Surprise surprise

This is more just a chance for me to add some more pictures.  About the only thing interesting that’s happened in the past few days was taking a practice HSK test.  HSK stands for Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi or Chinese Language Level Test.  It’s designed by the Chinese government and is a pretty widely accepted standard of “your Chinese is this good”.  I had studied a little bit for it when I was in Harbin back in 2014, but never ended up taking it.  On Wednesday though instead of our normal history class we all took a simulated version of the test, suited to our individual levels as judged by the teachers.  I was one of three that took the 6th and highest level of the test, which by some stroke of luck I seem to have passed (or would have if it had been a real test).  So planning on taking the real thing this year since there’s a testing center nearby and it’s a nice thing to throw on my resume.  So yeah, that felt pretty good. 😀  Other news, I found a place that sells what claims to be imported German beer so going to have to try that in March when I’m drinking again.

Some notes about the pictures, I really like Chinese roof tiles (called 瓦当 wadang, long a on the dang) possibly for the nice designs and the roundness, reminds me of medallions or something.  Also as to the brass work, turns out that all the brass work back then was made using molds (normal, I suppose) that were destroyed in the making process, so each piece is completely unique, and incredibly intricate.  One of the pictures below is a map of Tang-era Xi’an, and you can see the two brown squares labled 东(dong, east) and 西 (Xi, west), which were the two markets in town back in the day.  People claim that that’s where the modern word for shopping comings from today, as we say 买东西, to buy things.  Presumably back in the Tang dynasty, you’d say you were going to the east and west markets to shop, and centuries later you get 东西 which now just means thing.  Cool, right?

Lastly, Shaanxi Normal University is home to a huge number of feral cats, we can hear them fighting outside our window at night (and sometimes during the day).  You see them around campus on your way to class, lounging about, going through trash cans, or just waiting for some granny to bring them food, which they’re wont to do.  I have a couple pics of them and plan to be taking more.  Other than that, enjoy the pictures!

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