My life in a blog

IMBA Chinese Track student at The University of South Carolina, Moore Business School, I'm currently living in Columbia, SC and traveling all over the place

Check out my other blog: My life in pictures or better check out my Flickr account

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Chinese class speeches

Just 3 weeks ago we've started beginner Chinese class. It is tough and now we got to this level where we can actually hold a kindergarten type speech, saying
"my name is.... i have 2 people in my family... my mom is doing this... my dad is doing this... "

It doesn't sound very difficult but for people like me, who started from very scratch, it was very tough.

This is me trying to read my complex paper:

Me again explaining what I tried to sell. Good luck understanding...

Sarah's turn to talk about her and her family

Adam's turn for the first Mandarin speech

Malte is from Germany so he is presenting his family

Finally, Brock is an example for all of us with his Chinese speech

Monday, January 22, 2007

Charleston part 2

One of the most beautiful days of this month, me, Paco, Orlando and his family (Cecilia and Gabriel), Lourdes, Sarah, Zack and our friend Pekky were lucky enough to decide to take cars on small trip to beautiful Charleston, South Carolina.
This time, as it was my second, I experience a different feel of Charleston, the city, the people and its culture.

The pictures will be soon uploaded on the My Life in Pictures blog. They are beautiful!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Chinese Language - first class

The Romanian post took me a while to start and to write. It is still not done, but I want to take some time and acknowledge some of the experience in the first Chinese Language training class that happened today.
After 1 week and 2 days of hopes that the class will actually start, today the magic moment happened. Dr. Ye came to class and started the class like nothing was out of the ordinary.
Ok... so we find out a little bit about the class. Not big news, but once again we are reassured the class will not be easy, there will be a lot of work and a lot of things to do on our own.

The rest of the class was spent rolling our tongues in many many ways in order to be able to pronounce the letters or the group of letters that we were assigned to. I really enjoyed it because it was like back in primary school or even kindergarten where the teacher would say something and then everybody else has to repeat the same sound. We spent time drawing tongues and mouths on the table and also laughing at the weird positions our lips were having.

There is already a Quiz coming up on Friday and there is a preparatory class today for it.
Overall, I can say that even if the class schedule is more relaxed than last semester was, there are still a lot of things to read, to work on in groups or more individual study this time.

Zai jien (or at least that's what I think you spell bye in Mandarin)

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Holidays in Romania were great!! It is wonderful for me to be able to go at home for Christmas and New Years celebrations. I was able to spend time with my family, my friends and travel in the same time. WONDERFUL!!
This time was also very special because I had a special guest with me. My ex-roommate and lifetime friend, Anand.
I tried to show him a completely different way of life, my way, the Romanian way. So, in order to accomplish this I tried to expose him to different events:

Day 1 - Welcome to my country
As he arrived we spent the first night in Bucharest with a couple of my friends over to a famous local Romanian restaurant. Overcoming the challenge of finding good vegetarian food in an all meat-Romanian cuisine, we started to enjoy the crowd.

Day 2 - It's all about the food (and drinks)

Got up late, slept well and started the journey to Slatina, my home town down in the South of Romania. There is where my family lives.
As traditional for this time of the year, my parents prepared the sacrifice of a pig that we ate for lunch together with the extended family (including cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents and other close family friends). The pictures from Day 2 are available on my picture blog.
It was all about the food, unlike the corporate dinners in the US. It was all kinds of traditional foods mainly made of pork, not very healthy but as we say... it's only one time a year we get really crazy. Anyways... there was enough food to feed a regiment of people. And no good food in Romania comes alone... there are always drinks that accompany it: first, when we were outside hot "tuica" (a strong plum brandy) and then later continued with hot red wine and then cold red wine. (Good assortment I guess)
By the time you end the lunch (if you can call a 3 and a half hour long event), you need to have some sort of medicine for digestion, so you don't get sick. You can't imagine how sleepy you get after such a meal... (just like the Spanish siesta)

Day 3 - Christmas

After going out of different occasions in my small home town with different sets of friends or just people I know... Christmas came. In my family, we celebrate Christmas at night on the 24:

- first is again... the dinner, which this time is again mainly based on pork and cooked vegetables as well. The table has to look beautiful and usually we start with some brandy (preferably Metaxa and finish up with desert).

After dinner it's time for presents. Apparently Santa left stuff under the Christmas tree... how did he managed to do that? WOW!!!

Everybody is happy... even my pet Bony got 2 gifts and loves them.

Day 4- Long buddies

Already giving up on the struggle to eat less, we proceed with my grandparents to visit some old friends of theirs. (the kind of lifetime friends I might say, I don't even know if I will be able to say: "I've known this guy (Anand for example) for 50 years or more!"

As we drove to this other city, my grandfather told Anand stories about old Romania, our Kingdom, World War Wars, communism, relationships with India, dictatorship, economy and democracy. Keep the IMBA spirit up as we discussed the issues on a global perspective. As in most cases, I would act as a spontaneous translator...

Day 5 - Church

As any good Orthodox, at least 2 or 3 times a year I go to church. I'm thinking it's not very much, but I don't think I need to go more.
This was a special occasion, for Christmas. This complex dates back to 1600 and went trough tough times in the history of our region but managed to stay in good shape. It is beautiful and the paintings inside are very profound and impressive by their age.
We had a clash of religions: orthodox vs. Hindus. Ultimately there must be some common God above both of them.
After visiting the new part and the old site which is now a museum, we were invited by the nuns, which were friends of my mother, to spend some time with them. We ate Romanian traditional Christmas deserts and as a beautiful surprise, they enchanted us with traditional Christmas carols. It was beautiful and spiritually recharging.
Romania part 1 will end here. In the next post, there will be information of Romanian parties, drinks, people, foreigners in Romania and more... so come back again soon :)