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It’s beginning to look a little, kinda, sort-of like Christmas… maybe

December 11th, 2012 arreta14

First off, new character of this post is a Chinese character emoticon called “囧” (jiong). This character, as it looks like a face, is used like smiley faces (for example :)). It is used mostly on the internet and is meant to express awkwardness or embarrassment.

Back to adventures… In the end of November, after our weekly exam, CET threw a Thanksgiving party for us. It was a nice party and it was nice to eat such traditional American food. CET bough all the necessities of Thanksgiving i.e. Turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables that no one likes, etc. So at the start of the meal I was happy. I must admit, it was a little weird eating all these foods with chopsticks though…

My third plate of Thanksgiving Dinner. I tried to get a picture of the giant turkeys that CET bought, but there was always too big of a crowd around them.

I became very unhappy when I realized CET had also bought pies… and there was none left 🙁

The pies are gone... sadness

Since around mid- November, I’ve been noticing a number of buildings have started decorating for Christmas. It’s not nearly as elaborate or as traditional as many places in the US, but it’s still cool to see Christmas decorations over here.

Ribbons and ornaments hanging from the ceiling inside Xizhimen Mall (the closest big mall to CET).

On the academic side, CET had us students participate in a really exciting activity. We traveled to a local Chinese middle school and each of us gave a 5-10 minute presentation on an aspect of American culture (done completely in Chinese). I chose to teach the students about American music. I had them listen to an American Rock song (“Dream On” by Aerosmith) and an American Pop song (“Call me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen) to give them an idea of popular music in America.

At the end of the presentation, 3 CET students and myself gave the middle school students a short a cappella performance. I arranged and translated a 4 part a cappella version of the song “Moves like Jagger” by Maroon 5 (sorry I forgot to get a video of it for you guys). It was so much fun to sing a cappella music again and it made me miss my group at Holy Cross (Sons of Pitches) a lot! Afterwards I talked to some of the students about their experiences with music (favorite styles, whether or not they play instruments) and I taught a small group of students how to beat-box.

My small student group!

All the middle school students waving goodbye to us as we head back to CET.

My presentation at the middle school was fun, but the best academic experience up till now was my Independent Cultural Immersion Project (ICIP) presentation, which I gave this past week…

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Andrew Retallick '14

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