Monday, January 12, 2009

Five Weeks of Freedom!

My first semester of university is thankfully over, and I have a five-week winter break. I had no idea it would be this difficult, and the thought of having to live through it for another three and a half years is making my stomach hurt. I can only hope it gets better as I become accustomed to the Taiwan "stuff the duck" style of education. What is that? you ask. Well, their method is to overload students with a minimum of ten different classes per week, as well as the so-called "practical" sessions for a few of those classes, expecting that the students (in lieu of actually learning anything in these classes) will simply utilize their incredible memorization skills to "stuff" all this information into their brains in order to pass a test. After which they can cheerfully forget it all and prepare the brain for the next round.

This is going to be a very, very long post. I hope you're all curious enough to bear with me and read to the end. I'm going to take my week day by day, class by class, and try to give you a feel for what my life has been like since September. And then maybe you'll understand why I wasn't able to find time to write regular updates or answer e-mail! Next semester will be much the same, although I'm losing a couple classes and gaining two others.

Monday
At least I get to sleep in for a little while on Mondays. My first class at 10:10 (til noon) is Introduction to Literature. My teacher, Wang Li Hua, is a woman who appears to be in her 50s or early 60s, difficult for me to tell. She's quite nice and at least has had the experience of having a foreign student in the past, the Russian girl that I hear so much about but have never seen.

Ms. Wang's method of teaching is a slide show to accompany her lecture. The first few weeks I barely understood anything she said and had to rely on trying to read the Chinese slide show, which didn't really contain a lot of information. We don't have a textbook for this class, the teacher just gives us copies of short stories (in Chinese) to read. Some of the copies are very poor, and it's hard for me to make out the characters because they're so small. Hence, it takes me forever to try to read the stories. If I'm lucky enough to find the text somewhere online, it's a big help, because my Chinese word processor has a built-in dictionary, and that's way quicker than trying to look up a word I don't know in a regular dictionary. You see, first you have to figure out what radical the character would be listed under, then how many strokes the character is formed with, and then you can find the word. Sometimes I can guess at the pronunciation and look it up that way, but generally not. So for me to read a few short pages takes hours and hours. The Taiwan kids get through it in a snap.

The most annoying thing in this class is the behavior of my classmates. While the teacher lectures, most of the students are chatting with each other, and not quietly, either. I couldn't believe that the teacher never told them to shut up! They were so loud that I couldn't hear the teacher, even though she was using a microphone. It's very difficult for me to understand Chinese when I hear it in a noisy environment, because I just can't separate one voice from another. After suffering through this for weeks, I finally one day asked the teacher if she could please ask them to keep it down so I could understand what she was saying. She ended up giving them a scolding, told them I was more diligent than them, they should be ashamed, blah blah
blah. That kept them quiet for about 20 minutes, then we had our break, and when we came back from that, they were just as loud as before. The teacher started her lecture, and I turned around in my seat (I sit in the front row) and gave them all a loud "SSSHHHHH!!!" Only then did the teacher admonish them again. Even though it's currently better than it had been, they still talk, but they're starting to fear me. More on that later, too.

We watched some interesting movies in this class. The first was a Swedish film called 「Mother of Mine」: "During World War II, more than 70,000 Finnish children were evacuated to neutral Sweden to avoid the conflict. "Mother of Mine," the latest from the award-winning Klaus Haro ("Elina"), tackles that painful patch of history in a tale of 9-year-old Eero, a child who increasingly feels abandoned by his biological Finnish mother and yet not attached to his Swedish surrogate mom. When he is returned to Finland, his confusion intensifies." A wonderful film, this, and one I recommend. The film was in Swedish and Finnish, with both English and Chinese subtitles. Next we watched the German film, 「Run Lola Run」, in German with only Chinese subs, so I had to try to read those to understand: "Lola receives a phone call from her boyfriend Manny. He lost 100,000 DM in a subway train that belongs to a very bad guy. Lola has 20 min to raise this amount and meet Manny. Otherwise, he will rob a store to get the money. Three different alternatives may happen depending on some minor event along Lola's run." An awesome movie, if you haven't seen it, get it! These two movies we watched before mid terms, and part of the mid term exam was writing about them. The second half of the semester we saw a Japanese film called 「The Last Dance」(no English subs) and 「Immortal Beloved」, in English, yay! These were featured on the final exam.

The exams were difficult for me, because I write slowly in Chinese. On the mid term I did not have time to answer one question, and I also didn't really understand it. We were supposed to talk about the writing style in one of stories the teacher gave us, but we hadn't ever discussed it in class. I'd read most of it, but I didn't really pick up on the fact that it was a satire, because I didn't understand all of it. The teacher gave me 60% on my mid term. I just checked my final grade for the class and it's 76, yay! One great thing about her tests is that she allows us to bring all of our notes with us, so this time I used the notes I'd taken (which were better than during the first half), but once again I didn't have time to finish. I think some of the other students had the same problem, though.

When Literature ends at noon, I go back home and start to type up my notes from class, look up information on the Internet (gotta figure out which authors she talks about, because she uses the Chinese transliteration of their names, and I have to find out the English, because we don't just discuss Chinese literature, but Western as well). I have my lunch and take care of any eBay stuff, and I try to relax a little bit. At 3:30 I head back out for a fifty-minute class that begins at 4:10.

I hate this class more than I can say. I hate the subject (Introduction to Computers, Practical Session), and I hate the smarmy Teaching Assistant who runs it. Here's how the class goes: the kids file in, sit down, fire up the computers, and start surfing the Internet. The TA starts his slide show and talks a mile a minute, flipping slides faster than I can read. The other students completely ignore him while I try to follow along. I got completely lost when he was giving the lesson on using the university's BBS system (talk about outdated, who the hell uses BBS these days?), and the kids on either side of me were doing their own thing, so I asked the TA for help. That supercilious little prick told me to ask my classmates. I finally gave up toward the end of the hour and started surfing like the others, and that asshole came over to ME, completely ignoring the 75 other kids who were playing, and told me I should pay attention. Yeah, right,
fat lot of good it does to pay attention when I don't understand and you're not willing to take time to help me.

So in the first semester this completely unnecessary class has brought us lessons in how to use Internet search engines like Google and Yahoo, the bare bones of how to use Word and Powerpoint, how to set up Outlook Mail, and other basics that any 10-year-old child these days already knows. I've often not gone to class, sending the TA an e-mail telling him I'm too busy focusing on more important studies. Half the time his projector stops working 5 minutes into class, and it takes him a good 10 minutes to get it going again. If I get 30 minutes of actual instruction out of this I'm lucky. For that I should leave my comfy home and make the trip back to school? Uh uh.

The TA's section on the mid-term exam was laughable, 15 multiple choice questions, such as "What's Tamkang University's website address?" "Which of these websites can be used to search?" "Which of these e-mail addresses is for the university?" Of course these are things EVERYONE knows, how ridiculous is this? The final exam was more difficult, because there were quite a few questions about Word and Presentations, but since all I have is the English version of these, I don't recognize the terms in Chinese, and I couldn't understand many of the questions. It's not like he actually TAUGHT us anything during his sessions, either, because he himself didn't seem to know it. More gripes about computer class to come.

Tuesday
No sleeping in, it's up at 6:00 a.m. for the first class at 8:10 - English. My teacher is Wang Wei Ying aka Wanda. She's either in her late 20s or early 30s, a tiny little thing with a mass of permed hair that she wears in two bushy pigtails with a head scarf, making her look like a refugee from the 60s. She's kinda laid back, which is a bad thing, because these kids really need some stern measures. When we first started, she only used English, but she soon realized that the kids didn't understand anything she was saying, so now she uses English and then repeats it all in Chinese. I'm not surprised the kids don't understand, as the Taiwan method of teaching
English is stupid. The kids almost never get a chance to talk in class, so they never use any of the words or grammar they're "learning." The teacher's English is not great, either. Oh, she's not horrible, but she often leaves the "s" off plurals and her pronunciation is odd, as well as the rhythm of her sentences. It's a very boring class for me, but since the alternative would be trying to learn Japanese, I'll gladly sit through this. When the kids have dictation tests, I get to read the sentences, and they love that. One day I didn't go when they had a test, and they all complained to me after, saying they can't understand the teacher.

This is another class where their behavior annoys the piss out of me. We had to do group assignments, reading dumbed-down versions of classic books and then giving a group report. Every single time a group was at the front giving their report, the rest of the class was chatting and laughing and totally ignoring the group on stage. Wanda rarely tells the kids to shut up, and although their noise didn't affect my ability to understand, it just made me angrier each time. Many times I'd turn around and to the "SSHHH!" at them (and remember, I have a lot of classes with the same kids and have been through this more than once).

I didn't have trouble with the tests, of course, although I didn't get 100%. There were sections where I had to fill in the blank, given the first and last letter of the word. I just couldn't think of any words that fit sometimes!I'm sure if I'd memorized the lessons, like the other kids, it would have come to me, but I honestly didn't spend much time reading the boring textbook. I also think I'm slowly forgetting English!

So, my last day of this semester in English class, the final two groups gave their reports, and I had to keep turning around and shushing the students. Before we dismissed, I asked Wanda if I could say a few words to the kids. She gave me the microphone, and I blasted them. I told them they were incredibly rude, they had no respect for teachers or classmates, and that if I were their teacher, they'd have been kicked out of my class and given a big fat zero. I told them they were adults, not children, and that they should start acting like it, especially if any of them wanted to go abroad to continue studying, because this sort of behavior wouldn't be tolerated
in Western universities. I scolded them in English and then in Chinese to make sure they understood. They all looked pretty sheepish, but I'm betting it doesn't make a bit of difference. They may be 18 years old, but they're more like 13- or 14-year-old American kids.

After English class is Phys Ed. We spent a few weeks in the weight training room, which I enjoyed, then a couple sessions of volleyball, which I couldn't do as I can't run (but I helped serve the ball a few times), then I had to go buy a bathing suit for our swimming portion. We ended up in the water exactly once. Then we moved on to badminton, which was sort of fun for about 5 minutes and then was a huge bore.

I totally love the teacher, Sunny Qin. She was a pretty huge basketball star in her youth, and she's got a great sense of humor. She also doesn't tolerate any nonsense or impolite behavior from her girls, which I really appreciated. I'm quite sad that I can't have her next semester, but she'll only be teaching basketball, and I sure as hell can't do that. I have to choose my Phys Ed class this time, and so far I don't know what to take. There's not much I can do with this knee, but since it's a required course, I need to pick something. It ain't gonna be swimming, because that's co-ed, and damned if I'm putting this fat on display.

Tuesday noon it's back home for a much-needed shower, lunch, and then working on any assignments I have (which is usually a lot), plus the eBay.

Once again I have to leave home at 3:30 for the much-hated 4:10 - 6:00 Introduction to Computers class. I tried, I really did. I did my best to pay attention, although the volume of the other students' chatter effectively kept me from understanding the teacher. No one is interested in this class, and they either spend the time sleeping, studying other subjects, or talking loudly. The teacher is a nice enough guy, Xu Zhi Peng, and he's even sorta cute, but the stuff he teaches is way over our heads and completely unrelated to the normal person's needs. He's teaching us as if we were majoring in computers, for crying out loud! The first part of the semester I did manage to learn some things, like the Chinese names for computer system parts, and the test was relatively easy (I got an 87% on it), although I couldn't manage to memorize some of the meaningless data. The second half of the semester was ridiculous, with him teaching totally technical stuff that I'll never, ever need to use and certainly don't understand (and wouldn't
in English, either). I asked him when he was reviewing some complicated number chart for the final, "Can you please tell me when I will use this information and of what practical use it is?" His reply, "No use, just for the sake of taking a test, that's all." WTF? I'm quite certain I failed the final, because most of the questions I couldn't understand. I kept writing, "I don't understand the Chinese." next to the questions.

I have to suffer one more semester of this required garbage. I'm gonna die. I loathe it, simply loathe it, and now I use the time to study my other subjects, because I don't need this information, I don't want this information, and I don't understand this information. I'll be goddamned if I'll waste my time memorizing completely useless stuff just because Taiwan'
s Ministry of Education has decided that all students need this crap.

Wednesday
Another early day, but I eventually began skipping the first class at 8:10, because I already know how to type, both in Chinese and English. I've become friends with my teacher, whose name is Way, and I'd at least go in early enough to chat a bit with him before my 10:00 class. He's a sweetie, gave me 100% on my tests. I'm losing this class next semester, but Way and I will still find time to hang out. Instead of this class, I have to take some stupid Science and Technology Revolution class (it's on Friday afternoon,not Wednesday a.m., I can sleep in, but now my Friday is totally screwed.), and I know I'm going to suck at that. I checked out the syllabus, and it's stuff about DNA, genes, air pollution, global warming, the development of
technology - I'm supposed to be able to understand this in Chinese? Yeah....right.

My Readings in Chinese Poetry class if also extremely hard for me. The first few weeks I mostly didn't understand anything the teacher was saying in class and found it difficult to even know where in the book we were. The teacher, Ma Ming Hao, is an awesome dude, though. He's funny, tells entertaining stories (even when I don't understand I can tell they're funny!), and is very patient with me. He and I agree that it's stupid to expect a foreign student to be able to understand poetry during the first year, and this class should be deferred until year 3 or 4, but since that's not possible, he's found a lovely PhD student named Sammi to work with me once
a week to help me learn. He was also totally nice for both exams, allowing me (and the three Korean exchange students whose Chinese is much worse than mine) to work on the answers at home instead of having to do it during the test. He gave me 60% on the mid-term, and I'm hoping I did a bit better on the final.

So one day, after he'd found Sammi to help me but we hadn't started yet, he says he'll be having lunch with her that day, so I asked if I could go along so we could talk about how to help me. Well, it turned out that five of us went to lunch at a nearby Japanese restaurant, and instead of discussing teaching me, we all got rip-roaring drunk. :) Mr. Ma treated us (he has lunch with those three PhD students every Wednesday, too), and the beer just kept coming. I had a blast and missed my 3:00 class, and that evening I didn't manage to get anything done because I had a hangover. But damn, it was fun!

I'm trying to make a head start in poetry for next semester, with a goal of reading at least five of the 300 Tang Dynasties Poems every day and trying to analyze their structure (old Chinese poetry has some strict rules which must be followed when writing). Sammi has given me some very helpful info, and I'm looking forward to our weekly sessions.

Here's how great Mr. Ma is - he gave me an overall grade of 77 for the semester! So far Literature and Poetry are the only two classes for which the grade has been posted, keeping fingers crossed for the rest.

On Wednesdays I usually meet my friend Maria for lunch, but sometimes she's busy, and I end up eating lunch alone. I like my classmates, but they're all so immature that I really don't want to spend much time with them, I can't handle that much giggling. I'd been eating in the cafeteria when Maria couldn't join me, but now I go to a nice, quiet place called Black Tea House. It's a little more expensive, like US$5 as apposed to US$1.50, but worth it for the peace.

At 1:10 on Wednesday I had my very favorite class, Taiwan History, and I can't tell you how sad I am that I don't get to continue this next semester.

I love my History teacher, Wu Ming Yong. This guy knows how to make a subject interesting. And it's the only class in which I had so much laughter and a good time. Plus, the guy is a hunk! Well, to me he is. I find him very attractive, but I'm quite sure he's married (I think he's in his late 40s), although he doesn't wear a ring and says he's always in his office until midnight or later working on his thesis, which doesn't sound like a married guy. I mean, wouldn't a married guy go home and work? I flirt with him outrageously and ply him with baked goods, too. If there's a wife, I'll find out sooner or later. But anyway, I did love the class, although I had to read a lot on my own in English because the textbook was too hard for me. You see, one problem I have is not being able to differentiate Chinese names (of people or places) from other Chinese words. It's not
like English, where is you see the word "David" you know it's a person's name. Chinese name words are also regular vocabulary words, and that makes it really hard to make sense out of what I'm reading sometimes. So, most of what I read about Taiwan's history was in English, and I had to use a lot of English to answer the questions on the final, but I don't think Mr. Wu's English is very good. :( I was able to use Chinese on the mid-term, though, and I got an 80%. Now, I don't really think I did that well, I think Mr. Wu just was being nice to me, because he knows how hard I try (and because I give him Kahlua cake, cheesecake, and tiramisu, hahaha). I also helped translate some Chinese to English for him, although I had to enlist help from Aaron and Claire to do so.

Anyway, I'm thinking about auditing one of his classes next semester, right before the stupid science class. I figure if I can have a fun class with a gorgeous guy first, then it won't be so awful. I'm not willing to give up a class with the first guy I've been attracted to (well, other than Wu
Bai) since I got here! Funny thing, he's from the same part of Taiwan as Wu Bai, has the same last name, and similar facial features. Hm, I guess that's just what I like. I'd better hope he never stumbles across this blog, huh?

The class that's replacing the History class on Wednesday's next semester is one dealing with ancient Chinese novels, which I'm a bit anxious about, because one of my classmates told me that the ancient language is super hard to understand, even for native speakers. However, I read the students' critiques of the teacher, and she sounds pretty cool, so I'll give it my best shot.

Thursday
Best thing about this day is getting to sleep in, because the first class isn't until 1:10. It kinda goes downhill from there, though.

Well, not entirely. I truly do like Chinese Paleography, because I love studying the origins of the Chinese language. My teacher, Gao Wan Yu, is in her early 30s and really easy to understand. Also, we have a fairly easy textbook, with Chinese that's not very complicated, and she pretty
much follows the book in class. The problem is the amount of information we're covering. It's a lot for me to absorb, because I have to read the text more than once, and that takes a long time. I also read as much as I can in English, as well, because that helps me remember more.

I had my first breakdown of the semester in this class. I'd already been feeling totally overwhelmed and wasn't understanding much in any of my classes, and we had a "small" test, for which I'd prepared the best I could. Well, I got a zero (first time in my life I ever failed a test!), because I couldn't even answer one question. I started crying in class, and I kept crying through the rest of the afternoon. It was so frustrating, because I was understanding what I was reading, but none of it was staying in my head. I went to the Office of Foreign Exchange that
afternoon and just sobbed my heart out, trying to get them to understand how hard it was and telling them I felt cheated by the department chair. When I'd gone to see him before I applied, I asked him if he thought a foreigner studying in the Chinese Department would have difficulty (since ALL my Taiwan friends told me it would be too hard, they thought it was too hard for them!), and he assured me that I'd have absolutely no trouble at all. Liar!

Anyway, he must have realized I was in distress during his class after the Paleography class (the tears probably gave it away), and I ran into him on campus as I was heading home. He told me he'd talk to Ms. Gao and see if they could come up with an alternate method for me.

After that is when I discovered that Wikipedia had a lot of info that was taken from the English translation of our textbook and started studying that. I wanted to buy the book, but the only one I found online was US$200, and that's just too much. So, I studied harder, and the next "small" test we had, I got 57! That time I used English to answer a lot of the questions, and the teacher has no problem reading and understanding. I felt so good about my improvement, and Ms. Gao told me that for the mid-term I could also write a report about Oracle Bone Script to add points. I learn so much more when I do research on a subject, and research I did. I knew all the ins and outs of Oracle Bone Script by the time I was done with that report. I studied very hard for the mid-term, and I got a 56 on it. Best of all, mine was NOT the lowest score in class - I did better than some of the Taiwan kids, yeah!

I probably spend more time on this class than any other, because I actually do understand this one, and I feel that I'm really learning something. I'm crap at taking tests, though. For Christmas, Ms. Gao gave me a gift - another "small" test. Yeah, we don't get Christmas off here in Taiwan, I had a test that day instead. And once again I did a miserable job, despite the hours of preparation. I only got 4 points on that one. Sheesh. And I got an assignment to add points - another report, this time on the script used during the Warring States Period.

The final wasn't quite as bad as I was expecting, and I managed to do an OK job (but I still couldn't remember a lot). I know I passed, because I went by to talk to Ms. Gao on Friday, and she said I did a good job and that my report was very good. I'm sure I'll have an OK time next semester, as she wants me to help her with her English, and she knows how much I like her class, so at least I don't have to stress about possible failure for this one. The two of us are going to go to the National Palace Museum together during my break, because I want to go and really LOOK at all bronzes that I wasn't impressed with before, because I never realized how very old they were and that they contained some of the earliest writing found. I have a new appreciation for bronzes now, Carol!

So, after Paleography is the "sweep up the already immaculate road" class. I have no problem with doing some productive community service work, but my group got assigned to hunt down and rake up leaves in one of the cleanest areas of the campus. And talk about a bunch of lazy-assed kids, I had to keep grabbing the rake away from one of the guys and doing it myself because he doesn't know the concept of "put your back into it." It's annoying, but we're usually done within a half hour, so what the hell. It's no fun in the heat of summer, and it's no fun when it's cold, either. Maybe we'll get assigned to a dirty area next semester so I'll get some some of feeling of accomplishment.

Thursday is the day I dread the most because of the last class of the day, Introduction to Chinese Classics, taught by Mr. Cui, the head of the department (you know, the guy who promised me I'd have no trouble?). I'd leave this class confuzzled every time, because I understood NOTHING, and I'd have a headache from the way he would scream into the mike. I think my friend Maria must have said something to him about that (lord knows I complained
to her enough about it), because over the last few weeks he's not been so loud. I would often begin to cry in this class, because it seemed so hopeless and futile. I couldn't make heads or tails out of the handouts he gave us, because they're all in very formal Chinese, which is nothing like what I learned in language class. I couldn't understand anything he was talking about. I couldn't read what he wrote on the board because he uses calligraphy, which while very beautiful is not easy for me to interpret. After ever class I'd tell him, "Teacher, I don't understand ANYTHING AT ALL." He'd just reply by telling me not to worry, take it slowly, you'll get there, just come to class - "Trust me!"

I had no clue how to prepare for the mid-term. I didn't even know what the teacher's objective was! I got my test paper, looked it over and couldn't understand a bit of it, and spent the whole test time writing a big long letter (in English) to him, telling him how I felt, not just about his class but all of it, and then waited for him to talk to me. It took almost 3 weeks for the test score to be posted, and I damned near fainted from shock when I saw he gave me 80%. Again, WTF? I didn't answer even one question! While I appreciate his kindness, this is totally unfair to the Taiwan students who spent so much time studying.

The day he handed the test papers back, he took me outside the classroom and told me he wanted to find a Master's student to help me. I asked for Amy, the girl from Malaysia I'd done English camp with. She set up an appointment with me, and I went to see her, hoping she'd be able to shed some light on this subject. It was a joke. She said, "Mr. Cui just wants you to know
you don't have to worry, just go to class every time, take it slowly, you'll get there....blah, blah, blah." So, basically, I could do nothing except bring my body to class and I'd pass. OK, that's fine, but I'm actually trying to LEARN something here!

Nowadays I set next to Momo during class, and she helps me to make sure I've written down anything Mr. Cui says is for the exam. She helps me decipher his handwriting, too. Momo is a sweetie, and she loves the Chinese Department. She's helped me quite a bit this semester. But you know what? I thought I'd be much more prepared for the final, as I had what I thought was all the info I needed. I studied it, copied it over and over, tried to remember it (which is damned hard when you don't understand what you're trying to remember!), but when the final came, it was loaded with stuff I didn't even remember seeing. Crap on a rope. Oh well, I'm not worried, because I was able to answer at least some things this time, so he should give me 100% for that!

Friday
Last semester Friday was the best, because there was only one class at 9:10 a.m., and that only for 50 minutes. However, because they've added that stupid Science class in the afternoon at 3:00, that effectively ruins the whole friggin' day, which is why I'm willing to audit Mr. Wu's 1:00-3:00 class. I mean, what the hell, it's not like I can do anything else.

This class is the "practical" session for my hated Intro to Chinese Classics. The first few weeks, I sat in the back next to a guy who is very helpful, but again, because of the noisy conversations going on, I couldn't understand anything the young TA was saying. She had a mike, but it didn't help. I finally moved to the front row, and after suffering through the same rotten behavior (talking during class, talking during group presentations), I turned on them one day and told them to shut the fuck up, that I couldn't hear anything, and that I was already under enough pressure. I was so pissed off that I was crying, which I hate. So, they shouldn't have been too surprised when I lambasted them after English class, because they'd already gotten it once.

I don't feel that I got anything at all out of this class, but at least I got to watch a great movie, 「Rouge 」with Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui. The TA let me write a report on the movie instead of doing a book report like the others, because she knew it would take me forever to finish reading a book. I hope next semester I will understand a bit more of what's going on.

So, that's been my life since September. I'm mostly miserable, with a couple of bright spots such as two fabulous pub concerts (although queuing in line all day sucked) which got me up close and personal with my adored Wu Bai and China Blue, an autograph session where I stood in front of my adored Wu Bai and told him it was all his fault that my life sucked now, because if I'd never discovered him then I'd never have moved here. He laughed at me, the stinker. Another very fun thing is that Dino, the drummer for China Blue, and Xiao Zhu the bass player have opened a fabulous Italian restaurant not far from where I live, and I've gone there a couple of times for food and fun and will go again on Saturday.

I had no Christmas. I had no New Year's Eve (we were off school Thursday and Friday, but since finals were on the following Monday, my time was spent preparing for those). I considered the December 20 pub show to be my Christmas present, and the party at Dino's place on January 3 was my New Year celebration.

There are two more bright spots coming: I'm going to Thailand January 23 through February 1 for Terry and Cheryl's wedding, and I'm really looking forward to that. I miss my friends, damn it! I have no social life to speak of here, and I'm sick to death of being around immature kids, I need adult conversation. And then on February 28 there's another pub show, so I get to see my favorite guys once again (but queuing all day will suck, ha).

Next semester I have nine different classes, all of which are required, so please don't ask me if I can't take it a bit easier. I would if I could, believe me. I need 139 credits to graduate. My first year I'll only make 31 of those. I need to average 34.75 credits per year to make that 139, so there'd best be some classes in the future that give more than 2 credits per, because I don't think I can handle any more classes per week!

I'm all typed out now, and about to faint from lack of food (it's 1:56 p.m., haven't had a thing to eat today). Thank you, my friends, for understanding my lack of communication and still remaining my friends. You can just figure that the next few months will be pretty much the same as what's written above. I'll do what I can to stay in touch, but don't expect a whole lot
out of me, K?

Love you all, miss you much.....

3 comments:

Mekee said...

Enjoy your much deserved winter break and have a fantastic time in Thailand :)

Romita said...

My Sweet Marla. I cried and laughed. Rest up and sleep in. You deserve it.

scenic said...

Missed you! Hope you'll have an awesome break and a much better next term! Keep in touch :D