Matt was in Beijing visiting me last week, which was amazing. The last three days we spent around the campus area and hung out with friends, went shopping, toured campus, etc. On Thursday, we got off a night train and I had to go hand in my grades for my english class. Most of the students are seniors, so the class is done early to get the grades in for those graduating this semester. I gave my final exam the week before, which was quite an experience. I really didn't know what was going on, but it went pretty well and I think the students did quite well. I'm hoping to meet up with the class for lunch or coffee every week instead of class until I leave.
Friday, we had lunch with a Chinese friend of my whom I a helping with her applications to US grad schools. She's pretty cool and it's fun to talk about cultural differences with a Chinese engineering student. We had hot pot which is always really fun. Basically, you have a boiling pot of soup in the middle and you add raw meat, veg, mushrooms, tofu, etc. to desired doneness and dip in delicious sesame sauce.
On Friday night, we went with one of my friends to the home of an American/Chinese family that was celebrating Thanksgiving. Matt and I contributed pumpkin pie and sweet potato casserole. We made the ingredients for the pie beforehand and put the filling liquid in a nalgene to bring, which I found really amusing. The dinner was great: turkey, mash, stuffing, sweet potatoes with ample marshmallows, green beans, all sorts of American tasting stuff I haven't had in ages. And of course the Thanksgiving food coma. We played some games, which Matt and I owned at, chatted, and played with the half-asian children. The dad was frighteningly conservative Christian ("I know what to do with gays in the military: put 'em on the front line and give 'em a gun that doesn't work!") and it was hard to keep our mouths shut when he said stupid stuff and contradicted himself every other sentence. It is kind of frightening that people that are so immune to reason exist. It renews my fear of humanity and knowledge that people are unreasonable that you really have no idea what they might do. Even so, it was a good night.
Saturday, the German embassy hosted a Christmas market, which we attended with some friends. It was naturally very expensive, but brimming with Christmas cheer, not to mention mulled wine and pretzels. There was a cookie decorating booth, which made me feel nostalgic, and lots of white people. It was strange not being able to pinpoint my friends in a crowd from their blond/brown hair.
Yesterday, I saw Matt off at the airport early in the morning and napped and read most of the day. My friend Maelle returned from a visit home to France yesterday (ironically she missed Matt by about 5 hours on either side) bringing delicious foods, so we supped on spaghetti bolognese (sidenote: for some reason, I don't like round long noodles. Fettucine, linguine ok. Spahgetti not so much. Don't ask why I don't know.) chocolate cake and French cheeses. She even brought back a round of camembert especially for me. It was awesome and helped to cheer me up. The night ended with "Wall-E." Oh, fer cute. . .
More on the last week next time.