Friday, Jan 7

Well, so I’ve noticed that I frequently start paragraphs with “well” and “so” and from here on out I’ll try to be more conscious of using fillerzz.

Today is Friday. It’s early morning. I was going to go to a hotpot dinner last night for the exchange students, but I accidentally took a nap instead. I went to sleep at 1700 and woke up 12 hours later. I might have been a little tired.

Tonight is a welcoming dinner for the exchange students. I will not be taking a nap this time. Before that I will probably go some place and buy a phone. Yes. Ok. Also, I discovered a nice path that goes down to the bottom of the hill. I’ll take pictures in the next few days, along with pictures from around campus, so expect those. They won’t really do the place justice, but it’ll give you an idea of how green it can be here. Speaking of hills, it’s very hilly here. I can’t wait to start running on them! I’m sure I’ll die. I was starting to run out of breath just walking around during the first day; I felt like such a scrub. But everything is adjusting. Luckily my college is at the top of the mountain, so there is no escaping the inevitable. As a side note, the view from just across the street is absolutely stunning, and when it rains for a straight month, I’m sure I’ll be glad I’m on the mountain, not in the valley (even though Chung Chi college is prettier than United college right now).

And now for some differences I’ve noticed:

1.) Events and places require reservations more often. This may just be a CUHK thing, but certain places at U of I you can just show up to and if it’s open you can use it, e.g., the group study rooms at the UGL. Places at U of I can be booked, but a lot of times don’t need to be. Maybe I’m just wrong on this one.
2.) The campus is on the side of a mountain.
3.) They drive on the left side of the road. Not shocking, seeing as how they were subject to the British crown for so many years. However, I just can’t seem to get it straight in my mind which direction to look when I cross the road. I see the road, realize that it’s opposite of what it should be, but then my mind blanks…which direction would they have been driving from in America? I seem to have completely forgotten. Anyway, I just check both ways and that’s that. Hopefully I can adjust.
4.) The tap is potable, but people still drink boiled water (out of habit, I guess?) or bottled water.
5.) People on the campus seem to be way more eco-conscious. Spitting and littering result in hefty fines (~200 USD?). The buses have phone numbers on them that you can call if the bus is spitting too much black smoke. There is no cig-smoking on campus (indoor OR outdoor). I’m not sure if that is an environmental concern or a health concern, but it does impact the environment. Also, there are signs up that tell you to save water.
6.) HK is pretty diligent about keeping epidemic viruses and bacteria under control. They make you wear a mask if you get sick at all, they over-sanitize bathrooms, etc.
7.) No heat in the buildings! Not that it’s really necessary, seeing as how it rarely gets below 10C (50F). However, I have cold hands, so during the nights thus far it’s been chilly. Granted, it’s nowhere near Illinois winter temps, but it feels chilly all the same.
8.) There are subtle differences in the English used here. Not that it’s wrong, but it would be different in America. For example, there was a bulletin for an event, and at the bottom it read, “No more hesitation!” whereas in the US, it would be more imperative and probably read, “Don’t wait!”

Hmm that’s all for now, I suppose. Time for breakfast and the day. I’ll leave you with a (as close as I remember it) quote from one of the vice-presidents, Professor Jack C.Y. Cheng:
“And I think you will find your Chinese classmates do not raise their hands as much as you would like them to, but at the end of the semester, you will find they have many more A’s than you.”

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