Ligers, Tigers, and Midterms – Oh my!
Since this is an academic program there’s understandably a fair amount of academics that go on up here in Harbin. With academics comes midterms and with midterms comes crying (before, during, and after). Let’s just say I know a lot of different ways to describe tears falling down my face in Chinese (none of which came up on any of the tests…all that studying for naught).
Due to (or perhaps, in spite of) the academic rigor, I have learned through in depth study that American study techniques and Chinese study techniques are wildly different. Most Chinese students (engineering students in particular) will go to the library, work for hours on end and have most, if not all of the material memorized, ready to ace the test. American students (sample size: me) will buy a lot of snack food, spend too much time trying to decide if Ritz crackers filled with yogurt are the best things or the worst things (they’re the best), and then take a four hour nap in the middle of the day.
This is not to say, of course, that I failed. Nay! I… think I did ok. Well enough, given the circumstances: second language and a recent, overwhelming desire to do literally anything else other than memorize Chinese vocabulary pairs. I had four tests: literature (words and made up analysis of words – these are my most essential personality traits), composition (not a lot of opportunity to make stuff up – this was my hardest test), computer application essay/speech (speaking about computers? I got this.), and then pronunciation. Pronunciation is a whole ‘nother ball game. As soon as I sit in that chair to read the passages I apparently lose all motor control of my mouth and all I can spew out are syllables that sound more like someone speaking underwater than “Chinese.”
Actually, I just have horrible pronunciation all the time. Examples:
- Asking the neighbor girls if they have sperm as opposed to a mirror (Jing1zi vs. Jing4zi)
- Say I just kissed a guy as opposed to having just asked him (Wen1 vs. Wen4)
But enough about school and Chinese. You’re probably here for the titular pictures of the ligers and/or tigers. Unfortunately, there aren’t any good pictures of the ligers (the bus driver wouldn’t let us get out, go figure).