Day 59 - Pied Piper And Child Violence

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016
Smog Level: 0/3 Mountains

I’m still playing around with my routine, seeing where I can tweak it to get more sleep, more work, more socializing - more more. Last afternoon day, I got up at 8:30 to go to the gym and was much too early at school. Let’s try 9:30 today and see what happens.

It would probably be reasonable if I didn’t get caught online in some enjoyable conversations with people I haven’t spoken with in a while. Part of me thinks I'm wasting time. Whatever. Relationships are more important.
On the way to work, I see the cement stilts that should support a highway. There’s no highway, however. Is it going in or coming out? Funny how little we pay attention to these sorts of things. Flip of the coin: it’s totally going in! Hooray, new highway on-ramp!

I arrive at the cafeteria at 12:40, 10 minutes before they pull all the food. Upside: they keep putting food out even when the numbers are dwindling, so there are a number of semi-fresh, well-stocked dishes with plenty of protein. Some days are better than others for protein here.

While working in the lounge, I find out from a coworker that I missed a meeting. Tad tells me that it was thrown up on Basecamp (our information sharing website) the night before, and that it’s not too big of a deal that I missed this one. Whoops.

I’m running a little late on the way to class and stop in the washroom, hoping to make a quick stop. Inside are the first graders that I teach on Fridays. They go nuts and won’t leave me alone. Time to step into a stall, even though I don’t have to. On my way out, they run at me and grab me… straight from the urinals. Uh.. thanks.. guys… but I gotta go. Really, I do have to go, but at every possible doorway, they’re standing there waiting to jump out and ‘scare’ me, latching on like monkeys to a tree. I pick one up and throw him, sideways, at the rest, sending them tumbling. After climbing the wall onto the next floor, I barely make it in time to set up.

Geez, the kids are crazy today. But at least they’re not saying they hate me. In fact, that particular one actually participated in class when she normally scowls. I switched oral English to foods and meals. They didn’t know breakfast, so I’m gaining insight into their culture by asking them questions like this. What would you eat for breakfast? The only unconventional one I got was Noodles. Apparently eating noodles for breakfast isn’t uncommon, my CoTeachers confirmed.

I call this tree "Chocolate Raspberry"
I’ve been experimenting with something for the kids. When we teach them reading, we have them repeat the lines of a story, a “spelling story.” I read it, they repeat. So, whenever I have them repeat stuff, I’ve been purposely varying the pitch of my voice, sometimes nonsensically. Funny thing is, they copy the tone almost exactly. So, imagine you can say “for… my… BIRTHDAY!” and have the kids take similar pausing and yelling. Sometimes a sentence that’s not a question will be read like a question, or I’ll make it seem angry. They mimic everything and seem to find it more fun. I find it funny, so… win-win.

I’m also making the classes compete with each other for stars. They are in a row, so the first one will lose stars, and the second one will come after. All I have to do is change the color of the ones I fill in. Maybe it’ll make a difference, especially if I keep track of which class is winning.

Dinner time. Aurora is caught in a meeting, so I eat alone, again. Well, until Dopple and his wife show up. He asks me questions about Carden, and seems to wince when I say that I have signed for another year at the company. He seems to pity me, which I play into a joke. I then answer some questions about what our side requires and seem to satisfy his itch for answers as to why Carden isn’t very good (hint: it's actually amazing). Sure, that’s fine. Aurora shows up, we eat, and move to the teacher’s lounge to study Mandarin.

Today it’s about calendar dates, birthdays, holidays, and relative positions. Useful, though I knew a good chunk of them. She also broke down their birthday song, and how to wish someone a happy birthday. Literal translation of their happy birthday song: “wish you birthday happy!” (zhù - nǐ - shēn rì - kuài lè [joo nee shun rrh kuai luh])

Notice the particularly light flowers on the left there. Strange.
Makes me wonder if you could get all differnet flowers if you were to
graft branches from the various trees together.
Kind of like potatoes and tomatoes.
After our lesson, we try the massage chairs for ¥1, which buys you 15 minutes. Not bad, and the machines feel good after a day of walking and deadlifts. Shimou has ordered the protein powder, creatine, powdered greens, and blender… so better breakfasts are on the way! Also, apparently yogurt machines are pretty cheap here also, just add milk, a scoop of yogurt, and wait 8-10 hours. Boom, fresh yogurt. Oh, baby.

Aurora said she had 3 guitars: 2 bad and 1 good. I asked if I could borrow one to practice with, and she said yes! How generous! Now I can see if I actually have time to practice, then decide if that’s enough time to be worth buying my own.

Back home, I work until 10:30, then read comics until 11. Tuesday nights are great: early off and late start on Wednesday. The cost: Late finish on Wednesday and an early start on Thursday. The best night is followed by the worst night.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
shēn rì
[shen rr]

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