Chapter 5- Choosing Electives is a very Technical Activity
I entered the school that year. Peking University allowed you four weeks to pick your courses. Besides professional courses, everyone could also freely pick elective courses. You could pick any class as long as you got the required credit hours. I grabbed the thick selection book, and began to ponder which classes I would not fail at. I opened the new students manual casually and found the failing penalties after a time. Peking Uni was still considered extremely selective when entering, but extremely lenient when exiting it. To take care of the weak students that were unable to adapt, if new students failed, as long as they made up the class their second year it would not be included on the transcript. The new students manual also cautioned us not to overselect the first year, as to prevent failing from not enough energy. Of course, I would solemnly obey this instruction, as my brain had enough to worry about with the professional courses. As long as I could get all my credits in four years, everything would end.
I turned to ask the others: “Have you learned German before?”
They were really very honest: “No, but after I applied for this department, I applied for a summer class for a while.”
I could not believe it and sighed: “You guys just finished the Gao Kao and you still participated in a summer class? Why is it that after I took the Gao Kao, I felt like this servant* was liberated, and became as wild as a crazy horse? You guys are too shameful!”
- She is referring to herself in third person (more specifically, she is referring to herself as ‘this servant’)
Julie laughed: “Wasn’t everyone afraid of the huge competition? We all said we can’t lose at the starting line. I heard that there were also people who grew up speaking German around also. Our days won’t be easy!”
I sighed, “This kind of crime is simply outrageous! My God~~ why don’t we just hit a wall and forget about it?!”
Wen Tao comforted me: “Don’t think more about it. Learning German for these four years, you don’t need to learn math, and you probably don’t need to read English. The objective is just to let us concentrate on reading the German language. And the language relies on diligence to learn it. Everyday we have to wake up early to read it for an hour. Then it will definitely be fluent.”
I looked down: “Everyday in the early morning…then won’t you have returned to high school? I can’t…”
But as a single person, I could not reverse this trend.
Our floor was all from the foreign language department. Every morning, a group of girls would have a cup full of water in the bathroom to practice their sounds and pronunciations. The first time I heard it, I thought I was in the suburbs, and what I heard was the sound of frogs. So I could only practice with water every day, but I didn’t know why, every time while I practiced, I would swallow the water. This made me full of nausea. Even if I moved or didn’t, I would be stimulated: there would often be a lot of girls’ screams beside me: “I pronounced it, I pronounced it, listen ¬——”
Oh, they really had too much against people. My intelligence couldn’t compare with the others, unless it was that my organs were a little lacking than others’s organs? Why could everyone sound it, while I hadn’t made any improvement at all this past month. I forcibly opened my mouth as I looked into the bathroom mirror, and began to analyze my oral structure. Right when my mouth was about to get sore, someone patted my back, “Hey Lin Lin!”
I closed my mouth with difficulty. From the mirror, I saw Ru Ting standing by my side. I turned and greeted her: “Hi, so coincidental.”
Ru Ting laughed, “We live in the same building. I can never find you at all. What were you doing just now? Do you have a cavity?”
You’re the one who’s grown a cavity! I took a step back and said, how can the one who has a cavity be her! I laughed: “No, no, it’s just that there’s a little inflammation on the tonsils.”
Ru Ting anxiously asked: “Did you eat medicine?”
I waved my hands: “There’s no need to eat medicine. Drinking water is fine. The Beijing weather is a little more dry, one should drink more water.”
“That’s right. You and Yu Ke are all Southerners. Coming to the North, you must not be used to the climate.” She kept washing the grapes as she told me, “You should eat more fruits. I just bought these from the downstairs market. After I finish washing them I will send them to Yu Ke. He doesn’t know that he should buy some fruits either. Every time he will wait for me to buy them before he eats them.”
A lover was really scary. Even after three sentences she would not leave her man. I said: “Yu Ke also bought some fruit. Last time I saw him buy some grapes.”
“Really? In the past he didn’t like eating fruits. Washing was too much trouble, so he just didn’t buy them to eat.” Ru Ting pouted.
The cold-faced killer required too much high maintenance. I was never too much trouble. It wasn’t a big deal to not wash them and eat it directly. I laugh, embarrassed: “That is because he has you to wash them, so he purposely doesn’t wash them to wait for you to send them over after you wash them.
Wear it 1000s upon 10000s of times, but don’t wear boot-licking*. I was very familiar with this saying. Ru Ting laughed very sweetly, the dimples by her mouth becoming deeper. I thought of Xiao Xi’s dimples. They were very deep and sweet.
- *No matter how many lies you tell it is easy to expose a secret, but just be flattering. Even if you add many extravagant embellishments, when people hear it their hearts are soothed, and they no longer take it seriously, so as long as you have thick skin (stubborn), you can say whatever you want. (TL: I really did my best to translate that saying literally in the story, but still ended up with something akin to crap.)
Ru Ting asked me: “How did you meet Yu Ke?”
See, see, she had begun to calculate our history. I laughed, and said: “Really, I don’t really know him. Our town was small, and only the two of us got into Peking University. My parents couldn’t accompany over, so they asked him to come over with me. We’ve known each other for a few days.”
“It doesn’t seem like it, haha. I feel like he has known for ages. When I went over to his house for summer break, he said he would come with his parents, and didn’t allow me to accompany him. I didn’t think that in the end, he didn’t allow his parents to to stay with him, saying that this would embarrass him, a big man, too much.”
What show was this now? Was she trying to suggest to me that their relationship was already to the stage of meeting each others’ parents, or to tell me that I took advantage of Fang Yu Ke, staying with him in the train for the whole night. Puhlease, that whole night his eyes were glued to National Geographic, and ignored me. I didn’t even speak as much that night as I am now to you. I was a little unhappy, but I pretended I didn’t have a temper and said: “Haha.”
Suddenly I thought of the classic phrase: Most of the time, when I say haha, I don’t really laugh, and my heart thinks go f**k your mom**.
- The phrase comes from 彪悍的人生不需要打伞–牛人语录 aka “Sturdy Life Does Not Need an Umbrella” by– Cattle Quotations.
I still wasn’t sure what electives to pick. Really, I had very simple requirements for my electives: attendance counted for more than 30% of the final grade, the essay counted for 40% of the total grade, but the test must account for less than 30% of the final grade or there is no test. From my Gao Kao grades and my previous exams, my test scores jump around too much. I couldn’t guarantee that God wouldn’t be too busy to attend to me half a year later. If I didn’t test in, I would still have my attendance and my essay to help out. Even though I didn’t have my confidence in my papers, but at least, I could do this thing slowly, repeatedly. Unlike tests where it was an instantaneous outbreak. The only thing I was sure of was attendance. In order to not fail, I would definitely go all out, even in rain or shine.
I hugged my classes manual, and went with Julie to the various teaching buildings, listening to every elective class. As soon as the teacher announced the course assessment, I would begin my job as a recorder. In fact this time, the teacher’s classes were more like the US presidential campaign. The teacher had already packed his first class, and could not wait to say the previous two sentences, followed by applause. Of course the famous brand teachers were eligible to laugh and talk. They didn’t have to worry any students would choose their classes, but they had to worry that too many students would choose their class: a 300 seat classroom would be crowded the first two weeks of school. The hallways and even outside the classroom would be packed, and all of it was to see the famous teacher’s style. This kind of teacher would “casually” say when the bell rang: “Our class never takes attendance, and disregards all test scores. If you want to listen then listen, if you aren’t then go learn by yourself. You guys are young ah, you have more things to do: love, learning, getting together, and the like, not like us, so busy. But I believe that after you have listened to two classes, you will come to this class consciously because my course is not just about learning. I assess very simply. There’s one final exam and it is over a discussion topic.” After he finished speaking, many students rushed up to him and cordially shook hands with the teacher. They asked the teacher to add their name to his class in order to prepare themselves for an utter defeat with the competition from the other classes. Of course, as for me: Hmph, what a joke, what does it mean to not only discuss knowledge? I have not even begun to understand knowledge, how can I learn something beyond knowledge? The risk of failing was too great. X! (TL: She is crossing out the course from her list with an X)
I held the thick elective textbook thinking about the remaining classes after all the classes I had eliminated. I asked the person who had come with me, Julie: “Julie, what do you plan to choose? If I keep eliminating on like this, there will be no more classes for me to choose. I can’t choose classes that are too hard, and I cannot choose classes with highly difficult examinations, I can’t choose classes where the teacher looks shameful… say, if I continue on like this, will I end up only taking professional courses this semester?”
Julie rolled her brown eyeball: “No, really I feel as long as you are passionate and enthusiastic about the course you want to choose, then choose any class, and you’ll be able to be excellent. Choosing a husband also goes up to this level. Do you want to choose the same psychology class as me? From a small age, I have always had an interest in psychology, Teacher Sun Dong Dong also has a specialty style.”
I sighed: “It’s another specialty teacher’s class. Right now I am very sensitive to the word “specialty style”. In the future, please do not mention any word concerning specialty style in my presence.”
I disappointedly went with Julie to go buy a bottle of water, but I didn’t think that I would see Xiao Xi at the canteen! Xiao Xi wore a white t-shirt. Underneath, he wore grid-like beach pants. On his feet were flip flops. It was like he was dressed for a seaside resort.
I excitedly ran in front of Xiao Xi: “Hi, Xiao Xi.”
Xiao Xi was first surprised for a moment. Then he revealed his lovely dimples as he smiled: “Hi, why are you here? Where’s Yu Ke?”
“Fang Yu Ke? I don’t know, he isn’t my Siamese twin. I am here to pick classes, what about you?”
Xiao Xi said: “Oh, I am accompanying my friend to go to the lecture. Tomorrow is the weekend. In the afternoon I am preparing to go to Beidaihe to play. Over summer break I was interning, and didn’t have time to go around.”
“Oh that is really good.” If he invited me in five seconds, I would immediately agree to go with him. I silently counted in my heart, 5-4-3-3-2-1-.9-.8-……
Julie patted me: “What are you thinking about?”
I looked at Xiao Xi, disappointed: “Then play well and remember to buy me a souvenir.”
Xiao Xi laughed: “Of course.”
On the way back, Julie asked me: “Who was that hot guy?”
I pretended I couldn’t understand her: “What hot guy?”
“Pretending even with me? All the moments I stared at him were worth it. Just now, if I hadn’t broken you off, he would have began to let out water from all your staring. You like him?”
“So obvious? I thought I hid it very well! Haha. His name is Xie Duan Xi. We all call him Xiao Xi. He is a grade level higher than us. Before he was our small town’s student at another school. That year he got third place in the whole province for Gao Kao. It’s only a pity that I didn’t know him then. If I knew him earlier, maybe I would have worked my butt off to be third place in the province, and then we would have matched, a perfect match.”
“What rubbish. Don’t be so anxious to be a mistress. But your guy is a little hot. Your goal is a little high. The road is long ah!” Julie shook her head as she lamented.
“I feel he’s pretty good looking, it isn’t that hard……”I had less and less confidence. “Then tell me what part of him is bad and give me some confidence.”
“I only met him once, how would I know what parts of him are good? But if I have to say something then I would say that his leg hairs are a little too long.”
“How does this count as something bad, plus, from just one glance you saw the other person’s leg hairs?”
“I must take advantage of the time to do the most comprehensive analysis of the development as a whole. I heard that people with thick leg hairs will have very strong demands. This may help you defeat some of your opponents. But I just don’t know if you can resist it?” When she finished, she began to look at me , squinting her eyes like this: □□ (TL: Insert smiley emoji here).
When I finished digesting her words, I put up a vertical thumb, “Valiant! I know you are worthwhile. Let’s become sworn sisters.”
Julie laughed: “You are pretty interesting. After hearing this, many girls will definitely hit me, in hypocrisy. Really, they are very happy to listen to this. You are real enough, real enough!”
“That’s right! I have no other faults, if I have to say a fault, then that is that my person is too real. For example, right now I am thinking, I must choose classes that occur at the same time as Xiao Xi’s classes. But, I definitely can’t choose classes that are the same as his, even though that would allow us to have more opportunities to communicate with each other. I estimate that the difficulty of the classes he is choosing will be at the A-level. Then I am doomed to fail. As for me, I must put out a long line to catch a big fish and pick a class that is in the same teaching building, and ends at the same time. The best would be if the class is next to his classroom. Then I would have numerous opportunities to see him.” I laughed, satisfied, but then I thought: “Oh no, I forgot to ask what classes he chose. I better call him and ask.”
Julie hurriedly said: “If you chase after him in broad daylight, I will support you as a sister. But don’t forget to not scare the other person. Otherwise you might not even become friends. Even though girls chasing guys is separated by a layer of muslim**, you also need to see how much experience the girl has and how much experience the guy has. Comparing your guys’s natural conditions and the conditions that you must acquire, I am still giving you good advice. Just now, you said you wanted to use a long term plan to gain major returns. Your head can’t get too heated. Otherwise, all you need is a bright announcement to the world that says, Zhou Lin Lin likes Xie Duan Xi.”
- Separated by a layer of muslim: Unconventional
“All right, I will now officially employ you for my military matters. Your mission is to assist me in the next half year, no, get Xiao Xi within three months. This is the longest ‘long-term’ I can stand. I have never had a plan that exceeded three months before.”
“Do I get any benefits? Where’s the dowry?”
“I’ll introduce a hot senior brother for you. I swore an oath so, of course, I am blessed to share.”
I said: “Because each person’s opinions vary; aesthetics can be different to some people, and everyone’s conclusions are different. I don’t dare say that this handsome person is awe-inspiring, but many people say this senior brother looks like Won Bin. Just believe that his eyes are radiant and shining.”
“Then can you bring me around to look at him a bit?”
“Ok, no problem!” I patted my chest to guarantee it.
I ran to the computer center, secretly downloading a list of professional courses from everyone in the department, finding Xiao Xi’s course locations. Haha, I have no way to know your electives, but the professional course listing is available for everyone to look at!
I adjusted my standard of choosing electives to: A. The time of the course was simultaneous with Xiao Xi’s course and in the same teaching building; B. The geographical location was in sync with Xiao Xi, so that after I finished class, I could see Xiao Xi in the classroom, or when he finished class, I could go into his classroom and talk with him, then prepare for my next class; C. The teacher examination methods met the requirements of my IQ; D. The teacher’s looks could not be aesthetically unpleasing*, even if he was sanctimonious or dignified, it was fine.
- *This is not word for word with what the Chinese said. The Chinese literally said “The teacher could not look like he was sorry to his students”; in other words, the teacher looks so ugly that the students feel sorry for him.
Of the above, at least one of A/B had to be satisfied, C must be satisfied, and D was a bonus.
Choosing classes like this, I painfully found out that as a German student, and a student with no interest in the arts, there was only a class called “Russian Art” that I could choose. It was consistent with my A, C, requirements, which was not easy.
If you are too fond of your child, you will be unable to hide him from the wolves**. F**king, let’s go!
- Lin Lin is basically saying that she’s got to take risks otherwise she won’t gain anything.