Sunday, November 26, 2006

I shouldn't be surprised

Check out this blog for some great information on how the Chinese are learning English. If I can find a set of these children's blocks, I will buy a set (maybe multiple sets). Even with some of the bad Chinglish here, I think some of my students could learn something... maybe they'd at least be able to recognize a couple words here and there.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

My spirits were lifted a little this morning. I received an e-mail accepting some poetry for publication. It doesn't pay, but it's still a credit to my work. So, look out for Ink Collective issue #4 sometime in mid-December. I can honestly say that it's not one of my favorite poems, but at least I know that someone likes it.
As for yesterday, I sort of went on a hike with the Professor and my girlfriend and her mom. We kept walking around, looking for Nanhua Shan (North Flower Mountain). It's a nice place, but we got there too late in the day and it was far too humid. We made it halfway up before turning back down the steep steps. We were tired from walking around for more than a half-hour before finding the trail. We found a nice development in Shekou that was surrounded by forest. We tried hiking through that as we thought it was the mountain. The first set of stairs led us to a locked gate. The second led us to a notice to beware of vipers.
Friday was a fun time in Guangzhou. I went to the Guangdong Tourism Festival opening ceremony for the second year in a row. Jackie Chan sang again this year. The show wasn't as good as last year (not as many dragons and crazy acrobats this year). On the way to Guangzhou, we had to leave the school after third period classes to catch the van for the stadium to take the bus. We got there an hour before we were supposed to. Then the bus sat around for another hour or so before getting on the road. On the ride back, we sat in the bus too long again late at night. We asked to be dropped off in Bao'an to save us two hours travel time (one hour to Futian and another back). So, they dropped us off on the highway. We had to walk through the toll gate to meet the school van to drive us home at about 1:30 am. But at least I got out of Shenzhen for a few hours of enjoyment.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

another year

Another birthday has passed...
Saturday I celebrated early. We went out to Shekou for lunch at Amigos tex-mex restaurant. It was really good, but a bit pricey even for Shekou. We walked around for a little while and I broke down and bought cheese at the American store because commie-mart no longer carries blocks of cheese for some reason. That night, a group of us went to Face Alive down Qianjin Lu. It's still a nice place to go. We were treated to the surprise appearance of the big Jamaican guy and his band (and they opened with La Bamba). I was thoroughly amused and quite drunk. For some strange reason we ordered three buckets of 12 beers and there were only three of us drinking beer. I left sometime after 2:30. As far as I know, I didn't make a complete ass of myself. There were some great stories afterward about my friends who left later to go for massages (I won't retell it because it's not my story).
The highlight of the night was watching the videos on the projection TV. The DJ was playing completely different music than what was being shown. But the videos were the funniest things I've ever seen. The best was the one with the hot girl singing in sexy underwear while laying on her back. There were also parachuting babies dropping down on her. One of the babys' eyes turn into milk bottles as he looks at the hot girl. I wish I knew what song it was so that I could direct everyone to go see this video. I will forever be on a quest to find it.
On another note, work still sucks and I want a new job. Anyone want to offer me something related to writing and editing? I just don't want to teach anymore because the system here is broken. We had a meeting about it. One of the teachers was pretty quiet. Afterward we went to dinner and he said he couldn't say anything specific because everything was wrong and he knew nothing would be done to change it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I have a lot to write about lately.
First, I spent the weekend in Hong Kong with my uncle. It was a nice, relaxing time for me to get out of Shenzhen and stay in luxury for a couple days. For some reason, there were more tourists than usual in Hong Kong--the Star Ferry was packed Saturday. We could barely get a seat on the ferry on the way to Central. And these tourists must have been some country hicks or something. They were taking the dumbest photos I've ever seen.
"Hey, take a picture of me standing in front of this English advertisement that I don't understand." "Oh, I want one with the 'No Smoking' sign."
It really was that stupid. I almost shoved a few out of the way so that I could move. Note to tourists: please refrain from taking photos in overly crowded areas that people need to use. If you must do so, please hurry the hell up!
I also finished my book "Anil's Ghost" by Michael Ondaatje on the ride home. It is a terrific book about civil war in Sri Lanka. It follows the lives of a few characters who are loosely connected and are brought together by their jobs associated with the conflict. It depicts the atrocities that were committed (and what is probably happening again now). I was thinking of writing more, but I'm not that ambitious today. My recommendation is: READ IT!

Monday, November 06, 2006

I should've stayed in HK

I took a short trip this weekend to Hong Kong. It was a fun time and it's always nice to get out of Bao'an district. But I shoudn't have come back. This is getting ridiculous. I really do hate my job. Where the hell is the communication that is supposed to happen in Tsinghua Experimental School in Shenzhen?

I'm talking about why they haven't informed me of anything. Last month we had a week of vacation. They neglected to inform me that I should be back in the office on Sunday following the vacation for classes. I was informed by another foreign teacher after the vacation had started. That was strike one.

Today, I was informed at 10 am (the time I arrive for my first class on Mondays) that I should put together an exam for my grade 10/11 class for either today or tomorrow. Well, considering their class was in an hour, I said I'd do it tomorrow. Then at lunch, I received a phone call explaining that I should create another listening/oral exam for my years 5/6, 7/8, and 9 by the end of today to be included in their midterm exams for later in the week. These exams that I should create should be worth 30% of the grade and take about 30 minutes. How the hell am I supposed to put together three more exams by 3:20 this afternoon (when I have my last few classes of the day)?

Why do I tolerate this? I insist on being told important information at least a week in advance. Is that asking too much?