Day 18 - Noodle Shops, Language Barriers, and Cuteness Overload

Thursday, February 25th, 2016
Smog Level: 0.5 Mountains (barely make out 1)

Take two: Attempting the front gate alone.

Closer Look at that Science Rock
 This time I know to throw the word Carden into my sentence. Here goes: Wǒ shì Carden lǎoshì. Boom - In like Flynn. They always seem super bored standing around the gate.

Each day, I get trained by a different one of the Veteran teachers, allowing me to see each of their styles and perspectives. It’s like being welcomed into a Kung Fu movie and each master takes you into their specific dojo to show you how they do. Except, instead of Kung Fu, we’re practicing teaching kids to read English. Much more glamorous, rest assured.
The highlight of the day was being able to sit in on one of my classes that was being taught by The Director. My God, they are adorable. I’m just going to come out and say it: Chinese kids are far cuter than Western kids. This is with the exclusion of yours, of course, dear reader. The Director stood at the door permitting each of them entry once they answered the question “How are you today?”

They spilled into the room, energetically collecting their books and throwing curious looks in my direction at the back of the room. “No Chinese!” one kid yelled at another as he cast a accusatory finger in her direction. Only English in these rooms. Another thing that’s different is that at the end of the class, they had “eye exercises,” as regulated by the Government. One girl took it upon herself to go around the class and correct everyone’s posture and procedure, alternating between that and demonstrating it on herself at the front of the class.

View from the Elevator at the Mall
Brad, another veteran, went over some more of the teaching basics until Lunch. We went across the street to his favorite restaurant and had a big bowl of noodle soup. (Their soup broths here are amazing.) He’s has a degree in History and seems to know about a broad variety of topics, so the conversation flowed pretty easily. One thing I learned from him: Boomhauer, a character from the show King of the Hill, actually says things when he speaks. I presumed he wasn’t meant to be understood, like Kenny from South Park.

After another Veteran Teacher taught me the rest of the time after lunch, I grabbed my school supplied air purifier. I was leaving the building when a random kid said “Hi Teacher” to me. "Hello, Student!" I napped once the purifier was set up. Life is good.

Shimou messaged that I had missed a delivery because I wasn’t home, and to try the shop at the front of my building. I fumbled with the sentence “zhè yǒu 26D de kuai di ma” which.. I think they said they didn’t have it? I then went to the Beijing sweets shop. I’m hoping giving the school front guards some treats will either get me my keycard faster, or simply make my daily entry easier.

China Burger King's English Marketing
Carden, my school, will reimburse me for ¥100 per month for bus/subway. To put this in perspective, it costs me ¥1 to go to school, and ¥1 to get back, and like ¥15 to get to the other side of Beijing. Not bad. I hit a snag: the machines I use to load up my card are not giving me receipts. Now my card has ¥200 on it and I still don’t have a receipt. Damn it.

I hobble to the mall to grab some grub and wifi. Each time I’ve come here, I’ve tried a different place, seeing how difficult it would be for me to order food. This time, I expect it to be easy because they have a numbered menu. “wǒ yào bā” (I want 8) I say, pointing to the sign. He says something back. I say “Bā. Dà, dà” (8. Large, large), and he grabs a bowl and shows me it, sort of gesturing at it’s size. I think he’s giving it to me, which causes more confusion. He does some gesture over and over until I realize I’m ordering at the wrong spot, and that the cash register is at the other side of the store. I pay, and go back to the guy. Another worker hands me a bowl of noodles that doesn’t look like what I thought I ordered, but.. I guess it’s mine?

Now two of the workers are saying something to me, and gesturing to the little boxes of condiments, or so I think. Confused, I look at the woman standing beside me. She’s holding money. I think she’s giving it to me. Turns out that the food isn’t mine - it’s hers, and the second worker had handed it to the wrong person. I laugh at the absurdity of the situation, sweating from the grill's heat and nerves. At least they weren’t getting mad. Eventually I receive my food, sit down, and eat with some random kid staring at me. I smile and say nǐ hǎo. He stares blankly.

Afterward, I did some work on the most dependable internet I have found so far, which is... Starbucks. Like clockwork, I return home around 10.

Words of the Day

English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
Gift - lǐpǐn [lee-peen]
Sweets - tiánshí [tee-ann-shurr]
Help (verb) - bāng [bong]
Sorry - duì bù qǐ [doy boo chee]
Only - zhǐyào [jurr-yow]

Editing Music

No comments:

Post a Comment