RANDOM BITS FROM THE WEEK
Day of Splurge
Tuesdays are my free days, and I've learned to really cherish them. I spent the morning reading and talking to family on Skype. I was able to talk to two of my brothers and their wives, which was nice considering we haven't talked since I left the States.
After noon Brian and I went to get foot rubs. We tried a new place, and I'm glad we did because they did a better job than the first place we went to. Afterwards, we decided to continue the "day of splurge" and went to UBC, the coffee shop, where we read and drank fancy coffees.
Terror in the Classroom
Brian and I teach the same class on Monday nights; it's such a large class that the English department split it into two classes - Brian teaches one and I teach the other. Last night we wanted to show a movie to our classes, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, so we decided to combine our classes instead of buying two movies. After taking roll, my class went upstairs to Brian's room where he informed me that his classroom computer would not play the DVD, and his personal computer would not connect to his classroom computer so playing the DVD in his room was not an option. Then we moved the entire class down to my room (80 something students, by the way). However, my classroom computer would not play the DVD either, and we weren't having any luck hooking Brian's computer to my classroom computer. We just looked at each other and were like, what are we going to do? We had 80 some students expecting to watch a movie which didn't look like an option any longer, and we hadn't prepared any backup plan to cover the three periods our class lasts. Just when I was sure I would soon experience a stroke, Brian's computer connected to my classroom computer, and the movie was projected onto the wall. Unfortunately, we didn't have the right cable to connect the sound from Brian's computer to the classroom computer so the loudest the sound would go was as high as Brian's computer volume would go. Clearly, that would not be loud enough, but, fortunately, each classroom has a small microphone that the teachers can use while lecturing so we turned it on and placed the microphone on the speakers of Brian's computer. It worked, but it also projected the sound of the vibrations caused by the rotating of the DVD in Brian's computer. Anyway, it was better than nothing, and we were able to watch all but the last few seconds of the movie (apparently, at a certain time, the power to the computers is shut off in all the classrooms, and this happened right before the very last lines of the film were spoken!). Anyway, the whole thing stressed me out a bit, but next time we will know exactly what it takes to show a movie in our classes.
Friday Luncheon with the Ladies
Friday Cindy and I met Jaime and Rena near the medical school for lunch. It was a ladies only get together and our first. It's kind of nice to be part of a ladies group; I'm so used to my identity being merely a college student (which has its perks like little responsibility or expectation), but I am glad to be away from all the perceptions of being a college student (like the lack of responsibility and expectation!), and it's good to be identified with the ladies. We're going to try to meet together at least once a month from now on.
Saturday Spent with Sophia
In my Monday night class, there are a couple girls whom I adore because they are always smiling and always receptive and always interested in class. They make me feel like a good teacher whether I am or not. One of the girls is Sophia. Last year she apparently spent a lot of time with the foreign teachers, but all of those she hung out with have left. So she called me Friday to see if I wanted to have lunch with her Saturday. I jumped at the chance to get to know her better so around 11:30 we met at the bus stop and left to find her favorite restaurant. Sophia's a really neat girl. She has a great heart, and I have high hopes for her. We spent several hours together shopping. One of her roommates joined us, and we walked along Wuyen - the shopping street here in Shiyan. It was a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Sunday Night - Home Alone
We had invited the Rice Boys (4 guys Derek met awhile back whose English is lacking but good nature is not) and the Four Crazy Amigas (the freshmen girls who had taken us to dinner several weeks back) to Derek's apartment to watch the newest Jackie Chan movie - the one that has babies with chest hair (we don't understand it either!). They all (and a few others) showed up, but the Jackie Chan movie was only in Chinese without English subtitles so we opted to watch Home Alone instead. It's a classic favorite, and I forgot how much I like it. Our guests, especially the crazy girls, were entertaining as usual. I wish everyone could meet them because it's impossible to adequately describe their typical antics.
There's this senior guy who is not technically in my Thursday night class but has requested to attend it anyway to improve his English. This isn't an out-of-the-ordinary request by any means. But this particular guy is one of the smoothest speakers I've ever known (and I'm not talking about his English ability). For instance, one evening I was sitting outside one of the teaching buildings reading, and Derek and this particular guy whose English name is Crystal came out of the building. Derek had just finished teaching and was hungry so the three of us and this other guy who I had been talking to decided to go to Happy Guy's. As we were walking, Crystal and I were catching up: we hadn't seen each other in a few weeks. Crystal told me he was good at reading people based on first time impressions. I asked him what his impression was of me (since that's what he was getting at), and he merely said, "Wonderful", with an adorable smile. Later when we were at Happy Guy's, I poured everyone a glass of hot water, and Crystal said, "Water poured by a woman must be sweet." He's a self-proclaimed spoiled city boy from Beijing, but I think Derek and Brian could learn a few things from him!