Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Harmoniousness

I think I've discovered the national favorite word here:  和谐。It means harmonious.  Chinese culture puts a lot of emphasis on things being harmonious.  Your associations with other people, the way you organize your own life, the variety of foods that you consume, the bacteria in your wastewater treatment plant, all are subject to this strange word.  It's especially weird because it's always translated as "harmonious," a word I don't think I've ever seen in my life before coming here.  

I'm doing some more work in the lab and reading scads of academic papers, which is actually very interesting (tiring though).  This weekend, my aunt and uncle are visiting, and also a professor from my university, so I will be flooded with things to do.  Also planned are a photo scavenger hunt with foreign friends, and possibly KTV (karaoke) with Chinese friends.  

I've somehow met several engineering students who are applying to their PhD programs in the states right now and have been helping with essays and CVs.  It's pretty interesting to talk to them about the process.  Apparently, the profs are all so busy here, that none of the letters of recommendation are actually written by the prof.  The student writes it and the prof signs it.  Seems a little shady to me.

Also, I've booked a plane ticket to Nepal in January, so I'm for sure going there to volunteer, probably in some po-dunk Nepalese village entertaining small children.  Should be interesting for a couple of weeks.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

how exactly are bacteria harmonious? They seem pretty unharmonious to me.