Tuesday, June 17, 2008

9/8/07 "No Blog"

So, a week into my program I finally had enough time on the internet to post a blog only to find that China blocks blogspot. So, I will just mass email what I would have blogged and work on a forum to post pictures.

I've been in China for four days now, though I've been away from home for five, and yet it feels as though I've been in China for weeks on weeks already. The group that I am with is an incredible conglomeration of strong individuals who can blend wonderfully into a brilliant group. Upon our arrival in Kunming, there was a small army-like formation of airport/luggage men (see picture). Once through customs, we drove straight to the Yunnan Nationalities University, where we'll be taking classes as well as living for the first month before we move in with Kunming families. The campus is lush with green and stone pathways, beautiful in sight, and occasionally accompanied by the stench of sewer water. The dormitories are packed full of students, two bunkbeds for four students living in room slightly larger to a Bissman room (to those of you from Wooster). In other words, they are very small rooms, especially for four people. However, for our group, we have a floor to ourselves, two to a room, and the rooms are just about the size of a Douglass double (very accommodating). There are two beds, two desks, two night stands, a water cooler since you can't drink the tap water, a shared armoire, and at least an 18" T.V. with a nice T.V. stand. The luxury of the T.V. is very odd considering the obstacles of the bathroom. So, when you walk in the door of the dorm room, there is a room for the furniture (beds, T.V., and all) and then a set of window and plastic door which go into a mud room of sorts with cabinets and a big washing sink. Then there are bars for windows which feed right outside without any glass. Therefore, the one window between the bedroom and mudroom is our only way of retaining heat in the room. It must get in the 40's by night. It feels like that anyways, so I've been sleeping in my long underwear top, and a fleece or sweatshirt, or both. So just inside of the mudroom, to the left, is the bathroom. You walk through the plastic louver doors and there's enough room for you to stand with a toilet to your left and the sink to your right. The shower head (mind you, shower head, not separate shower) is directly in front of you. So it's like it's a shower room with a sink and toilet. Therefore, when either my roommate or I shower, we have to take everything out of the bathroom like the toilet paper which we had to buy and the trashcan which we had to buy and whatever else that we don't want to get wet. It's truly a good space saver and you just have to towel everything off after you shower. Unfortunately the water doesn't dry by morning, so we have to remember not to wear socks into the bathroom. There is a drain, by the way, and a separator between the bathroom and mudroom that keeps the water from spreading. So that is my dorm life. In addition, I wake at 6:30AM to the freshman class marching around campus in army uniform, commanded by their officers. That's different. They do it again at 5:00PM. We only stayed on campus the first night. The next three nights we spent in Tonghai, a small town 3 hours south of Kunming, for our orientation.

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