Students say the darndest things

0 visitors Saturday, February 28
"I like history books about humanism. They can teach me to be a great human."

"Many classmates of mine think that I am the most handsome person and I have a better quality than all of my classmates. As for personality, I am a shy and I don't like show off although I have a lot of advantages which are uncountable . . . I like watching beautiful girls like other boys in my class."
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Snow shots

0 visitors Tuesday, February 24
Here are some belated pictures of the track (what the students call the "playground") after it snowed the other day. Noticeably absent are the obscenities that appeared after the first and only time it snowed last winter. These are taken from the building I live in (8th floor), which is also home to the international students (6th & 7th floor). The British A-level program and Junior 1 students are on floors 1-5. This taken from the south side of the field.

I teach all of my senior students (10th grade) in this building on the 3rd floor. It's on the east side of the field.

This shot looks north at the stands and west at the new dormitory building, which rumor reports we'll be moving into in the next month. Rumor has also had it that we'd be living there by September 1, 2008, then it shifted to October, then there was a possibility we'd move in February before the new term started. I am basically hoping that these are further lies and I don't have to move all my stuff down eight floors and then up nine more floors... multiple times until all it's all transferred. I arrived with three suitcases but now it's amazing to see how much stuff Anna and I have accumulated after 18 months!

Something I should do which I haven't yet is take pictures of the rest of our campus. There are four academic buildings, an administrative building, cafeteria/auditorium, pool/art building, library/orchestra hall/art studio, a dormitory, the post office, and teacher housing. There are also badminton, volleyball, basketball, and tennis courts. Someday... I will take pictures or maybe video.
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Wanna race?

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I parked my Giant ATX660 next to a Maserati Quattroporte tonight. We left the Aston Martin at home in favor of biking to Fridays since it was a balmy 3 degrees centigrade. Spring is practically upon us.

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Muslim Chinese at Guantanamo

0 visitors Sunday, February 22
17 Chinese citizens are imprisoned at Guantanamo. They are Uighurs from China's Muslim-majority Xinjiang province. Read about it here:

Sometimes I hear interesting things below my window, even though I'm eight floors up. It's not unusual to be woken up by cats fighting, which sounds eerily close to crying babies. Right now two men are having some kind of competition to see who can yell louder than the other. If I understood more Mandarin I would tell you what they're yelling about.
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Please absquatulate with our penicillan

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It's been a good week back at work. We've had snow, sunny blue skies, amazing meetings with Chinese friends, new baby news, 24 catch-up, and good conversations in the office. I learned a new song by Sovereign Grace that you should check out: Hide Away in the Love of *esus. I also figured out how to circumvent our school's firewall (because apparently the Great Firewall of China isn't good enough for RDFZ - they needed their own) and download songs through iTunes. One of the great things about living in the East is that I get to celebrate my Friday before all of you in the West. One of the worst is that you are still on your weekend while I'm ending mine! But then again, I just had six weeks of vacation in the dead of winter.

I remember when I was a kid and we went on vacation. Someone forgot to take out the trash before we left and there was an unfortunate piece of meat in the kitchen garbage. We came home to a nice swarm of maggots. I always swore I'd never do that, but so far it has happened to me twice. The first time was in college. My aunt and uncle visited me with a birthday cake at school and and my roommate and I forgot to clean the plate. There wasn't enough time to get the platter washed before room checks, so Kim put it in the refrigerator to hide it. Then we left for break. And you can guess the rest.

The second time is more recent. Anna and I backpacked through Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore for five weeks and just got back last week. Right before we left I did a last-minute garbage can/refrigerator check just to make sure we weren't coming home to any surprises. I found a pot of old spaghetti sauce that I had been meaning to dump. We were literally walking out the door and I had my pack on so I put it in the freezer. I can't exactly remember how long it had been in the fridge before I put it in the freezer, but after we got back things were really REALLY hectic (we returned on Thursday and started work again on Monday). I took the pot out of the freezer and left it on the counter to thaw, meaning to clean it ASAP. It was out of sight and got forgotten about and in only two days there were mounds of nasty mold all over the sauce. I'm talking seven different colored molds. Disgusting. The latent homeschooler in me thought it would be cool to watch it grow and Anna sort of agreed that it'd be neat to see when the molds finished their food supply and died. Well that was a bad idea because even with the lid on in the kitchen, you could smell it from the front door. The whole apartment smelled funky. I did everything on my to-do list today, dragging my feet the entire time, before I mustered up the courage to approach the pot on the kitchen counter. When I turned it upside down in the hallway trashcan, the stuff inside - which was mostly reduced to a powder - came out and a mold cloud (I kid you not) went up while I high-tailed it back to our door. Gladly, the stank is now gone from us. It lives in the hallway until our fuwuyuan takes out the garbage tomorrow.

My Mom's probably reading this, shaking her head and remembering the Tupperware that I used to take to work in highschool and regularly forget about in my backpack. I'm a responsible adult. Really.

I decided this week to stay on another year, so Beijing 2010 here I come! There were many factors in that decision, but it was mostly leaving behind the nice bike I acquired this year. Anna and I bought the same bikes, the Giant Something-Something 1.0, when we arrived in August 2007 and Caleb appropriately dubbed them "The Tank" and "The Beast." These are apt titles because I think they weigh like 113 pounds. I was fortunate enough to pwn The Tank off to an unsuspecting newbie in the fall and I like my new bike and I'm excited for Beijing Year Three. :) (The bike didn't really rank high among the decision factors, although I did have thoughts of taking it back to the US with me.)

Soon it will be Monday. Let's live this week doing all for the glory of our Father, not men; otherwise pleasure and work are meaningless.
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The government made it snow

0 visitors Thursday, February 19
Xinhua, the state-run media, says that the snow Beijing has experienced over the past three days is artificially-induced. Beijing is in its worst drought in 38 years and it hasn't had natural precipitation since October 24. Last Thursday's rain was also artificially-induced with silver iodide to help ease the drought.

There's 2" of snow on the ground and it's fun to see the kids running around in it and throwing snowballs. There are big balls of snow on the track where kids attempted snowmen during their lunch period. It doesn't snow very often or with great results in Beijing and as long as I'm not riding my bike I like looking at it out my window. I'm thankful I don't have to shovel it!

Here's a picture of Chinese work groups sweeping the snow with their brooms. I've seen these brooms used for sweeping garbage, leaves, water, and now, snow.

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"My Mom changed my birthday..."

0 visitors Monday, February 16
Today was the first day back in class. I have 125 new students and I always enjoy reading their information on their notecards. From what I understand, it's not uncommon for Chinese people to say that a child turning 1 is actually turning 2, because they can count the 9 months spent in the womb as the child's first year. It's a cultural difference. In the wake of the Chinese gymnastics scandal during the Olympics where there were rampant birth date confusions and falsifications, I thought this student's interesting fact about herself was especially amusing.

In China's education politics, I should study in Junior 3. But my Mom changed my birthday and birth year to August 26, 1993. So in that way, I study in Senior 1 this year. In other words, I am 1 year younger than all other students in my class.
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25 Random Things About Me

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As I was traveling around SE Asia, I was tagged numerous times in Facebook notes called "25 Random Things About Me." The idea is that you write twenty-five personal things in a note, then tag twenty-five people to do the same.

At first, I declined because coming up with twenty-five things about me seemed time consuming and I wasn't sure I could think of anything exciting enough anyway. The more I was tagged, the more I got to thinking about why it's so popular. I think in a way blogging and Facebook allows us to fuel our need for vanity and to be known and unique among our friends. Everyone's out to get the most comments and have the catchiest status message. We want to think up 25 cooler things than our friends have written, maybe.

A quick Google search for "25 random things about me" turned up 630,000 results. The New York Times describes this newest fad as "a chain-letter-cum-literary exercise." Boundless even blogged about it.

Maybe not participating in "25 things" is my own way of standing out. Either way, now you know why I haven't written up my own list even though you may have tagged me to be a part of it. Don't be offended, I just don't want to. My 414 Facebook friends range from "my high school friend's way younger sibling" to "we shared a twin bed because our hotel was so cold." Sharing 25 intimate details with all of these people is downright weird. Want to know more about me? Pick up the phone instead of reading my online profile, which is intentionally designed to not be a substitute for a real friendship. :)
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