This week was wonderfully warm and clear, which means that, of course, it was one of the most intense weeks for the students – midterms week. It was also, of course, the week that my occasionally scratchy throat decided to turn into a full blown cold.

Monday was really the worst day, with what I’m fairly certain was a small fever during one of my classes, and just general terrible feelings. I decided to go to sleep pretty early that night, and leave finishing my homework for lunch the next day, which turned out to be a good idea, because I felt relatively good on Tuesday. The rest of the week was just battling exhaustion while trying to stay on top of the continuous new words as well as studying all of the chapters studied up until this point, amounting to a book and a half.

Monday was also the last day for one of my favorite teachers, who told us quite suddenly that she was returning back to her hometown to work (which had been part of her long term plan from the start). This was really saddening, and I’m going to miss her a lot. Because she didn’t tell us we couldn’t get her anything, and I wasn’t sure how to say goodbye to her, since hugging people isn’t really that much of a thing in China and I was barely keeping myself awake in the first place.

I’m fairly certain that both my spoken and written midterms went well. I felt particularly confident with most of the written one, although I did finish 15 minutes early – something that doesn’t usually happen. I decided to take it as a good sign, guarding the pieces of that day’s birthday cake for when my classmates got out of the test. As time passed, I started getting more worried about my speedy finish, and by the time everyone else finished – an hour after the allotted time – I became pretty concerned about my speed. I think a lot of it is that I spent a lot more time sleeping than them (in order to try and make my cold go away), so that I might not be quite as well versed in all aspects of our lessons, but my mind was working a lot better. Most of the test felt fairly easy to me, and like I understood it, so I’m hoping that’s a good sign. I guess I’ll find out on Monday.

After a break, we had a Chinese style painting class, where we used ink and water to paint pandas eating bamboo. I had a lot of fun, despite my frustrations with anything remotely resembling watercolors, and afterwards I went with three other classmates to play mahjong. We did this for a while, and then my friend and I went to get baozi together. She didn’t have much money on her student card, but they’re so cheap that we still both got a lot. Afterwards we went to the store, so I could pick up some sweet bread and snacks. At this store, because I hadn’t eaten much that day, I decided to get more baozi, and was able to order them without pointing at anything – only speaking. I’m really proud of this fact, although it did mean that I got a type that I don’t like as much as some of the other ones, because that’s the one I know how to say. Still, I’m happy with my ability to get them at all, even if it is a very simple task. On my way home I felt so good that I stopped and got some pineapple at a street stall, and, although I did forget how to say pineapple, it’s pretty common in street stalls to point and say ‘how much is this’, so I still consider the evening a triumph. After that I was more than happy to sleep early, and spend all day today resting and chatting with my friends. Here’s to more warm clear weather and successes with my speaking ability!

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My panda eating his bamboo – I had a hard time getting enough water off my brush, so the ink spread a little bit more than expected, but I think that the overall result is pretty okay!

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