Day 14 - Banks, Bosses, and Bros

("How Adorable is the Little Grass - Don't Hurt Them, Please")
Yes... Look at All That Adorable Grass.
Sunday, February 21st, 2016
Hey Look, The CN Tower!
Smog Level: 0 Mountains

Shimou had ordered stuff from Táobǎo (Literally: "Search Treasure") to find cheaper things to fill out the apartment. We didn’t have any salt, knives, a flat flying pan, a toilet brush, or affordable coffee beans. Well, that’s where Táobǎo comes in: they have pretty much everything, and it will all come quickly - straight to your door! In this case, they arrived at 9am on a Sunday. Luckily for us, the guy was persistent enough to rouse me from bed. Now all I need is a grinder and I can finally stop drinking all this instant. When we had gone to Jiu Jitsu, one of the students had jokingly said you could get a passport on Táobǎo. That might explain why they (banks, etc.) are so skeptical whenever they inspect mine.
Back to the bank, we are able to successfully convert the $99 USD to about ¥640 and a ¥4 tax, which really isn’t to bad. Less than a dollar CAD in fees. On our way back, we stop at a traditional Beijing dessert shop that’s around the corner from the apartment. We get 2 small loaves of jujube bread, 2 cookies, and 3 of these sort of medallion tarts (not mooncakes). All that for… ¥16. I do so love trying foreign candies and desserts, so this is dangerous to be so cheap and close to home while without a gym membership.

A Praying Mantis made of Hardened Sugar
We try to return the light bulb that we’d bought for the burnt out one in our kitchen, but they wouldn’t let us enter the store with it. The desk to return it is only accessible from an entrance that leads directly outside. We had gone through and spoke with the desk, but they understandably turned us away without having the bulb in hand. Back through the store we go, grabbing a bite to eat at Yoshinoya, a Japanese fast food chain. Beef with rice and a side of vegetables with a oyster sauce. How horribly unhealthy, you disgusting Japanese fast food joint. (Kidding, in case that wasn’t obvious enough).

Shit’s crazy today: so much traffic and so many people. Sunday is not the time to go shopping. Next up: Meeting my boss for the first time!

Navigating the subway is easy enough, since they have the pinyin versions of each stop written below the Chinese characters. I arrive to meet The Director (Head of English Teachers at Carden), Alex (Head of Grades 1-4), Agatha (Head of Kindergarten), and Ryan (Another Carden Teacher). 

I don’t say much, just hanging around observing the dynamic for the first bit. It seems like The Director and Ryan both are into fish and terrarium-based pets, The Director and Agatha both went on a trip to South-East Asia with lots of scuba diving, while Ryan and Alex had gone to a similar area of the world, but a different country altogether. They seem to really like their exotic animals. The Director and Ryan both said that they had studied this Chinese wrestling, which is said to be a precursor to Judo! Only ¥500 ($100 CAD) a month! Which reminds me that I should look into Tai Chi as well…

These Sorts of Ads are Everywhere,
Celebrating theYear of the Monkey by
Remembering Famous Moments of
The Monkey King (Sun Wukong).
They show me a store that sells a lot of international goods, including deodorant and laundry detergent. Good. Little known fact: Asians can have a different gene that causes them to have very little body odor. A sign that you have this gene is having dry, flaky ear wax. If your ear wax is wet and, uh, waxy, then you have the gene that makes you smell stronger. Most westerners have that gene, myself included so.. Long story short: their deodorant probably isn’t strong enough.

I met my roommate tonight. His name is Josh, he’s from North Carolina, has a PhD in Social Anthropology, and is nearly as tall as me. We talked about China, American politics, and the upcoming election. After a decent conversation, we went to our separate rooms. He had been awake 36 hours due to traveling. Long day.

As for what my coworkers told me about life at the school, it sounds like I have a great year is ahead of me! I’m starting to get excited for it! Life is about to get much better.

Editing Music

Angel of Small Death & The Codeine Scene

Words of the Day:

English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
To Start - kāi shǐ [kye sher]
near - jìn [jean]
far - yuǎn [you-awn]
same - xiāngtòng [she-ahng-tong]
bring more - dài lái [dye lye]

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