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17 June 2005
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KLB - Beijing (4)

Sorry for the lack of updates and pictures, but come on, I'm on vacation. Actually I've been stuck in the house for the most part the past couple of days with the runs. "Welcome, to China," Jake said, with an evil grin. Apparently he lived for six months here before his stomach adjusted to Chinese food. Same with his prior roommate. I know mine sure hasn't! I've practically read a whole book on the crapper the past two days. Got a pizza tonight and will stick to western style for a few days...phew! Well, if you could see some of the stuff I've eaten, you'd understand why. It's all been pretty good, but there's been a few...oddities...

Other than that I'm doing really well. It feels good to take it easy after working for the past 10 months. You get a lot of miscellaneous holidays in Korea but never more than a week at a time, unless you're a university professor. Still, I can't complain. It's just nice that I am able to take some time off after a 10 month run with the same kids every day. On the other hand, the Chinese work 7 days a week from what I can see. Nothing closes on Sunday, including the banks and post offices. And that construction down below never stops, except between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. The sun comes up here at 4:30 in the morning. Jake told me that all of China has the same time, so that if you travel in the middle of nowhere, the sun may go down at 3:00 p.m.

I admire that Jake can speak Chinese so well. He struggled a lot with Korean, as do most of us. It seems, as far as speaking, Korean is the hardest of the three main Asian languages. Chinese is hard too, of course, but they use the same subject-verb-object structure as we do in English. Just forget ever being able to read it well. I've been studying speaking Chinese, too, though I still find Japanese to be easier to pronounce. Korean makes me want to back my head on a wall. I just can't hear it well and I never had the chance to study intensively at one of the universities and I always had a girlfriend who could speak fluent English, not to mention I don't have any male Korean friends. Excuses, yeah, I know. Tell it to Jesus, Shawn. Seriously, you really can get by in Korea only learning how to read Korean and being able to speak a little. After all, there are a lot of English words in Korean. A ton, actually. That's not that case in China - everything has a Chinese word. If you don't speak Chinese, you really can't get very far here. That may change the closer it gets to the 2008 Olympics, though...

Well, that's it for tonight. I know I promised some pictures but the last thing I feel like doing is using the computer all the time and there has already been so much to tell and so many photos that I don't know where to begin...stay tuned though. I may have a lot of free time on my hands if my stomach doesn't get any better.


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