Day 44 - Aurora Enters

Tuesday, March 22nd
Smog Level: 1 Mountain

Early morning, early class. A bottle of yogurt for breakfast as I head out the door, mumbling a goodbye to Josh. I’m glad the commute is easy, and that I’ve kind of gotten the hang of crossing the street. The easiest way is simply to go when someone else does and make sure they’re between you and traffic. Today I was a little overly conservative, and the lights for the crosswalk weren’t on. 4 lanes of traffic with a concrete divider in the middle. Real-life Frogger while groggy. Traffic Roulette.
Student Artwork
In class, we get through as much of the new words as we can, but it’s difficult. They know three parts of speech: verb, noun, adjective. I have to teach them “then,” “after” and other such words. They protested when I moved on without adding part of speech. I don’t know if I can even properly teach conjunctions, other than simply saying “they connect things!” Maybe I should watch more schoolhouse rock.

At the reading table, I’m continuing with sticker bribes and only had to withhold from one student so far of about 15-20 total. Another switch-up: instead of takings turns in a predictable fashion, I’m letting them choose who reads next. Sometimes they realize they can pick me, which allows me to throw it back to any students who haven’t been picked enough. Gotta play with the number of sentences they read, because they’re supposed to be on the next book already.. and not a single ready group from either class is there. Easy fix: give the fast readers longer/more sentences. This will, however, make good readers get better while less competent readers will stay the same… but it’s a temporary fix until we're where we need to be.

A Student Painted This
In my second class, a new Chinese teacher, Aurora, sat in and watched. She’s quirky, and her English is excellent for never having left China. It’s not uncommon for them to never leave, it seems. She studied English in Beijing, she’s taught before, year of the dragon (my age), and very friendly. We grab lunch in the caf, alongside Jen and Wendy. Apparently there have been a lot of teachers tagging along lately, some of which are Korean. Seems we may be expanding. Interesting.

On my way out of campus, Dan shows me where another Western toilet is. This one isn’t locked behind an elevator and passcard, and only one building over. Awesome. Somehow, I’ve still managed to avoid having to use the 'squatty potties.'

On my way home, students voices echo in my head, shouting “he spoke Chinese!” I don’t know why, but it’s like one of those earworms. I’m pretty sure it’s one specific girl whose voice stands out in the crowd. Occasionally I’ll hear that, or other phrases they often yell, like “Mr Shake,” a close approximation to my name that they can’t seem to get right.

Work Station Nearly Complete - Lamp, Humidifier (necessary),
and slight laptop stand.
Only thing missing: Wired Keyboard so I can build a higher tower.
Back home, I nap for a couple hours, and get some work done. I feel like it’s piling up and I really just want a full day to do absolutely nothing… but yet I’ve avoided doing that this past weekend when I had the option. Part of me wants to whine about it, but I have to remind myself that life is pretty damn good right now. I struggle against routine, often feeling caged in. I’ve also been listening to a podcast on World War I and hearing about just how terrible it was. I mean.. I already knew that it would probably be the last war I’d choose to fight in, but I had no idea how bad, exactly, it could get. Giant, oddly shaped holes from the constant shelling, mostly filled with fetid water and bloated corpses, and often poisonous because of the thick, pollen-like gasses that were used on regular occasion. Imagery I need to keep in mind whenever I even consider feeling sorry for myself in any way.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
doctor - yīshēng [E-shung]
engineer - gōngchéngshī [gong chung shuh]

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