You may have heard, but there were riots in Xinjiang that spread to other areas of China (not anywhere close to Beijing) and as a result, the government has now blocked Facebook in addition to the already blocked Blogspot. I'm so glad U-M has remote wireless access, without it I wouldn't be able to post, or - oh god! - check my facebook! There are a couple poor souls here who's schools don't provide a VPN client so last night I ended up lending my computer to one of them so he could update his blog and such.
On a lighter note, yesterday in class one of the girls mentioned that she loved people with green eyes and the teacher just looked confused and said, "lan-se? (blue?)" and she said, "bu shi, lu-se (no, green)." we all pointed at someone's green tea bottle and she was just so shocked so I raised my hand and said I have green eyes, so at the end of class all the 260-level teachers came over and looked at my eyes. Hooray for spreading knowledge about white people?
During our discussions during our small group classes, some differences in mannerisms have become apparent, like: Chinese people don't ever make quotation marks with their fingers. The first time one of my classmates did that the teacher laughed so hard! Another is how Americans say "soooo...." at the end of our sentences sometimes when debating/discussing an issue as kind of an implied summary of everything we just said. It doesn't work in Chinese, we say "suoyi..." and the teacher says "suoyi, shenme? ("so" what?)" and makes us repeat everything we just said. I prefer putting "hao (good, ok)" at the end of my arguments because it's much more final.
Now some pictures so this post isn't just all text... I know you all love pictures. I went to Tiananmen (spell check says I'm spelling this wrong, but in pinyin it's spelled right) on Sunday with some friends because I hadn't gone yet and they all had. It's the largest open-urban square in the world and it was, in fact, quite large. Pretty much as soon as our group got to the middle of the square and got ready to take pictures, timid Chinese men started asking either myself or Sarah (the other white girl) if they could get pictures with us. My celebrity moment was when a man walked up and asked if I'd be in a picture with his parents because, "You look European?"
I bought a pair of leggings yesterday and haggled successfully! I probably could have gotten it cheaper, but what I did was I moved all my big bills out of my wallet and only kept a 10 kuai so when she told me it was 15 kuai I showed her I only had 10, after she said, "Bu keyi, bu keyi (nope!)" so I shrugged and walked away and she called me back! Very exciting, leggings for less than $2! My first attempt at haggling was an absolute disaster and I don't want to talk about it because even though I got it for 15 kuai cheaper I still payed WAY too much because I didn't go in prepared with a price in my head; doing conversions - and math in general - on the spot is not my forte. My first, first time haggling here I got straight-up denied when I tried so I ended up walking away in shame (I still avoid that shop).
Finally, and this is a sign mistake that I think could happen anywhere, but is funny nonetheless, there's this picture:
Hopefully you'll laugh right away.
My mom tells me a lot of people don't get it... it's just that it says "fashion heaven is straight ahead" and there's an arrow pointing left, so you'd have to turn left after reading this sign to walk straight to fashion heaven. I donno, it was funny to us at the time.