1. Epiphany: I know what I want to do this summer if I don't get the State Department internship in Taipei (or don't pass the security clearance). I've already prepared the money I need to live for a summer in Taipei - since the most State Dept will do is provide housing, if that - but if I don't get it, I'm just going to take a plane back to the mainland and have absolutely no responsibility for a full three months. Nowadays I'm always complaining, if not to everyone in earshot then at least inside my own head, that the main barrier to my Chinese now is the fact that I have to attend class; what I really need is time. Time to review, time to watch TV, time to talk to Chinese people, time to read the articles I'm interested in and thereby learn the vocabulary I'll need to understand and discuss what I care about. So why don't I make that time for myself? Going to ICLP is one way to do that; in fact, a principal reason why I'm attending ICLP starting in January is that it's easy, and given that Light doesn't provide for a semester of self-study it's still the closest I can get. An even better way would be to actually throw out the idea that I need to be doing something structured every week of the year. I mean, I already have plenty of ideas on how I would want to self-study Chinese; the dorm I'm living is both wonderful and reasonably inexpensive if shared with a roommate; and the biggest library in China is almost literally right next door. And if I find a better place, so be it; it's not set in stone that I have to return to MinDa, or even Beijing, to do this.
2. Resolve: If we lose the final round of this debate, it won't be my fault. It will, rather, be the fault of the 8,000 people who are trying to interfere with our preparation and training. I felt like today we not only wasted three hours, but actually took a few steps back in the process of getting ready for Sunday's debate: Now people are trying to switch around our opening performance and change the answers to the questions we're likely to encounter from the opposing team, and everything's just becoming more and more of a mess. Not to mention that the Chinese speakers are having a lot of trouble remembering that what we white boys can prepare and use effectively is limited to the content that we can memorize and/or become familiar with, and that doing so takes time.
I am going to blog like crazy. Probably starting Wednesday, when a lot of stuff is due. Debate will be done (win or lose, I'll be damn happy it's over), and I'll feel like I have so much time in my life... Anyway, there are a lot of thoughts and stories I've been meaning to share, or at least get down in writing, for quite a while now. Not the least of which is the elusive half-written travel blog...
For now, adieu.