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March 2006

Well, Zac and I head out into the great unknown tomorrow.  We’ve had lots of farewell dinners, and it’s really quite sad to say goodbye to all of our good friends here.  Marin said Zac should go traveling by himself and I should move in with her.  Emma said she would get married every year so we’d have to come back to China for all of her weddings.  I hope we do come back here someday in the future, because it is hard to imagine not seeing our friends ever again. 

And, for the record, I cried.  We had a hot-pot party at our house last night for my Monday night group of friends.  As we sat around the table, it was hard to imagine that we wouldn’t meet each other again next week.  At the end of the party, we used our digital camera to make a little video of everyone saying something.  Going along with my whole theme that leaving Dalian is like dying, I felt like I was watching my own funeral.  Everyone said such good things about us; I wondered why on earth we were leaving.

But leaving we are.  So, to see how much you’ve learned over the past year of e-mails,
here is your FINAL EXAM.

(the answer key is at the end)


1. What country did Sera and Zac live in for the last year?

A)  China

B)  Asia

C)  Japan

D)  Namibia


2. Sera and Zac’s kitchen had

A)  no hot water, but an electric dish dryer.

B)  a microwave, but no oven.

C)  lots of mice, but no roaches.

D)  no freezer, but a blender and toaster.


3. Zac and Sera had what for a pet?

A)  Fish

B)  Fish and turtles

C)  A cat

D)  Chickens


4. Sera’s favorite part of teaching in China was

A)  substituting for sick teachers.

B)  training the new foreign teachers.

C)  tutoring Marin at the Shangri-La.

D)  teaching the present continuous tense by playing charades.


5. Zac and Sera lived

A)  in two different houses, one small and crappy the other large and nice.

B)  in two different houses, both of them cold and cramped.

C)  in one house, but had to share it with two different roommates.

D)  in one house that was nice and new.


6. Zac and Sera hoped to learn some Chinese while in China.  How well did they do?

A)  They are fluent speakers, but can’t read.

B)  Zac learned how to speak while Sera focused on reading and writing.

C)  Sera speaks like a native, but Zac doesn’t know squat.

D)  They have the vocabulary of cave-people, and can’t pronounce very well either.


7. Sera and Zac’s stay in China corresponded to what part of the Chinese zodiac?

A)  The year of the Dragon

B)  The year of the Rooster and part of the year of the Dog

C)  Half of the year of the Pig and half of the year of the Panda

D)  The year of the Cat and the first month of the year of the Rat


8. The Most important holiday in China is

A)  National Day

B)  Chairman Mao’s birthday

C)  the Lunar New Year (Spring Festival)

D)  the Dragon Boat Festival


9. Dalian is

A)  a port city in northeast China.

B)  a rural village near Beijing

C)  a trade city on the China-North Korea border

D)  an industrial city in central China


10. Dalian has

A)  Asia’s largest city square

B)  the world’s largest outdoor bronze seated Buddha statue

C)  the dirtiest air in China

D)  the busiest sea port in the eastern hemisphere  


11. Sera and Zac had which health problems while in China?

A)  Sera: SARS                        Zac: H5N1 avian influenza

B)  Sera: dislocated shoulder     Zac: none

C)  Sera:  food poisoning          Zac: severe food poisoning

D)  Sera:  lost voice                  Zac: skinned knee


12. While in China, Sera and Zac

A)  boiled their tap water before drinking it.

B)  had bottled water delivered to their house.

C)  drank water straight from the tap.

D)  carried water from the river


13. What foods can we get in China?

A)  Onion flavor cookies, Red bean ice cream and candied flowers

B)  Raw silkworms and Chicken feet

C)  “Stinky” tofu and Grilled chicken fetuses (cooked up right before hatching)

D)  All of the above, and don’t forget the microwavable “chocolate” cake


14. What foods can’t we get in China?

A)  Marshmallows and raisins

B)  Jello

C)  Cake

D)  None of the above, but they taste funny.


15. What products are almost impossible to find in China

A)  Oven mitts and LED alarm clocks

B)  Genuine Nike or Adidas shoes

C)  Banned movies and air rifles

D)  Designer clothes and real Rolex watches


16. What is china?

A)  A large communist country in Asia.

B)  The most populous country on the planet.

C)  A unique and beautiful country with 5000 years of history.

D)  Dishware made of high quality porcelain.


17. How much does dinner for two cost at typical local restaurant?

A)  2 dollars

B)  6 dollars

C)  11 dollars

D)  16 dollars


18. How many times did we normally eat out per week?

A)  None

B)  1 time

C)  5 times

D)  10 times


19. What other country did Zac and Sera visit?

A)  Taiwan

B)  Hong Kong

C)  Tibet

D)  None of the above; these places aren’t currently countries, don’t you agree?

20. Which website is not blocked by the Great Firewall of China?

A)  www.wikipedia.com

B)  www.bbc.co.uk

C)  www.nytimes.com

D)  www.tianamensquaremassacre.com


21. How far away is the nearest McDonalds from our second house?

A)  5 minute walk

B)  15 minute walk

C)  15 minute bus ride

D)  30 minute bus ride


22. How many DVD’s have we bought?

A)  None, they are illegal and their piracy contributes to the US trade deficit with China.

B)  Some, they aren’t very good quality and are difficult to find.

C)  Quite a few, they are cheap and usually weren’t filmed in theaters.

D)  Thousands, go to www.serasphere.net/zacscheapdvds to buy some from us. 


23. How much does a DVD cost here?

A)  6 dollars

B)  3 dollars

C)  1.5 dollars

D)  80 cents


24. If you say the tones wrong on the Chinese word for “strawberry” you could end up saying

A)  your mother is a pig

B)  f – – k berry

C)  grass elephants

D)  I’m a prostitute


25. What jobs did Sera and Zac have in China?

A)  Zac: math teacher               Sera: English teacher

B)  Zac: English teacher           Sera: English teacher, teacher trainer

C)  Zac: no job                           Sera: teacher trainer

D)  Zac: fruit seller                     Sera: translator and editor


26. Students in China have

A)  total respect and reverence for their teachers

B)  to study all the time and take extra classes during evenings and weekends

C)  carefree childhoods similar to children in America

D)  to do all the work at home like cooking and cleaning


27. Most Dalian residents say that Dalian is

A)  the Shanghai of northeastern China

B)  the best place for hot-pot restaurants

C)  a good place to raise a family

D)  a beautiful city that is very clean


28.  After China, Sera and Zac will travel through

A)  Thailand

B)  southeast Asia

C)  Antarctica

D)  India


29. After returning to the U.S., Zac will:

A)  get a job spreading pine needles at Elon University

B)  study Chinese

C)  go to grad school

D)  work for the Ohio Department of Transportation


30.  After returning to the U.S., Sera will:

A)  become a happy housewife and produce offspring

B)  teach English as a second language at a middle school in Columbus

C)  teach high school English somewhere

D)  open a Chinese restaurant


Answer Key:

  1. A
  2. B
  3. B
  4. C
  5. A
  6. D
  7. B
  8. C
  9. A
  10. A
  11. D
  12. B
  13. D
  14. D
  15. A
  16. D
  17. A
  18. C
  19. D
  20. C
  21. B
  22. C
  23. D
  24. B
  25. B
  26. B
  27. D
  28. B
  29. C
  30. C

 How many did you get correct?

 0-5  Pathetic! At some point in the past some people named Zac and Sera accidentally added you to their email list. They just spent a year teaching in China. They apologize for making you skim through and delete so many soporific emails.

 6-10 So-so. You must have actually been doing your job at work instead of spending all your time on e-mails.

 11-15 Not bad, but you didn’t pass this important exam.  You did nothing but study for a year, but you blew it!  It was your only chance in life.  Grab a broom and start sweeping the street. (Such would be your fate if you were a student in China)

 16-20 Good, but you didn’t notice the lower case “c” in china (#16), did you?

 21-25 Pretty good, you are either a dedicated reader, or possibly Chinese.

 26-30 Excellent! We hope you enjoyed reading the emails and sharing in our experience of China.

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