Monday, November 06, 2006


Every Friday night one of us foreign teachers has to give a two hour lecture to a hundred or so students on any topic of our choosing. Last Friday I gave my first lecture on "Roadtripping and Route 66". I spent all day Friday putting together a PowerPoint presentation. I love doing PowerPoints, but they're so time consuming. I only lectured for about an hour and a half and then opened it up for questions. It seemed to go pretty well, and it certainly made me nostalgic for American traveling. I guess my yearly roadtrips will be by train and bus now that I'm in China...


Saturday I didn't have to tutor in the morning, and I didn't have anyone spend the night with me Friday night so I actually got to sleep in for the first Saturday since I've been here. I really didn't do much at all Saturday. I didn't feel well so I slept quite a bit. In the afternoon, the boys, Yvonne (the new German teacher whose been hanging out with us a lot), and I went outside just to be outside (it was really sunny and warm). Brian brought out all his sports stuff - baseball gloves, bat, ball; frisbee; football; badminton stuff - to make available many different sporting options, but we only threw the baseball or football around just outside our apartment building. Derek had bought a couple cap guns that shoot fire when they pop and two other guns that literally shoot firecrackers from them. The latter two guns are really unpredictable. The first night he had one of the firework guns, we were on my balcony shooting it. The first several shots just went straight down and made small explosions. But then he shot one that blasted hard out of the barrel and hit the window of one of the apartments in the building next to us. Brian, Derek and I all hit the floor of my balcony to avoid being seen, but it didn't do any damage. Since then Derek frequently goes to the Korean market (where he found the guns) to buy more. So Saturday while the rest of us were throwing around the football or frisbee or whatever, Derek was shooting off his firework gun. He thought it would be a good idea for him to shoot the gun and for Brian to try to hit the fireworks that come out of the gun with the baseball bat. Brian was like, "No way!" but Derek wouldn't let it go. So, finally, I told Derek to let Brian shoot the gun and he could try his turn at bat. He agreed and thereby confirmed that boys are stupid! Anyway, Brian had a few practice pitches (shots), and then Derek stepped up to the plate. He struck out several times, Brian balked several times (the gun doesn't always shoot when the trigger pulls), and once Brian almost beaned Derek (in other words, the firework was heading straight for Derek's head so he had to hit the ground hard!). It was crazy.

I'm pretty sure Derek won't rest until someone has lost an eye or a hand with these guns. A couple nights ago we were on the balcony again shooting the guns. Derek and Brian were trying to shoot Yvonne as she left for class. Anyway, Derek's gun kept backfiring. Usually, the backfire wasn't bad, but on this particular shot, the gun exploded. Bits of fire were coming off the gun as he threw it from his hand. The fire ball of a gun grazed past me (the direction in which he threw it!) and landed on the balcony floor. It didn't burn long, but it melted the gun so badly that it wouldn't fit back together correctly. Derek kept trying to cram it together, but it was too melted. Finally, he forced it together and, despite my strong urgings not to try to use it again, he fired another shot which again exploded at which point he dropped the gun off the balcony into a fenced in area at the bottom of our building. It's like I'm reliving my childhood with insane brothers!

Sunday morning early I played basketball with Eileen - a friend of Brad's that goes to my school. We have met a couple times before, but we've never really hung out. She struggles with her English, but she's really sweet. She brought a couple guy friends so we played two on two for awhile. It was fun...just really early for a Sunday morning!

We had a big group for lunch later that day. We all ate at Happy Guy's, of course, and had to have two rooms. After lunch a few of us came back to sing, and Yvonne joined us. We then decided to play badminton for awhile. I pretty well stunk it up, but it was still fun.

Teacher Li, an older woman, wanted to cook dinner for us Sunday night so she and Dacy came over to my apartment around 6-ish to begin. Alice skipped her Sunday night class to hang out with us. We taught her the word "Senioritis" so she would know the word for the problem she has (she keeps skipping classes!). Teacher Li's husband came too. Neither of them speak English, but Dacy and Alice translated for us. The food was so good. It's amazing what they can do with vegetables.

After supper the boys and Dacy saw Teacher Li home (apparently she lives in a bad neighborhood) while I watched little Jessie, Dacy's roommate's puppy. Even though the puppy belongs to Dacy's roommate, Dacy is the one who really takes care of it. The dogs here in China are really ugly. They look like ugly Ewoks. Their mouths are so big they could eat their own tiny little bodies, but Jessie is cute right now. I'm sure he'll grow up to be as ugly as the rest of them.

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