We arrived in Xiamen a few days ago and since then we’ve eaten a lot of food and have been shown around the campus. The fancy meals we ate at first all served local delicacies which were all really strange. Lindley was able to avoid eating some of the stranger items because she’s a vegetarian. The strangest thing I’ve eaten so far would have to be the polychaete worms in jello. Not so good and the jello part made it even worse because the jello had absorbed the repulsive wormy flavor. Aside from the delicacies the food is really good and its easy to find something to eat at the canteens around campus and the local restaurants. Not being able to speak Chinese definitely makes it harder but we can always go to one where you pick out your own food or ask one of the people we work with to join us and help us make selections. The noodles I had for lunch were quite good and I ate the entire plate.
I’ve been studying Chinese for about a year now but I still find the language quite difficult at times. This past semester I didn’t do much character work and my reading has suffered because of this. Making it nigh impossible to order off of a Chinese menu unless you feel like employing the point and guess technique. The people at the lab are very friendly and most of them speak decent English. I’m planning to work a lot on my Chinese when I have the opportunity and hopefully I will at least be able to improve my listening comprehension by the end of this month and a half. I start my research project later today and up to now the only work I’ve done is to help clean the lab. My project will focus on culturing algae (diatoms) and then altering their DNA using enzymes to insert pieces of new DNA into plasmids and then using bombardment to force these plasmids into the larger cells. I’m not sure of the exact methods but this is how it was explained to me.