I'm making a lesson plan for a class that I'll be teaching every Tuesday and Thursday night. My first class was a bust because the students are at woefully mixed levels, although this should be resolved by today's class. I'm using a book called "New Interchange" which is one of the better English books on the market, with no Chinese at all and plenty of cultural references.

Working late means leaving late on an inhumanly packed train. There are heads and arms everywhere, with 16 year old Beijing security officers basically shoehorning in work-weary passengers. Chinese work incredible hours sometimes, basically all day every day except for Saturday. There was a famous story here of a boss who attached GPS systems to every employer, I believe on their cellphones, so they could be tracked and assigned to some task at any time. All this leads to a sense of desperation in the average cubicle worker, although I couldn't imagine the true desperation of those below us. News here isn't terse on the subject, so most Chinese are aware of these inadequacies but are either too busy, unfulfilled or poor themselves to care. This leads to a cycle of apathy that is far more real and far-reaching then our American, tousled hair, uniformed, MTV 2, electronic distraction version.

In an awkward transition, today I learned the word 海象 (hai3 xiang1) which is walrus. It translates directly as "sea elephant," which I think is adorable.

Also, I want to give photo credit to Chad and Cat for nearly all of the pictures below. I really never photograph anymore, which is a shame.(Thanks for comin' and takin' pictures!)


about us said...

this post made me a little anxious, except, i guess, for the sea cow bit.

(i was probably anxious before, i know): another interview today...to teach social sciences at a middle school; i'm going dressed in jeans and flip-flops. i thinkimay not want this job OR i know i'm not going to get it and am aiming low. you know me, never aim too, too high.

sorry for being a dodo, i've been hating a lot since middle aged assholes wont hire me to do something full time!

lets talk soon...not too soon though...grrrr....kisses,


granny T said...

Isabel---Oh No! I would hire you! don't give up! I happen to be middle age..er... so I know not ALL of us are a--holes!
We will talk soon!
All the best!
granny T
PS All you middle aged imbeciles...Wise up!

Chad said...

Can't believe you can compare qualities of apathy. Is that possible? Americans are pretty good at it, by the by. A trip back to MIA will prove it to you right quick.

ross said...

I'm sure you can compare levels of apathy, and maybe I'm underestimating Americans. It's just different here.

You'll get work, for sure. You're awesome and a great teacher.

Love you.