Thursday, March 31, 2011

It started out as a commentary on social stuffs but I think I'm talking about Chinese now...

I find it absolutely amazing how fascinated I can be with people when I really dislike engaging in past-times with a majority of the people I have encountered over the course of my life. I've never really had that large of a strong social circle; as my main group of friends as a homeschooler was spread out across the district and we only saw each other once a week - if that. At school, I see groups of people that see each other everyday and the dynamics are completely and totally different.

School always seems so quick and fleeting to me, as if holding a two minute conversation with one person everyday makes them your friend. It doesn't feel like there's the same amount of time and energy poured into the friendships, even if I know those friendships are very strong and lasting and all that stuff.

My Chinese class is the most fascinating class, really, because we have a strong cast of representatives from all four classes. There's three social groups, really, Megan's group, Hannah's group, and then the others and me. Megan and Sara are the most notable Juniors, and they tend to treat the Freshmen, especially Wyatt, like a little kid and their class baby or little sibling or whatever. The Seniors, Adriana, Annie - they're all seem a lot more demure than the Juniors, but I think that's just due to personality; however, those Seniors tend to be in the group pretty much led by Megan. The Sophomores are the most diverse group, as Ari receives almost the same treatment of the Freshman, Jake and Erin acts like a Juniors. That's the major people in that one group.

The other two social groups in Chinese are the loners: Cole, Zack, Erik, Raphael, Philip and me. And then there's Hannah's group which consists entirely of the girls who aren't in Megan's group. Elizabeth, Carrine, and Sarah. And I've seen Hannah, Elizabeth and Carrine together in the halls. Actually, if you take out Sarah and insert me, that group spans all four years, so it's probably the strangest one in the class.

What is so incredibly fascinating about the people in Chinese is that we are the only ones learning this language. There's twenty-something people in this class. And in the hallways, we'll have greeting and goodbye kind of conversations; always in Chinese of course. We are twenty-odd oddities in the school and we reach out the people who are taking the same language. It's not so true for the other Erin or Megan, who are taking two languages. It's just... strange. I haven't quiet figured out how Chinese works.

It's also a foreign language. Which means we are required to talk. Everyone knows that I have the largest family in the class, with Zack having the next largest. Everyone knows some of the petty squabbles that Wyatt and Grace - brothers - indulge in. It's hysterical how well you get to know some people when you're really not learning anything at all about them. People I'd never really hold a conversation with in a million years and I know how many siblings they have, their relationship status, their birthday. Etc. Etc. Etc. I still find it strange.

In class today, Ms. Jiang gave us 35 of the 100 most commonly used characters. It was the first pop quiz of the year. We then had to translate those 35 characters into both pinyin and English. I loved the exercise, even if I got about nine wrong. To put this in prospective, Kristina got 31.5 points, and the whole class thought that was totally impossible. The class average was probably about a 12... Seriously, I love stuff like that. It's a challenge. It's fun. It's engaging.

There are times when I really like my Chinese class.

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