October 3, 2010 · 4:54 pm
It’s hard to believe another week has flown by! I think the shock of culture of shock is finally dulling into the gradual acceleration of familiar time… punctuated by new Chinese vocabulary words, meeting new friends, and trying to balance maintaining a lifestyle with exploring a new place! I am starting to get the urge to travel around our beautiful island of Formosa in an upcoming weekend, but this week, I satisfied my wanderlust by climbing a local “small mountain park” near my apartment, braving the wilds of the Zheng Da library, and seeking out an American style weekend brunch.
You have not paid your expat in Taipei dues until you've photographed Taipei 101 in a glamour shot and posted it on the internet. Can check that one off the list!
Some finds included: a gorgeous view of Taipei from the top of Fujoushan park, a whole collection of books in English on the 4th floor of the main library at Zheng Da, including the first volume of the recently published collected letters of Samuel Beckett (!!!!!), and a plate full of eggs, bacon, and hash browns!
It was a good week. Continue reading →
September 28, 2010 · 1:55 pm
Ting Xie, Ting Xie, where for art thou Ting Xie? Deny thy stroke order and refuse thy shape; or if thou wilt not, but be sworn my pinyin and I’ll no longer be a Chinese student.
Clearly, studying has gone to my head and loosened some screws. It has also tightened others– namely, the ones that help me remember the way to write Chinese characters, the same way every time, so that I can produce them on command when I hear them. And that is the essence of “Ting Xie” (聽寫), or in English, dictation (The literal translation is “listen, write”).
I have done a little dictation before in French, but this is a completely different ball game. In my Chinese class, we write pinyin (romanized spelling of the pronunciation), tones (1 of 4, or none), and draw the characters. I prepare by looking up every character’s stroke order, and then practicing each character 5-15 times, as well as writing and reading all of the possible sentences and phrases we might be tested on.
It is a fairly tedious way to study– however, inexplicably, it works. Continue reading →
September 11, 2010 · 12:48 pm
Hey there folks, it’s hard to believe another week has veritably flown by! This week was marked by the start of my Chinese class at Zheng Da– which included mind-blowing panic about my ability to speak, understand, and learn this fine language–some delicious meals, a trip to the Taipei IKEA and other adventures with my roommate, interesting new people, intense bus rides, and in just the last 2 days, Fulbright Orientation! The latter was particularly exciting because it felt like a real kick-off to the year. And there are some amazing people doing research grants, teaching assistantships, and faculty exchanges.
Anyway, the majority of this week’s photo highlights can really be summed up by two categories: eating cool new Taiwanese fruit, and commuting to class and back! Continue reading →
September 6, 2010 · 2:45 am
I’m now a student at the Chinese Language Center of National Chengchi University! Talk about a mouthful. But calling it “Zheng Da” helps—short for Zheng Zhi (政治 Chengchi) Da Xue (大學 University)–and makes me feel so in the know around the Taiwanese academic circuit. (There’s also Shi Da, Tai Da, among other major universities around the city.) Last week, I spent a few days on campus—doing the fun orientation stuff, the tedious bureaucratic stuff, and just walking around and getting comfortable there. My Chinese class for foreigners, located in the International Building on “upper campus,” starts later today.
As for Zheng Da, I love it! The campus is near the MRT stop called Taipei Zoo, which is in the southeast corner of Taipei, so it’s much more rural than the middle of the city. Continue reading →