It’s been a rather bittersweet day here at Qinghua. Today was checkout day, which meant a lot of goodbyes. Wouldn’t really be that big of a deal, but some kids on the program won’t be back at Northwestern this fall, so the parting felt a lot more permanent; people are graduating, transferring (damn it, anna), and some never went to NU in the first place. Incidentally, the Chinese word for goodbye, 再见, literally translates to see you again. Made me wonder what you tell people whom you suspect are kinda gone forever. Hrm.

I actually almost missed saying bye to like thirty people because while they were leaving I was both having to check out and back in to a new dorm. I ended up running onto the main bus right before they left and just waving like an idiot to everybody, meriting big collective ‘bye’ in return. 很满意.

Speaking of the new dorm: we were pretty amused when we opened the door and discovered that our double had three televisions, and somewhat less amused when we learned that they apparently came at the cost of our desk space and internet connection. They told us they couldn’t help us out with the Ethernet cables, but we got the TVs moved — I’ve yet to watch television here — and had just started to settle in when the guy came back and told us that they had cables now, and we could buy one for eighteen kuai. Twenty seconds later, through either some miracle of bargaining or just generosity on the part of the TV-moving dude, he just gave dan one for free (I dont travel without an ethernet cable, as any good nerd should).

This kinda crap happens a lot in China, but it’s been off the charts today. Like, at lunch we tried to order fries, and they said they were entirely out of food from that page of the menu. A chinese guy we were eating with confirmed that. Ten minutes later, they come out with two big plates of fries? My chinese isn’t _that_ bad; this isn’t miscommunication, this is bizarre.

Even checking out of the room was weird as hell. We didn’t get our room checked for damage or anything because we were told to bring our crap to building 19 first, where they presented us with some form that said “this room is free of damage” or something. The other kids checking out were like yeah you’re supposed to go get your room inspected and get the inspector to sign off on it… but when I tried to go leave with the form, the checkout lady was just like “no! you sign here!” under the spot clearly labeled, in english, “receptionist.” So we signed it, and didn’t have to pay for the stuff that we broke in the room, which I guess is cool? Today has been one long exercise in strangeness. The fact that i went to bed at 5:30 two nights ago (yay mcdonald’s run!) and 4:30 last night and got up at 10 and 8 respectively probably doesn’t help much.

I’m kinda drained, to be honest. Oh and there’s a very high chance that i have pink eye (thanks, jackie), because i looked like i had it yesterday… but today the symptoms have completely faded (on jackie too), which is weird. In any event, if i do have pink eye, i almost definitely passed it along to ashley in a bid for worst-goodbye-ever (if you’re reading, i am actually pretty sorry about that. good thing you’re traveling internationally right now; i hear that does wonders for the immune system).

So now what? I honestly don’t exactly know what to do. As of now, I’m here without school, a job, my family, and all but a few friends. Every force I’ve ever had that either directly or socially compels me to take any sort of productive action is halfway across the world.

What i do have is a roommate, a burgeoning grip on this mess of a language, and the desire to eat tasty food and see interesting things.

Oh, and the urge to take a nap. For wont of anything better to do, i guess that means it’s bedtime. To my 同学们 — i’ll really miss you guys. China won’t be the same.

Just to lighten the tone of this post a bit. nomnomnom

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