So I've been given another 2 days off by my employer and Kevin has begun to teach me how to play soccer. Just to put this break into perspective: I technically started my internship on January 8 (but not really because that was my week off after finals). I was called into the office on January 11 and given a brief introduction to the office and my first assignment: on-call office assistant to the group of Korean high school boys who are here studying Chinese over their winter break. In that capacity on January 13 I showed them a movie. (side note: Chinese is beginning to take over my English grammar. When I told someone that I showed the Korean students a movie, I actually said "I gave them watch a movie") I then had the week off until January 20 (while it was the week leading up to the New Year, the 23rd, the office works around that time to register incoming students so they take that week off), a Friday. I went in at 10 and was introduced to the office, shown to my computer (I have my own computer!) and set to responding to the 50-odd emails that had come into the general email address over the week that the office was on break. I did this until about 4:30 (with a 2 hour break for lunch) when I had answered all of the emails and then was sent home and told to come back next Wednesday (Monday and Tuesday off for the New Year) if I was in town (and give the Korean students watch their movie). I came in on Wednesday, answered emails for about 2 hours, and was then sent home and told to come back Monday (and the movie on Friday), when I'm assuming the regular work schedule begins. So, in total, over the last three weeks that I have been in internship, I have worked 2 semi-full days, and 3 movie nights (which consist of me setting up the movie and coming back when it's done to turn everything off). Gotta say, awesome start to the internship.
Once everything actually starts up (classes don't start until February 13, and registration doesn't start until the 9th) I'll be doing a lot more. There's registration and classes and homework and translations and other stuff, so I'm excited to get into that. It has been a nice break though.
Anyways, back to the sounds in the night. So Monday was the New Year, and with the Chinese New Year comes butt loads of fireworks. But that was expected, and while they've been going off periodically all week, it's been spurts and nothing like New Year's eve. Until last night. Last night for some unknown reason it sounded like a war zone mixed with a thunderstorm. It actually sounded like it was raining outside! We had no idea what was going on, but for almost an hour from around midnight. Then beginning at 6:20 am lines of firecrackers were set off right outside of our window.
We didn't know if it was a special day in the New Year's festivities (officially there are 15 days of the New Year, ending with the Lantern Festival) or perhaps people were just heading back to work soon and wanted to let off their extra fireworks.
So today while having my second soccer lesson (my body hurts) when I was taking a break playing with a little kid (my ovaries have begun to yell at me whenever I see a cute Chinese baby, and my brain has to shut them up) I asked her dad about the fireworks. Turns out there's no reason, just people wanting to celebrate. A bit anti-climactic, but I'm glad it means that I didn't miss something important! So that's my rambling story. Happy more New Years! Love,
Update! I asked one of the security guards that I made friends with about the fireworks last night, and there is a particular reason! Turns out different gods are celebrated on different days of the New Year. On the first day the Chinese welcome the deities on heaven and earth. The second day is the God of Wealth's birthday. On the fifth day people set of fireworks to try to get Guan Yu's attention for luck and good fortune (he was an emperor who is now worshiped). On the sixth day everyone traditionally goes back to work, and set off fireworks in honor of the occasion. The seventh day is known as 人日 or the common man's birthday, and is when everyone grows a day older. And so on. Glad I kept asking!