Classes start on Monday. Luckily, my schedule affords me an extra day. I’ll be teaching on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 hours in total. This means I intend to only do two hours of extra work for the department. I’ve already loaded up on advice from John about how to go about saying no in the politically Chinese correct way. On that note, I should add what the department has thrown at me this term: academic writing. To be more specific, I’m teaching expository writing to undergrads and writing skills for translators to grad students. Any and all advice, help, etc. will be greatly appreciated. In addition, I’ll be going to Green Molly once a week, continuing to tutor my TOEFL student, and edit for Xianease, the local expat magazine.
My summer vacation of bumming around comes to an imminent end. I’m bummed (oops!) about this change to my regularly scheduled programming. I liked all the bike rides 张健 and I took, baking, hanging out at Parkqin, and the overall sense of having few cares to abide by (clearly, not the case!). That being said, I am welcoming reality with open arms as that means I’ll be able to have a proper schedule. I know how I operate: I need to be busy, not crazy busy, in order to kick my butt into productive gear. I’m ready to take on the next few months of whatever I need to accomplish, work or non-work related.
张健 and I rearranged the apartment’s furniture. I realize how mundane this sounds, and I have no idea if we have abided by the principles of 风水 feng shui. Regardless, I’ve moved my desk into the bedroom, complete with an inspiration board (wall is more like it). The layout more closely resembles the layout of my room at home, so I’m already finding it easier in the productivity department. Additionally, the kitchen now functions as a kitchen slash dining room. Speaking of the kitchen, for the last month or so, I’ve enjoyed the delightful pitter-patter of dripping water from the ceiling above my cupboards. Yes, I have asked Rao Ying, the woman in charge of anything apartment-related from the Foreign Affairs Office, three times to send someone. Today, for instance, she told me someone would be here right away. Surprisingly, four hours have passed and still not a sign, a knock, or a ring from, as she calls him, the “fix-it boy.” I always thought the third time’s the charm.
I have a new part-time editing job. I did not intend for that to sound immensely better than it is. I am a rater for an online essay correction service. Chinese students submit TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, SAT practice essays for correction from a native speaker. It certainly has its pros as well as cons.
Xi’an has its own version of a 798 art district. If you have ever visited Beijing, you will have heard of the 798 art district. It essentially started as an art collective and now has gained traction as a tourist attraction, much like the fate of most tourist destinations in China. 张健’s coworker informed him that Xi’an has its own art district, albeit much less developed and quaint. We made the unfortunate error of bicycling there; the trip took nearly an hour. When we finally arrived, we couldn’t see much because it was well into the evening. Regardless, I liked the quaintness, what art or graffiti we could see, the bar we stopped at and the musicians performing at said bar. It’s definitely worth a second day-time trip, even if that means cramming onto a bus or two in order to do so.
New teachers and returning teachers have arrived. I met the new Humboldt teacher the other day and offered my assistance. She gladly took it so the following day I ended up escorting her to China Mobile and the bank. Waiting is a big part of getting anything done in China, thus we had a lot of time to get to know each other, and although there is a significant age difference, we had several surprising things in common. I also met the new Fulbright Scholar in passing when I returned from fruit shopping with Sara. Sara and Sandro returned some time last week, but we haven’t seen much of each other. As I plan to return to the gym, I’ll have a chance to catch up with them on a more regular basis.