semester officially ended on the 9th of January. No, that was not a typo–the 9th of January. And the scary thing is that we foreigners have it easy. Most of our Chinese friends don’t finish their semester until around the 20th of January. Even though I was incredibly homesick over the holidays, I decided it was a bad idea to go home for break, mainly because of the terrible timing of my dates off. I’d be getting back to the States when all of my friends would be preparing to head back to school and my parents resuming work (if they hadn’t already). Besides, that’s a pretty pricey plane ticket and I doubt Santa would’ve picked up a hitchhiker and taken him to the other side of the world.
Now that I’m done with school for two months, I’m preparing for my trip to Taiwan. The original plan was to take a train from Kaifeng to Xiamen and from there take a ferry to Taiwan. Unfortunately, the ferry we were planning to take will be down for maintenance for a month, so we’ve had to make a few adjustments. We will now be taking the train to Xiamen, and from there a small boat to a small island that is still part of Taiwan, and then there we will take a a small plane to Taiwan and then hop on a bus to Taipei. All I think I’m missing is riding some sort of an animal (my preference would be an ostrich). I can’t say I’m necessarily excited to experience all of these modes of transportation just to get to one place, but it’s still cheaper than taking a commercial airline from the mainland to Taiwan.
I’ve had some issues recently with my VPN, mainly being that it doesn’t work anymore. I was able to get my hands on another one that allows me to access WordPress and Youtube, but not my Facebook or Twitter for some reason. Now that I have access to WordPress, I’ll try and keep up with my blog posts!