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Beijing Part 2: Day 21

I met up with 世阳, my tall "kid," today for the first time since the start of the new semester.

She was gung ho about trying out a particular form of language learning she'd read about, where the idea is to learn like a toddler would by associating sounds with objects, actions and images. It felt a little ridiculous at first, performing various simple actions (stand, sit, step forward, wave...) on command while next to crowded basketball courts, but it was such a nice day that feeling ridiculous was quite alright. While I don't remember all the new words, I definitely recall some.

My own photographs were somewhat suspect in their utility, since I'd had them printed with ornamentation in mind, not utilitarian vocabulary. It is, I think, of very little use at this point for 世阳 to know what robins and squirrels are called. She had some trouble pronouncing "squirrel" too.

Afterward, we sat out there for quite a while enjoying the sun and moderate temperatures.

We talked lightly about various things, but the one that sticks out is fat, which unlike in the West, is (despite some invasion of western fat paranoia) a perfectly acceptable topic of polite conversation in China. 世阳, who is one of those tallish and very thin girls, calmly explained that while many of her friends were trying to be (even) skinnier, that she imagined she'd get fatter as the years went on, and that long as she was healthy that she wasn't going to do anything about it.

I expressed certain doubts that this was a likely outcome, no matter how much she ate. 世阳 is really quite thin and I pointed out that my entire family can also put it away, yet we are not, despite being all much older than her, fat.

Was a very lovely day.