Day 81 - The Great Chicken Heist

Thursday, April 28th, 2016
Smog Level: 0/3 Mountains

Couldn't fall asleep, last night, despite exhaustion. I was late for the bus stop, which the busses knew and held off from showing up. Barely made it to class on time.

On the upside, today should be easy because it’s just a spelling bee! Right??

Spelling Bee

The spelling bee is actually somewhat heart wrenching. Some of the most studious kids were disqualified within the first round because they got bad luck on their assigned words, and some simply misheard me. Some of them cried when being disqualified, including one of the more upbeat, but slower, kids. I was surprised, as he has never cried before and isn’t one that I would expect. I hold back my feelings and focus on continuing the game. The winners were three of the higher performing kids, but not the ones that usually score the best. Slightly surprising.

Love of Definition

The next class was a bit more draining. Some of the kids have taken to looking at their dictionaries while we take up word definitions, which I’m fine with. At least they’re putting in effort and not staring blankly. Another oddity of Chinese students: we have to tell them to stop reading the dictionary because it’s detracting from their studies. At the end of the day, when we some had finished their homework, they weren’t upset when I told them to “read the dictionary” as their alternative choice.

Sweet Meltdown, Bra

Right before they had their big test, one of the girls, Steph, had a major meltdown. She’s a very sweet girl, but timid, and usually quiet. She studies hard, participates infrequently, and seems to be well liked. For some reason, she was crying as I handed out the test papers, and went into a full wail. Refusing to move from her seat, we had to drag her and her chair into the hall. She wailed there for another 10-15 minutes while the CoTeacher dealt with it. One of the problem kids was called out during the 'episode,' so I assumed he must have done something to her. I took the rest of the day to be extra firm with him, which is something that has been a long time coming, anyway. Gotta break that kid from acting out and screwing up everyone around him, which he has been doing quite well.

Turns out, he had nothing to do with it. Steph had stepped on a mural that was in the hall, which was being worked on by another class. She did it on purpose, and my CoTeacher had scolded her. That was why she was wailing.

The Great Chicken Heist

Drained, and lots of these tests to mark, I opt for lunch. In the caf, they’re serving fried chicken legs, which are a hot commodity. When they have something in demand, they assign a kitchen staff member to dish them out individually. No self-serve. We wait for her to step away and snag a bunch. The great chicken heist. I would feel bad if it wasn’t for the fact that there are several visible buckets of chicken sitting in the kitchen.


Helena commented that I’m picking up mandarin fairly quickly, to which I said I feel like I’m crawling. Part of me wonders if people who say that are just trying to encourage me, but that doesn’t seem in-character for them, or Chinese people in general. They often can be quite blunt and forward. “You should lose some weight,” for example. Why, thank you for noticing.

Vain Attempts

After marking all the tests, I head to the gym. I keep seeing people try to filter the air their breathing by holding their hands in front of their faces, or using a piece of paper to, I guess, block the particles. Keep in mind, these are nano particles. Even if they are bigger than the nano scale.. if you are able breath, then they’re getting through. But hey, whatever makes them feel like they’re doing something. It’s relatively common to see on bad days. Thinking of which, I wonder how effective even the masks are...

Penciling in a Fight

Walking home, I find myself ruminating and getting angry about something that has continually come up again and again about a particular familial individual. I should probably talk to them about it and air my grievances, but keep putting it off. Who wants to section off time to get upset? “Penciling a fight into your schedule,” in effect. Yet, here I am, thinking about the same things, getting angry again, despite listening to Pink Lemonade by The Wombats.

A friend counsels me while I allow myself to take a break, eventually getting to writing this very sentence.

The thing is, I was hoping I could get away from having to confront that fight. Foolish, and I even knew it. But part of me was hoping that if I could just get away from the person, the anger would also fade. Looking back, even when I was away, the anger didn’t resolve, it just wasn't triggered. Nothing to make it come to mind.

To end on a lighter note, the air was full of those white fluffs again. You’d think I’d be protected while wearing glasses and a mask, but they kept finding their way into my eyes.

It was… a bit of a draining day*. 

*Remember that willpower is drained from:

  • Emotional regulation (holding back emotions while the kids were crying or causing problems)
  • Forcing yourself to do things you don’t want to do (gym, write, edit)
  • Dealing with minor annoyances (fluffs)
  • Resisting temptation (wanting to do nothing, play games)

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]


Editing Music
Man of Mystery
John Jorgenson

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