Crazy couple of weeks! I think I’m mostly settled in now, so I can try to get back to posting here.
My professors are an interesting lot. And I mean that in the nicest way. Christian Etzrodt is fairly direct and rather opinionated. He seems to know his stuff, though, so I am cool with that. Darren Ashmore’s self-introduction included the line “I exude apathy and violence; I’m from Sheffield.” Which may have been funnier in the moment than it is to read here. He’s passionate about his subject—Japanese Performing Arts in this case—which is forever a plus in my book. It makes his lectures fun and interesting. (And besides, he referenced Doctor Who.) Hiwatari Yasutaka is kind and patient without being so nice that he lets us get away with not speaking Japanese—exactly what I need for language class. And Professor Ganbagana’s Mongolian class is kind of like chatting with a friend, exchanging learning. But I should expand on that topic a bit.
You see, I’m the only student enrolled in the Mongolian class this semester. I will likely find on Monday that it has been cancelled due to low registration. So we’ve had two classes so far that were essentially private lessons. Although it’s a shame that it will probably be cancelled, it is kind of cool to have had those hours of personalized instruction. And Ganbagana Sensei tells me that although he has studied English on his own with books, he has not had much conversation practice. So we learn from each other. After class on Thursday, we just sat in the classroom for another hour, with him asking me many questions about America. Of course, he wanted to talk politics, which is a verboten topic for me. I did my best to answer his questions without getting into a debate, which mostly worked. I will be sad to see the class go. I was very excited to take it, because it’s not a language you find on offer at American universities. But the professor has said that I am welcome to come by his office whenever to facilitate studying on my own, and I will do my best to take him up on the offer.
Other than that, it’s been mostly normal orientation stuff, barring one crazy little nabe/beer pong party. (To anyone official from either GMU or AIU, no worries. Everyone else was of drinking age, and I certainly am.) I discovered a previously unknown talent for the game, which amused me no end.