I’m taking a class on the Tiananmen Massacre with Rowena He, a participant in herself. Her personality is the most bright, bubbly, cheerful teacher I’ve ever encountered in academia. She is also extremely personal with her stories, and has an amazing force and passion that’s very enrapturing.
The first assignment we had was to watch Tank Man, a PBS documentary on the Tiananmen Massacre. The first half, I watched with a sort of composed interest — until the part where a mother pleaded with a soldier, sobbing hysterically, regarding her son. I was working in the dhall, and I must have had the most intense look on my face because I distinctly remember half-hearing my roommate shushing her boyfriend to leave her alone, can’t you see she’s working? When really, I was watching this documentary. Not work at all. Though the second part was on modern China and its economic trends, and was as boring as listening to a truck droll.
Friday. I signed up for a Career Fair Brunch, then Career Fair with key employers was right afterwards. Instead, I spent the entire time working in the library for my Junior Tutorial assignment.
The tasks were to:
- Find and take brief notes on the introduction to a science textbook from 1960 or earlier.
- Find and take brief notes on a review of Darwin’s 1859 Origin of Species that appeared in a 19th-century periodical
- Find and take brief notes on a report of your choice that appeared in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (dating back to 1665); you should choose something published before 1800.
These are, of course, things that I have nooo clue how to find. Even with the internet. At first, I was annoyed that something like this could not be solved with technology…but, there was something about doing things the manual way that had its charm.
This is going to sound so nerdy, but the title theme (20 Truths) is a writing challenge from fanfiction communities. I wanted to give it to my sister when she was in her many stages of summer boredom, but she was already annoyed by a mommy-writing assignment regarding her Alaskan cruise. That’s fine, I decided. I should write one myself.
20. I could be happy living in Europe.
19. How to take a contest-worthy picture: 1. Choose location (aka, Greece). 2. Travel there during spring. 3. Go to ancient ruins. 3. Take close-up of flowers in front of ancient ruins. 4. Check ancient ruins is blurry in background. 5. Win(?)
Please excuse the randos in the blurry back.
18. SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS LIES. Greek men are not cute. Or toned. Or summer-fling worthy at all.
My overall impression of Athens: Acropolis and ancient ruins, A+. The city itself, not so much. At least, I wasn’t enamored with it enough as I was with other European cities that I would want to return anytime soon. Still, the sights were unarguably worth seeing, and I learned so much more from this excursion not just about history, but about the country’s life itself.
And the color of life...is purple.
We have Greek lessons three times a week. The first lesson was, of course, learning the alphabet. Alpha, veeeeta, gamma, etc…made me feel like I was in elementary school again. (Luckily, I’ve always wanted to relive my six-year old life.) Our class is taught in Greek, with minimal English explanations from Mata, our teacher. The pantomime and repetitions are fun, but half the time I don’t know what I’m saying or agreeing to.
Truth noted by fellow student: almost every vowel is pronounced “eeee”. ι, of course, is pronounced “eee.” η is pronounced “eee.” υ is pronounced “eee.” ει, οι, υι are also pronounced “eee.”. If you want to guess a pronunciation, just say “eee.”
It’s strange, but I’ve already spent three nights in Greece! The days have truly passed by really quickly; our schedules are always packed full with activities and with limited internet access, unfortunately there isn’t as much time to do detailed blogging as I wish.