a new semester
China Travel Blog› entry 14 of 66 › view all entries
Fall of 2005
The next semester was starting and again I was moving house. I was getting bored of the student dorm and I wanted my own place again. Around this time an old school friend was coming back to China from Mexico.
Juan was planning on studying Chinese and was looking for a flatmate as well. We went around to look at a few places. This time I used a real estate agent. We found a great place (furnished) with 2 bedrooms, a lounge, veranda, kitchen, and bathroom not far from the university and at a reasonable rent. I went and got a
2nd hand fridge and we kept it always stocked with beer.
We didn’t have a television so we stared at the glasses and whiskey bottles on the table.
My new class was Gaojiban (upper level class) where we had the same subjects with an additional Wenhua (culture) class. This class was a pain the teacher was a woman who didn’t know how to teach she only wasted our time. Another class (reading comprehension) was taught by a young fresh graduate who was so painfully unsure of herself I felt sorry for her. Fortunately I had another semester with Zhu laoshi as the head professor. Zhu laoshi is the best teacher I have met!
I would go to play Mahjong with some more Chinese friends I had. My friend was a girl named Li I went to the apartment that she shared with 4 other people. In the flat the furniture was old and mismatched and heaped over with all sorts of household items. Plastic cups of old tea, disposable chopsticks, yellowed papers, cuddly animals etc. and lay strewn around the rooms. Her flat mate was sitting on the lounge floor peering at linux codes on a monitor the computer was lying open on the floor. She looked up and grinned at me through her smudged spectacles. “I heard you play wicked mahjong” I said in a half-joking half-flattering tone as I counted the pairs of shoes in the foyeur.
We unfolded the table and threw out the tiles. With three of us we made a triangular wall, when some other relative or roommate would pop in we could have a regular square. I like playing Mahjong with women the atmosphere is not so tense, with my brothers it’s like war. There’s something hypnotic about the rattle the tiles makes when you stir them around the table, the rush you get close to the end of a hand is amazing! I’d always try to goad, for fun, Li when we were playing. I’d tease and argue about Chinese politics or some other ridiculous topic. She’d get so annoyed she’d try to throw me out but her flat mate always got me off the hook.