So much STUFF:
Packing the night before I left was, in hindsight, not the best idea. I brought waaaaay too many clothes. I mean, obscenely too many. What was I THINKING? I can't even tell you the bad choices I made regarding footwear.

However, I did make a few wise choices. The smartest things I packed were:
plastic baggies of various sizes

I was feeling crazy for bringing them, but all were infinitely more wise than the 4 pairs of shoes I left back in Beijing in a fellow grad student's closet.
In fact, I should have brought more coffee. The coffee was definitely my best packing decision.

oh, the FOOD.
The thing about being at a field station is that I have to eat what they prepare, and I can't really skip a meal, or people get worried. However, this is not a prob b/c the food here is excellent, and I am going to come back to the US all roly-poly from my three gigantic meals every day. So many different veggies at every meal! (all cooked with meat in them, of course). Americans don't know what they are doing with vegetables.
This does not stop the station director from asking me quite regularly if I wouldn't really, honestly, rather be eating hot dogs. I try to explain that even in America I eat more Chinese food than hot dogs, but he's lived in the US, and knows that American-style Chinese food is pretty much the same thing as hot dogs, when compared to real Chinese food.

maybe you didn't get the memo, so let me fill you in on a little-known secret: Mandarin is HARD. Even when I think I know how to say something, I invariably get the tones wrong. And even when I'm pretty sure I have said things correctly, everyone still busts out laughing everytime I speak, and repeats what I say like an echo.
Me: "Han hao chi."
Everyone around me: chuckle, chuckle 'han hao chi!' chuckle chuckle.
All in good fun, though. Right?

Speaking of trying to learn the language, I might have to put all of that on the back burner a bit and focus on the real task at hand (research) and the impending Task of Doom which is my oral exams, which I have to take when I get back, and for which I should be spending all of my free time studying, except that when you don't even know how to ask the nice man with the keys for the key to the lab, and it is locked, and you need to work on said research, well... sometimes I go in circles regarding the priorities.

I have mentioned in the past how spending long hours in the desert turns my brain into a budget, poorly curated diner jukebox. Today's hit? Red Red Robin.
Yeah, that one. The bob-bob-bobbin'-along one.

1 comment:

Karina said...

I really should've brought some plastic bags and some sharpies. I just have one ridiculously huge permanent marker that was used to make signs for a garage sale or something.

I also brought too much clothing, and Jon brought the stuff that got cut from the first round! I'm definitely sending some of it back with him.