Well the HSK was this morning, and I really think I tanked. Boo hoo. The oral section was ok, and the others would have been better if I were a stronger reader. Fuck, shit, crap, man! Clearly, this exam means I still have a SUPER LONG way to go. Yeah, I know, this whole thing was just an exercise, a sort of self-assessment… as anticipated, I turned it into something totally stressful. Now it’s over. Time for me to let go: I’ve kept up with school and learned a ton this semester, so that’s the best I can do. This language learning shit just takes time. I just hope I keep at it after I go… Btw, anyone realize the date? Jesus, June 18 already! Countdown to California! Holy shit. Really down to the wire: people are planning farewell parties and shit. What a bummer. I need to find myself a kickass job… HELP!!

Randomly, while I was surfing the web trying to figure out the general gist of the HSK (in English, please), I bumped into info about the FSWE (Foreign Service Written Exam). Apparently, the State Department is recruiting folks with Mandarin skills. Of course to complicate matters, they don’t measure Mandarin proficiency via the HSK. No, they use some Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) Scale. What the fuck? If level 2 speaking proficiency is all they require, that doesn’t seem so bad. Not that I would seriously consider working for the government (especially the current despot and company), but well there is something appealing about traveling the world and getting paid to go through intensive language training. Still, I’m not about to put myself in the middle of a war zone. Supposedly the assignments work like this: two years in a safe, workable place; two years in a war zone. Two years in a so-so place; two years in paradise. If I had the guts to live in a war zone though, I’d be with some humanitarian aid organization. Screw the US government and politics.

Oh well, doesn’t matter: I’m becoming a meathead anyway. This gym thing, man… I actually took a break from it for like a week. Not that I was going religiously or anything (at best maybe three four times a week). But it’s such a pain, because once you’re in shape or whatever, you develop this fear of reverting. That’s like the only thing that keeps me going. I don’t want to go back to when my body couldn’t handle ten minutes of running. Ugh. And like now the gym is making me obsess over things I never cared about before, for example, my butt. I know, totally lame and superficial, but what can I do? I already told you I’m turning into a dodo bird. So like now I want a shapely ass. I just discovered that there’s actually a weight machine that works the glutes. I have no idea if I’m even using it correctly, but I’m trying to follow the diagram and directions as closely as possible. I’m probably not doing the “smooth arching motion” right, because now my lower back hurts– it feels strained or something. And I’ve also tried this hamstring machine. I used to hate those ones where you had to lie on your belly. Apparently, now there’s this upright one where you sit there, grab these handles on your lap and then curl your legs. OMG, who have I become? I can’t believe I’m actually talking about weight machines on my blog. This is a whole new level, man. Next thing you know, I’ll be logging calories and shit online. Ugh. This cannot continue.

Well I should remind myself that I actually study Chinese characters at the gym. Yes, I prop my little booklet of character sheets on top of the elliptical. So see, I still got some nerd left in me. I’m not going to worry about this internal conflict (meathead vs. nerd): in the end, I’m sure the dork side will prevail. I’ve never been part of the “in” crowd, so I’m sure that says something about my core nature.

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