Day 38 - Geese Can't Fly

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016
Smog Level: 0/3 Mountains

Ever heard about that thing where Asian people will wear masks over their mouth and nose due to illness? It’s said that they wear them because they don’t want to get others sick. That totally doesn’t seem to apply to China.

A day or two ago, one of the students was waiting to go home sick. Since her parents had to come, she was in class all day, coughing. It seems like an uncommon thing, teaching children to cover their goddamn mouths. Then again, it seems a lot of adults don’t bother with the courtesy either. At the reading table, she’s right across from me, coughing up a storm. No mouth covering. Unrestrained mucous wave straight into my semi-sheilded face (thank you, glasses). "Cover your mouth!" She thinks it’s funny to put her hand on her mouth, and cough through a large space in her fingers. Cute.
Pic 1: Spring is starting to sprout
Pic 2: Around the corner from the first pic, this is near the zoo (right)
Point: I’m getting sick, just like everyone else in the school.

On the upside, the VPNs are fully functional and better than ever, it would seem! Internet is consistently going strong! Now I can stop worrying about whether I'll be able to actually edit these things.

Drinking a yogurt bottle on my way to the bus, I'm wondering if scratchy throats are helped by milk at all. Can't ask the people around me because they'll just tell me that I should "drink hot water." How has the West not learned of this panacea?!

Benefits of showing up early for my afternoon classes? Free lunch and lots of lounge time. I enjoy both of those today and have conversations with the revolving door of coworkers.

Part of Campus
First Up: Jack, who is on the non-carden side of the school. Unlike Carden, they get paid a salary and have to be there the full day, teaching or not. That's right, if they don’t have class until 2pm, they still have to show up around 7am. This is Jack today.

In case I haven’t mentioned it, some of the international side guys seem to think that Carden is way worse than their side. They seem to view it like the Engineers used to view us Arts students in undergrad: you weren't qualified enough to get their situation, which is why you were unlucky enough to end up where you are. I beg to differ, given the freedom and what seems to be better management. It’s the opposite of the “grass is always greener” here. Conversation turns to sports, by which I mean it completely drops. I put my head down and work until...

Luigi shows up, and tells me some of the things he’ll be doing this weekend. House party, softball, and Dungeons and Dragons. Well, there’s some common ground. Softball! I mean.. DnD! I mention that I’ve been wanting to play, but figured there wouldn’t be any opportunities here. Not so. He says there’s a group he’s in that play every Sunday, and that if they’re full, he knows of other groups I might be able to participate in. Sweet. Expanding the social circle and get my nerd on.

The "Street" Next to my Apartment
I’m about to get back to work when Paul walks up and starts talking about the international/carden politics. I mostly listen, realizing that my listening skills suck. Some people will just carry the conversation themselves and you can steer it using pointed questions, as advised by my good friend Steve Rose, who agreed to a guest post. Paul tells me that he has a degree in Botany, that he’s thinking of moving, and some of the cultural differences to do with New Zealand. We both are left wondering about why Guy Fawkes day is a thing… why would a failed terrorist be given his own day by the very government he meant to overthrow?

Roommate Josh storms by, seemingly stressed by the pressure of deciding what he’s going to be doing next September. The jobs are needing answers soon and he’s still weighing his options.

After the a-la-carte conversation partners end, I hoof across campus to class.

Gifts for Colleagues
We keep learning about geese in the english lessons… for some reason. I use an example sentence “Geese can fly” to which one of the smarter girls argues that, no, they can’t. I follow up on this and learn that and learned that: geese can’t fly, chickens can, and people get more tired and sick in the spring and not the winter. Recall, too, that kids like erasing the chalkboard, collecting the pencils, and sweeping as rewards. What is this place?! 

One of my coteachers provided me with stickers. Stickers are crack for children. I don’t really get it, but I remember having affinity for them as a child. I’m using a slightly better system, tying in some rewards for better behavior. My god is it ever effective at the reading table.

The rest of the night is uneventful, but I'm left with my mind not shutting off at 10, when I want to sleep and kick this cold. Instead I ruminate on old fights, I think about interactions that happened earlier that day and dismiss those thoughts as overanalysis. I think about how I would probably be very isolated here if it wasn’t for Shimou, though that’s ignoring the opportunities I would have sought out or said ‘yes’ to in her place. I probably would’ve gone out more, sought out more social groups, and just wandered around alone. As it stands, my school doesn’t feel the best for social endeavors because everyone seems to have a routine. I’m merely a disruption to the pre-existing schedule. 

We’ll see how things progress. Opportunities are slowly popping up.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
back - bèi [bay]
chest - xiōng [shiong] - Really light on the I

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