Man-Shoes McGee

Trip Start Aug 21, 2011
Trip End Aug 21, 2012

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Flag of China  , Liaoning,
Monday, November 14, 2011

I believe last time I left you, I was on my couch crying about dying alone. I'm better, I'm glad to say. Here's a recap of the past six weeks or so:

1.  Honestly, I have just been working working working. I've been a bit embarrassed to write because I am not doing all that exciting of things. I did make vacation plans to go to Vietnam for a month and up to Harbin for Chinese New Year at the Ice Festival. There should be some exciting stuff going on there.

2. Got my hair cut. Now, my hair really is not a complicated cut and I am pretty low key about styling it - I am usually just in a ponytail. Max, the "english speaking" hairdresser wasn't there.  When they led me to the chair, little did I know they were hooking me up with a stylist trained at the Edward Scissorhands School of Beauty. Hair was flying all over the place. When I finally looked in the mirror, I had an anime cut - all weird angles all mismatched. My first thought was - I honestly cannot go around looking like this. I had another guy cut it straight across. So I lost about 8 inches of hair but I am the wiser for it.

3. I cannot find women's shoes in my size - sneakers only. I went to three different malls. My shoe size is 41.5 and they only go up to 40 max (usually 39). People were like well you can just squish into a 40 and my response is I am too old for that shit. I hate to say it, but practicality comes before looks (*sigh*). I only have summer shoes here and it is starting to get chilly so I ended up at a men's shoe store and bought the girliest pair I could find. I look like a Korean metrosexual. I have about 3 inches of extra shoe in the point and end up opening and closing doors on them. During the suicidal act of crossing streets, I am convinced the point is going to get run over because I forget I have the room there and mis-gauge the distance between me and the cars. Kyle calls me Man-Shoes McGee.

4. Despite my best efforts, The Shitter lives. I leave him for 3 days every weekend without food. Last night I came home from the weekend in the city, sat quietly at the computer for a while and he started splashing to make noise to be fed. Seriously. I think he might be evil.

5. I joined a hoity toity yoga joint for a ridiculous amount of money and had my first class last night with Karma (yup, Karma). It was FABULOUS. I have been a bit ill - my biorhythms are off, hormones, tired, blah blah. Also, I am making an exorbitant amount of money that I can't send back to the US - I have to spend it here. I decided I needed to really focus on trying to get my chi back on track so I joined this club. I'll let you know.

6. I have had to reteach myself to write. I am an all-capitals printer. I found out pretty early on that writing in small caps confuses the students, so I have trained myself to print in small letters after 35 years of going it the other way. Weird.

7. Made a Boston connection FINALLY!  There is a bar called Friends near my weekend workplace. I dragged myself there Friday night because I hadn't been "out" in like 3 weeks. It was 9:30 when I left and I was like - I'll just stay for 20 minutes and come home. Well, I sat at the bar, found out the owner is from Hyde Park. His brother showed up who was damned fun (they are both a few years older than me). The owner put on I'm a Believer by the Monkees and it was all over. I was there until 3 am singing to 70s music. My "Z" power ring I bought in Thailand actually exploded while I was playing the drums on the bar during Satisfaction. Alas. I had a hell of a time. I really needed it.

8. Started Chinese lessons and honestly, I am at the phonics level. I am contracting a tutor for one hour a week to help me with my progress. It's going to be slow but once I get the sounds down I think I will be ok.

9. I have "divorced" myself from the other teachers here at the university. I go to the gym sometimes with the two young'uns but David my peer I see once every two weeks maybe. I actually felt much better once I made the decision that these guys were not my people and I needed to look elsewhere for social stimulation.

10. Classes are going well. My students love me - we have a lot of laughs. My favorite class, on Fridays, even invited me to their once a semester celebration.  They rent an apartment off campus, make food and play mah jong, etc. So I went at 10 am and we made dumplings, ate hot pot, sang karaoke, played darts, etc. It was great. There are pics attached of them. This past Friday, I played them "Your Song" by EJ as a listening exercise and we all cried - even the boys. I was like "I am going to request that I get this class next semester so we can listen to love songs and cry." We all laughed. They are great kids.  The evil Weds class I also divorced myself from. I split them into groups and they do presentations every week which I evaluate them on. When the presentations are over we play games or listen to music. I am not spending a second more of my energy trying to force feed them. It's a shame, but they are happier and so am I.

11. Went on a date with a British guy I met. It was ok - nothing exciting to report. I am a rare commodity here - a SWF - so I think I will do ok. At some point I need to get up enough energy to go to a Russian club. I think I might score big there....

12.  The construction across the street is humming along - they work from like 5am to midnight - I am assuming to get this thing built before the ground freezes. It has essentially become white noise to me. I think I might miss it - its very quiet here and in Newton I got used to a lot of noise.

13. My weekend gig is going well. Nicole, the owner, couldn't be more fabulous. She pays me on time with a smile (believe me, this is not typical here in China). She has me working a LOT of hours so I go Friday through Sunday now. She even has me teaching a phonics class to little ones. It's exhausting - absolutely exhausting. It's 1-1/2 hours long and I need a nap after every class. I have two Korean boys and two Chinese girls. They are adorable and really good kids, very, very smart, but I am an old dog and it's hard for me to learn new tricks.  I have a class of 12 y.o. boys one of whom - Daniel - I have fallen in love with. He is a genius and so insightful. I lost my class that had Ryan my 15 year old favorite but Daniel makes up for him. They are all cute but he is special. After the first class, I told him about and wikipedia. The next day, he reported that wikipedia is available in a Korean translation as well as many other languages. Yesterday we played Junior Pictionary - he guessed every word I drew correctly and he was looking at them upside down and I am a TERRIBLE drawer - my pictures look like theirs. I think he is a kindred.

14. One of my freshmen girls told me I looked like Nicole Kidman. It was then that I realized that they must think we all look alike!

Ok - that's it for now. Like I said, things are better just not exciting. I work, I work out, I cook, I sleep, I read, etc. Same as in US I just can't understand anything that is being said. It's getting chilly here but it seems to be more temperate than Boston. I think the weather is more consistent here. The sun going down at 5:30 though is KILLING ME.

Be well all!  rz

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Marylou on

Rach, So good to have your update. Miss you tons! Wishing the man shoes and your beautiful face were in these pictures :)

Diane,Jim, and all the "Reps" on

Love hearing all about your adventures in China....can't wait for your next update and pics! Hugs and kisses from the growing Repucci clan (Steve and LIndsay are expecting in April)

Mike Kornmuller on

Always enjoy your updates. Very interesting. As I read them I think to myself, could I live there and have my world turned upside down.....HELL NO! Ha!
I give you alot of credit for moving to another part of the world. On a lighter note, going to see Vince Neil of Motley Crue Nov 17th. You know you want to go. Ha! Take care!

christine drew on

Hey RZ, miss you & glad to see this update, I was worried so much after last one but knew you'd find direction, around some corner, seems like you did! Enjoy yourself & keep these posts coming.

AC on

Made me laugh.
Today, it shouldn't be that hard finding girly shoes in men's stores, is it?
Nicole Kidman?...interesting. Guess the haircut was worth every penny!!
If you want people to smile, come to Latam.
Thanks for the update, it's good to know you are doing well!!

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