29 August 2009
Today, we came to Suzhou to settle into our SuDa dorms and meet our new roommate. It was so hot, and I felt like I had so much to unpack that I was initially reminded of move-in day LAST year at Furman! Obviously, I didn’t have QUITE that much, as it would not have fit into my suitcases, let alone this dormitory. (See attached picture for a mid-unpacking view.)
My roommate’s name is Zhao Chen, or Orange, as she likes to be called. (Chen is similar to chenzi, which her friends sometimes call her and may be translated to orange in English. She also likes oranges.) She is a 19-year-old English major from Yangzhou, here in Jiangsu province, about two hours away by train. She is the only child of a doctor and a housewife. We exchanged gifts early this afternoon: she gave me a piece of Chinese paper art and a bookmark with a garden scene of her hometown and a poem painted onto a leaf, and I gave her a Furman keychain and a West Virginia magnet. She really likes chocolate, so I think that we will get along just fine.
We had a few hours of free time this afternoon to unpack. I was SO happy to see clean clothes and other items, and I am beginning to feel settled! This evening, our FIC group went to dinner with our roommates, where I learned how to say “almost,” “bourgoise,” “hungry,” “full,” and “vegetarian” in Chinese and my roommate and I discussed everything from hobbies to food to language. We have the entire rest of the weekend free until a meeting Sunday evening with Zhang Laoshi, our former Chinese professor and current leader of our program.