So this week we went back to class, and it was amazing how quickly I reverted to vacation mode. I managed to stay on top of things, despite varying amounts of sleep during the week, but overall I had a pretty good time.
This week I also started to branch out a little. I went to my first calligraphy class on Tuesday, because I’d had so much fun at the language activity, and it was a great time. We’d learn a new stroke, and then while we practiced it we could talk and basically hang out, with the teacher and with each other. There were a couple non-immersion girls in that class as well as a friend from my class, so it was fun doing things with new people as well. I’m glad I got most of my homework between the normal classes ending and the calligraphy class beginning though, because I definitely didn’t want to do any by the time I got home. Next week we’re all gonna go out for hotpot after class, and I’m pretty excited.
We also had our second test of the semester. We have them every two weeks in comprehensive class, but we had one the first week as a way to test whether or not we’d been placed in the right classes for our levels. It was pretty rough trying to remember vocabulary that I hadn’t used since before the break, and I’m pretty sure my grade is going to take a hit from that, but I know it’s my own fault for not studying as much as I could have. This week I also had some problems just getting my thoughts in line with words that I do know, so I think it was just kind of a rough time in general, as far as my language is concerned. Still, I’m pretty okay with it, I know I can’t be speaking perfectly all the time.
The nice thing about Friday was that after the test, all the immersion students went back to the apartments to cook food and make 汤圆， or sweet dumplings. A funny coincidence that on Thursday morning, in the middle of the night, my dad had asked me if I’d had scrambled eggs and tomatoes yet, a dish he’d never quite been able to replicate. That day, my teacher told us that one of the dishes we were going to be making was scrambled eggs and tomatoes. And that night, guess what my host parents made for dinner? You guessed it, scrambled eggs and tomatoes. It was a highly amusing coincidence. So of course, even though I don’t like tomatoes, I was the one who volunteered to cook up the eggs and tomatoes. I really like eating the eggs in that dish, because I love dishes that tomatoes are in, as long as I don’t have to put a big chunk of one in my mouth.
After we cooked and ate our food, my friend who lives in the dorm and I decided to hang out in the apartment with the other immersion girls, and we had a great time. We played Just Dance using our phones, ate leftovers from lunch, and also played Honey I Love You, which was markedly different than when I played it as a kid, seeing as I was playing it with a bunch of adults. We also made a quick outing to get some wine from a store that sells international food, and there I bought it. My first bottle in four years. A little overpriced, but worth every mao – kriek.
For those of you who don’t know, kriek is a lambic cherry beer, very popular in Belgium. It’s very fruity, but not actually all that sweet – in fact, when I was in Belgium the brand I had on Friday was my least favorite, because it felt so much sweeter than some others, but compared to some American sweet drinks, this was just fruity and very tart, not sugary at all. I’ve literally had dreams about this drink, in which my sole objective is to obtain some of it. My mouth is watering as I write this right now. It was a wonderful experience, and if I could go out and buy a rack of 24 right now, I would. (There are other Belgian beers that I haven’t seen much in America at this store, and I’m tempted to get some of those as well, but honestly every time I go back I’m probably just going to get distracted by the kriek).
Finally, we also watched a ridiculous Chinese movie on TV that we managed to understand thanks to its relatively simple plot and our basic Chinese knowledge. It was an action comedy, titled Mission Milano in English. I highly recommend this strange and amusing film to anyone who can find it with subtitles.
Our spread – broccoli, a cucumber celery salad, scrambled eggs and tomatoes, and stir fried chicken and peppers, with the sweet, red bean or sesame dumplings for dessert.
The kriek. I prefer Morte Subite myself, but Lindemans seems to be the only brand I can find outside of Europe, and any kriek is good kriek.