Day 51 - Great Day in Beijing!

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016
Smog Level: All 3 Mountains

First class went well. I was even able to mark both classes tests in the 30 minute break between sessions. Powered on through! Hurrah. The class returns and are usually not very happy about their break between classes because it’s a 30 minute period of exercises. Most don’t like it.

As the second half of this class ends, I’m prepping the board for the next class while the students pack up. CoTeacher Joy tells me that the other class is on a field trip which means: no second class! Sweet. I had been planning on staying late today to finish all the student evaluations, but I guess there’ll be no need. 
Typical Lunch. Top left going clockwise: somewhat flavourless breads;
semi-spicy, tangy zucchini and pork(?); various chewy greens with pieces of beef
one of my favourites, stew with beef and potatoes; lastly, tofu and green peppers. 

Pool finished class around the same time that I finished my evaluations. Lunch date! He has interesting views of china and it’s people. He thinks they mostly don’t have their own opinions, and is sick of seeing all the political slogans all over the place. See, he’s been here a long time, has a chinese wife - which means chinese mother-in-law - and can actually read characters. Me? When I look around, I see square-ish squiggles that mean nothing. When he looks around, he sees “propaganda” and other such things.

The last quote says: "Perseverance is a silent power that grows irresistibly
greater with time."
In other words, lunch with Pool usually reveals an often unspoken side of China. I sometimes wonder if he’s a little burnt out.

I learn over lunch that he is, in fact, moving back to America next year and is having to go through all the hoops of bringing his wife over. Apparently it’s not much easier, even if you’re married to an American. Who knew? One of the things he says he’s most sick of in China is that they often try to pull people down who have it better than them. Example: if you have a good work environment - better than theirs - and they know it, they may do everything they can to make sure your environment is as bad as theirs. Instead of pressuring their bosses to improve their situation, they try to pull you down. I suppose that’s easier.

Campus, uh, Train.
The exact phrase is: qìrén yǒu; xiào rén wú. Literally: “annoy have; laugh people not have.” The intended meaning: Dislike those who have more, and laugh at those who don’t has as much. I think they use it in a way that is meant to describe people who are, as I elegantly call them, pieces of shit. Please, pardon the pretentiousness. Still waiting on further explanation for this, and hoping it’s not meant as something to aspire to.

My Gym
After lunch, we have a meeting to discuss what we will do for the parents day on Friday. That’s right, I have to teach in front of the parents. The plan is to coach the students as much as possible so that we can call on every student equally. As with that phrase above, some parents will be pissed if their kid gets chosen 3 times while another student gets chosen 2 times to speak. It’s mostly a song and dance, and not really a teaching day. Just gotta show them what their money is going toward and reassure them that it’s helping. I’m going to coach them best I can and pretend the parents aren't there on Friday. Maybe I won’t even have to call anyone out for picking their nose.

It’s a beautiful day, sun is out, trees are magically blossoming when they weren’t earlier this week, and the gym is mostly empty. Some guys kept looking at me. Get an eyeful, fellas. More where that came from.

At home, the windows are open, fresh air is in the apartment, birds are chirping, some kid is playing impressive piano in another apartment, and random Chinese can be heard wafting in the window. I made a fish/veggie soup with noodles and had a hot shower. Feels good, sickness seems to be fading. I even got a lot of work done: edited 2 posts, wrote the daily haps, studied mandarin, meditated, did some self-diagnosed physio exercises, and finish work around 8. 

Life is good today.

Now to finally have some down time, alone, where I can watch shows and play games. Ahhhhhhh.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
Book - shū [shoo]
Read - [do]

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