Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday, October 14th

Today was, I think, a rather typical day. I'm typing this from the Language Center- my work responsibilities here are to prepare lesson plans for the upcoming classes, and they're all prepared. Consequently, work is s-l-o-w right now. It'll speed up tomorrow, when I have more classes to teach.
Our working hours are structured so that our 37.5 working hours are spread over six days, with the idea that even though the work-week will be longer, the individual days will be shorter. I'm not sure that it's playing out precisely in that way, but that's the theory.
Shannon had a class this morning at a Guang Chang Primary school, so she had to be out the door at 8:35. We got up a bit earlier this morning, so we were able to have coffee/tea together and have devotions before she left.
My plan for the morning was to go grocery shopping and fix lunch- this is not unusual, as Shannon has more mornings working than I do. We haven't quite figured out what groceries to buy in advance yet, so we frequently end up going grocery shopping for one meal at a time. Fortunately, the grocery store is only about a two-minute walk from the entrance of our building.
Jessica came up to fix breakfast, so before I went out she and Jeremiah and I were able to have breakfast together. It's really nice that we're all very close to each other- even after we're all in our own apartments, it's easy to see each other.
The grocery store is one block immediately to the east of us- it has everything we need on an ongoing basis- with the exception of popcorn, cheese, butter, ice cream, and most spices. When we eat "chinese food," we buy eggs, cup noodles (ramen in a cup), onions, green peppers, garlic, and sometimes ginger and mushrooms. Rice is cheap enough to keep a big bag on hand, as is soy sauce and frying oil. Eggs are cheap protien- about 6 RMB for a dozen. Chicken is inexpensive, about 20 RMB for a kilogram, and beef is a bit high, at 48 RMB per kilo. Most non-prepacked grocery store things (fruits, vegetables, etc.) are priced and sold by the half-kilo, so customers bag up however much they want, then get it weighed, priced, and stickered.
I was trying to make sweetish/sourish Chicken Cashew stirfry over rice for lunch, so I needed to buy chicken, red pepper, green pepper, cashews, and lemon juice. To this would be added onion, garlic, ginger, and sugar, which we already had. For the sake of posterity, the chicken was 5.1, the cashews were 10.3, one lemon was 4.2, a jar a pickeled red pepper was 4.2, and the green pepper was approx. 1. Onions, garlic and ginger are all very cheap- probably about 1 for the onion, and .1 for the garlic, and .0-something for the ginger. The topping probably cost about 22 RMB altogether, with maybe 3 RMB for the rice. It served the four of us one serving each, so it would be a good sized meal for three.
Shannon got back fromschool at noon, and the four of us had lunch together at 12:45.
Jeremiah, Jessica and I started work at 2:00 this afternoon (our normal work time). Shannon's schedule is a bit more fragmented than ours, so she didn't have to be at the language center until 3:00. She didn't miss much today- there was a meeting for the Chinese TA's that Jessica attended, and a meeting for the Foreign Teachers that the rest of us attended.

(Back at home now, Wednesday morning)

Work was slow. I had two 40-minute classes at the Primary School last night, at 6:20 and 7:20, and the lesson consists of assigning English names to each of the students and giving them a Cambridge curriculum book. It takes a lot longer then you'd think, so with 18-23 students per class, we really have to be moving quickly to get to everybody in the time we have.

I took dinner break 15 minutes early, from 4:45 to 5:45, then left for the school at 5:50. The school is about one kilometer from the office, so we usually use a taxi/tricycle to get there, and walk back.

Class went as planned. The students are from 1st grade, class 3. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that the standard class size in China public schools is 45- the classes tonight were for one class, split in two segments for manageability. The split was VERY necessary. The students are young, are apparently used to getting their own way, have a short attention span, and don't understand enough English to stay focused on any particular bit of English instruction. Consequently, they make a lot of noise and don't sit still.

My TA and I got back to the language center at 8:20, and I was on my way home at 8:25.

We had a short evening at home, and went to bed sometime in the vicinity of 10:00.


RELStuart said...

Glad to see you posting about your day like this. Kind of gives the everyday feeling of what it must be like to be there.

I have a couple friends talking about going to the g-show in Tulsa. Man we had a great time there! Good memories. Missing you guys still!

Dad H said...


Ditto. I like hearing details about what a typical day is like. What I was not able to figure out was how much that lunch for 4 cost in dollars. Have you figured that out yet?