Day 50 - Oddballs Abroad

Monday, March 28th, 2016
Smog Level: 0 Mountains

Beautiful, yeah?
In the lounge, I intended to study mandarin… but then a German teacher started speaking to me. He was kind of an odd guy, and neglected to give me his name when we first met. He seemed to be against the Syrian refugees being allowed into Germany, quoting them at 5,000 refugees per day. That sounds grossly inflated.. but how would I know?

He was a medical professor, he said, but left because.. I guess refugees replaced him because they were willing to work for less? Saying a lot of refugees claim to be doctors or engineers, yet don’t speak german. Sure? Usually displaced people don't tend to accumulate at the top of a the society they're seeking refuge in, but...
He made a couple rude comments about the physical fitness of some of the coworkers, which I tried to play off without being rude, myself. After a long enough conversation, I excused myself because I’d have class in a half hour, and really needed to review the Mandarin, since I hadn’t even looked at it since our last class. I said 'Hi' to Josh and Stacey, who happened to be sitting near the elevator. The guy followed, which makes sense, and tried to joke with Stacey, which fell flat. You could tell she wasn’t feeling it, but he kept trying the same joke she hadn't liked the first time around. Did not go over well. I excused myself, hoping to pull him away since he wasn’t getting a clue.

My School!
It worked.

He was a nice enough guy, but… I’m not really sure what to make of him. I’m still wondering whether it was the right thing to play off his rude comments, or if I should have called him out on them. We both work there, but not in the same department… I don’t know. Maybe I will next time.

Class on Mondays are hectic. The students are often late because their Chinese teachers decide to keep the kids after class for dumb reasons, like sweeping their rooms or something similar. In 35 minutes, we have to warm up, let them review for maybe 2 minutes, give them the spelling test, and then teach them another set of words, which can range 12 new words on average.

First class was able to power through all this before break, second class had to have their spelling lesson after break, eating away at reading time. Kind of wish it was the other way around because the first class’s reading group for Mondays is ahead of the rest, while the second class’s reading group is behind.

Same place as the picture above, but 10 feet back.
Funny how perspective changes things.
After class I have Mandarin lessons. The German guy asked where I got lessons and I lied, saying it was off campus. I didn’t really want to invite him into it, based on my first impression.

We learn a lot - too much for me to absorb during the class, I realize. On my way home, I thought about the words I was taught, and how many I could remember… only the English. The bus stopped and the copilot told me to get off, along with everyone else. That bus was ending there, apparently. I decided to walk the rest of the leg because it wasn’t that far. Almost beat the bus, too, despite almost taking a turn too early.

Shimou is leaving tonight, but was gracious enough to make us both dinner using the limited supplies in the cupboards. Ramen with dumplings and fish. Not the worst of meals, but lacking in the vegetable department. No complaints.

At the grocery store, I had stopped at a bin that said ¥20 ($4 CAD / $3.10 USD) for 4 of whatever was on the shelf. I know this because an employee was shouting it out on repeat, standing there. Good deal, since there was an assortment of things I wanted. While sifting through the selections, a random woman walked up and started pawing through the things in my cart. The employee slapped her arm and said something sternly. I laughed. Shimou translated it to something like “He still wants those! Don’t touch them!”

Afterward, I walked Shimou to the subway and called it a night.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
Add - Jiā [jee-uh]
Subtract - Jiǎn [jee-ann]

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