A Pocketful of Music..
Trip Start Aug 05, 2011
101Trip End Oct 08, 2012
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I have merely scratched the surface about this city my friends, or at least about living in the Zhejaing Province of China, and I have much more to convey about the subject of what it's like for a westerner to live in China. Yes, reading this drivel can be a lesson against verbosity.
I see many more things on a daily basis that don't stick long enough for me to include
Today the heavens let the water pour from the sky my friends
I do love the rain, and even driving in the rain, but there is a problem with soaking feet. My "Nike Free" shoes, are not anything like leather shoes or galoshes which would make more since in the city/rain environment. I come from Texas, where the rain only happens once a year, but when it does, just dont go out in it, or wear your cowboy boots. Nike Free's get wet just by riding in the humidity. Sadly enough my wet nike's are what I must wear.. I have many pairs and types of boots at home in storage... I will try to locate a rubber weaver to make me some overshoes (galoshes to everyone younger than 50 who didnt live in the north east).
Sat out on the porch much of the night, just listening to the cool rain fall with some Leonard Cohen music playing from my phone and reading a book from an Ipad clone. Sadly enough, I am dependent on a few electronics. All music plays from a two hundred dollar device (I have the cheap blackberry) and can also take pictures, make phone calls, send messages, and even surf the net if I need to
Of course All devices can also be replaced with a pen, paper, human memory, and guitar if needed. I'm still a big fan of the chalk board and use one 4 days a week. I wouldn't touch a white marker board if you paid me! Chalk is the stuff of Lincoln, Einstien, and Yours Truly. Incidentally, my Chinese classrooms often have both types of boards but most Chinese prefer the old school technology of the chalkie, which has been used for centuries.
Nearly half way through the semester so I started figuring out grades this week. I had the students write 6 sentences from a topic, split the kids up into groups of 3, they would write six sentences (3 for and 3 against) the topic which was abortion. As usual they had many insightful replies. I just wanted to hear each student speak a couple sentences so I can figure out a pronunciation grade. I plan to do this again next week just to make sure of accuracy, then either add or subtract participation points. My first class of non-English majors are pretty low in the oral English department. Most of my troublemakers are in this class and I plan to fail three of them at Midterm unless they start doing something. As in most colleges half the freshmen should not be in college at all, but the Chinese system generally keeps them around for tuition fees, we are discouraged from failing anyone, but I plan to fail these three
Money matters: I tend to blow money whenever I want and have the nasty habits of tobacco, coffee and wine drinking which are not cheap. I rarely drink in public here. I got paid 5500 this month and only seem to spend 1000 RMB per week. I should be able to save 1000 rmb per month ( which is only about $150) but this is without even trying. I know I can double that; since I finally bought all my housewares, spices, cooking utensils, bathroom, utensils, shelves, hangers, plants, fish, ect... Now that I am able to live on a 1000 rmb budget, I plan to cut it to 800 next week and actually think about saving. Unlike many expats, I eat cheaply
More personal stuff: My weight is now 295 or 25 pounds less than when I got here 3 months ago! One of my pairs of long pants that barely fit (so I didn't wear them) is back to normal now. So now I have two pairs of pants I can teach in. My foot and ankle problem has nearly disappeared and I can fit into my "Madden" dress boots now which is a relief since my Nike's have seen better days. This diet and running up and down 20 flights of stairs per day, is very good for Yours Truly. My work week ends today and I plan to head for a foot massage. The foot massages have really helped my foot pain and swelling, but you have to go once a week until your feet are cured. My feet were numb at the bottom from lost circulation which is scary, but this has improved. No more getting sick from the food. I will stop now with the personal stuff. I should have soon new China experiences to convey soon. Sunday I'll be taking a larger group of Chinese students across the river and over to the temple and that's always worth some news and pictures! I enjoy their company on outings like this.
Tonight is another rain event which is beautiful. Unlike Wednesday this is a warm rain from the South China sea. We are near the East China sea which has about the same weather as South Carolina. Although we get a little snow each year, many species of palm trees to grow here. This is my ideal climate. Tropical enough for a few palms and banana's but too cold for orange trees. I like it to freeze every year. Kills off more insects. But the winter here is more like London with it's constant fog and chill. It's already November the 4th and it's still t-shirt weather. The rain still is a constant. Today I rode to my favorite dumpling place in the rain with just a thin dress shirt on. Just a little drizzle at the time. Now I'm wanted to go to the foot place but the drizzle is a constant light rain and I don't like to mix my Electric Bike with the idea of Water. So far the water hasn't been an issue, but once a little water hits those electronics??????????? The Bike will be unoperational. Plus, I am enjoying the rain too much on my porch than to go gallabanting (is this a word?) around town looking for a foot massage.
I would much rather sit on the porch and listen to the great Jazz singer: Cab Calloway tonite. I like ole Cab "Minnie the Moocher", because of his graphic humor. Cab knew about the times and always managed to point out the hypocrisies that he noticed...Alot. The man was brilliant and came from an upper class family in New York I believe. I love Cab, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Lady Day, Mingus, and sweet Louis Armstrong especially. Sad that most Americans know nothing about the fantastic careers and talents of these Jazz artists. They were the cultural history of the first half of the 20th century. Little that the music companies trowel out now can compare to these folks. Now, it's all about image and "guangxi" (who you know), back then..... it was about who had the most talent.
The rain continues and has almost became the air I breath. Living on the coast is all about various degrees of humidity. This is nearly maximum humidity to where one doesn't really need to drink water anymore. The next degree will involve gills, but I haven't grown those yet. I would love to have them though. So I will continue to sit on my porch and examine my new fern plant who has been in a state of ecstasy due to this weather. I "who has lived in the Utah desert climate for 4 years" is also in a similar state and has become a brother to the fern. With a pocket full of music from my blackberry and a bottle of decent Chinese wine. I will spend the next few hours watching the soft rain as it washes my city clean of the dust and the noise.