Happy New Year!
After spending the first day of 2018 out in nature (and a great way to counteract jet lag!), I resumed classes on Tuesday. For breakfast I had the last couple of scones that my friend J had given me in STL. I had to go to the little store in the afternoon to get some milk for my cereal. It was a bit spooky. Almost all the stores and restaurants were closed up tight. Most of them have those metal shutters that cover the whole façade, so I think that’s what made it seem so stark. Fortunately, Lianhua was open, though they didn’t have any fresh fruit. At least the Canteen was open, so I could get some hot food.
Of course I noticed that our bathrooms had gotten fancy signs. And the closer one had been designated male, even though most the teachers are women (and we had been using the close one, and the guys were using the further one). This reminded me of the fight home last month. One the PEK-LAX leg, I got up to use the toilet and of course there was a line in two directions – one from the front of the plane and one from the back. Everyone took a turn: front, back. Until a Chinese man walked up, and the Chinese woman who was next motioned him to cut the line and go ahead of everyone who had been waiting patiently. It made me so mad! I really had to go and it was a US airline. So seeing the signs on the WCs just seemed to reinforce that mindset.
Wednesday is my longest day and I remember being incredibly tired. I gave in and ate one of the two boxes of macaroni and cheese that I’d brought back.
On Thursday the office sent an invitation to go to the hot spring, followed by dinner at a local hot pot restaurant. This was supposed to have happened while I was gone, but apparently I wasn’t the only person who’d missed it, so they wanted to give the rest of us a chance to go.
Friday morning we received the Final Exam schedule for January 16-19. We have one week to write exams and I’m still wonky from jet lag. Whee
We will also be required to write individual assessments for each of our students. I have about 80 students so this will be a challenge. I’ve learned almost all their names by now, but a few I still get confused who is who.
Friday evening my coworker H drove N and me to Walmart. I was really glad because I was out of food except for cereal! I’ve been too tired from jet lag to walk the mile round trip to the big grocery store. I can only get milk, juice, yogurt, and limited fresh fruit at the tiny grocery behind school. This was our second visit on a Friday night and while there were more people this time, it still was pretty empty.
In addition to food, I found a toaster oven and it was on sale! I also found an extension cord, so now my new little space heater can be moved as needed around the apartment. There is only one plug in each room, so it was difficult to get a space heater near the bathroom to get heat inside before my shower. Now I can put the heater inside and shut the door to make it nice and warm!
After shopping we went to WanDa to eat. We decided to try the Korean restaurant. I’d never tried Korean and figured it was time. We went in and sat down. While looking at the menu, something sped by underneath our table. A cat!! Everyone knows I love cats, and I was really sad because I’d just had to leave my cat again, so I was really happy to be able to pet him.
I rested and relaxed on the weekend. Sunday afternoon H texted and told me my student B, who wants to go to WUSTL to study engineering was on campus and could install my weatherization kit that I’d brought back. After he covered the exhaust fans, H and I went to eat hot pot on Sunday evening. It wasn’t as good as the hot pot at WanDa.
And it’s definitely less drafty now!