1 0 Archive | May, 2004
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my first week of Chinese language lessons is over – and it is amazing how much we have learned after only 5 days of classes. Mind you, these were 5 full days of intense Chinese lessons starting at 9:00 AM and ending at 4:30 PM or so each day (and this does not include the several hours of homework we must complete each evening). Also, considering the class consists of only six students, each of us gets a good deal of one-to-one interaction with our professors throughout each day. We have two professors, one who teaches mornings and one afternoons, and in my opinion they are excellent teachers – both native Chinese speakers, very knowledgeable of the language, and perhaps most importantly, extremely patient with novices of the Chinese language. I have been extremely busy but also extremely happy – I have been enjoying learning and practicing Chinese and hope that great things will come of the time I put into it.

at the moment we are in Tennessee visiting Yvonne’s brother Robert. Okay so today we went to Dollywood, because Robert, who is a meteorologist for a local station, managed to score some free tickets. I was quite dreading going to Dollywood as images of dancing Dolly Parton lookalikes made me fear. But fortunately Dollywood is not, as I had thought beforehand, a large shrine to Dolly Parton – in fact it is an amusement park that she bought some years ago and has simply added to over the years. I only saw three or four images of Dolly Parton throughout the day and they weren’t too disconcerting. On the contrary, we rode two very good roller coasters (one wooden and new, another one steel that had three loops) as well as various other rides, and generally had a good time. Callum really enjoyed the carousel, though at first he didn’t know quite what to make of it. Also, being Canadian, being surrounded at all times by people native to the mountains of Tennessee was an experience to say the least. I think I even experienced mild culture shock. I felt more out of place at Dollywood than I did in most of Europe.

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15. May, 2004
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the value of value

it is interesting that some things have tremendous value well beyond their buying price, and other things have negative value that exceeds even the money you wasted to buy them.

for example, I bought some decent Thule roof-mount ski racks for my (then) Honda station wagon while living in Canada, to use on ski trips. However I don’t think I ever used these racks before moving down to the States soon after – to South Carolina, where I have never skiied. So I wasted $80 (or thereabouts) on these racks. However, the fact that I have moved 4 or 5 times since coming to the States and have lugged these heavy ski racks around (I no longer have the Honda they were attached to) each move means that I have wasted well beyond the $80 or so that I used to buy the racks in time and effort.

on the other hand, other items have great positive value. For example, my computer. Well let’s take another example so that I don’t sound like a big dork. When Callum was born we used to carry him around on a Baby Bjorn baby carrier. We borrowed this carrier from Yvonne’s sister, so we didn’t have to pay anything for it at all. But considering we used it practically every day for three or four months to tote Callum around while at home or out and about – and considering how much he liked to be carried this way and how it kept him from fussing – we got a great deal of use out of it, well beyond the nothing that we paid for it! Perhaps this is a bad example, to use something that we didn’t have to pay for – of course we got more value out of it than we put in. But surely you can think of many other examples of this phenomenon that occur within your own lifestyle.

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06. May, 2004
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watch Kitten Cam! They’re getting a checkup at the Vet today so you will have to wait ’til later to catch them. Until then you can stare at a couple of empty bowls if you so wish.

today we had a going away lunch at work – for me! We went to Sakyo in Mt. Pleasant and had some sushi and some excellent Japanese food. Tomorrow is my last day here at the IT Lab. On Friday I’ll be in Columbia at the University of South Carolina for orientation, and classes will start the following Monday.

Callum is doing really well – here he is at the beach (Isle of Palms). He has become quite the little man – talking and singing and walking all over the place (he refuses to crawl anymore). He is quite a handful to say the least! A few seconds after this picture was taken Callum crouched down, picked up a big handful of wet sand, and put it in his mouth. Tasty.

the other day I lay down on the grass beside our house, right next to the Carolina Jasmine I planted a couple of years ago. I lay there for a while, feeling the breeze waft over me, smelling the perfume from the flowers (which are extremely fragrant this time of year) and relaxing. It was nice – I highly recommend it. Just find yourself a nice Carolina Jasmine plant and lay down on the grass downwind of it. You won’t be disappointed. Unless somebody walks by and steps on you.

today I’m going to steam clean the carpets. Yesterday I painted a few doors. We have rented out our house to an elderly lady who seems very nice. She will be moving in at the end of the month, so I’m fixing up the house a bit in preparation for her arrival. I’m definitely going to miss our decently-sized house while living in a tiny apartment at school but I am glad that it will be in good hands.

if you see any candy-apple green hoopties with phat dubs on them be sure to take a few pictures and send them our way. IT Lab Minds to know.

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05. May, 2004