Thursday, August 9, 2018

No Vacation Plans

Two things to avoid:  boring people and crowds.  The second thing is making it hard for me to decide what the Kaulins Family China will do for the week off that we will have at the end of August.  Crowds consisting of tourists make many places in China not worth visiting in Summer.  They also result in places that cater to them that I like to call tourist traps that must be avoided.

Now the obvious solution would be to go to places in China that are off the beaten path and thus avoided by the typical Chinese tourist who is a herd animal of the worst kind.  But my wife is Chinese and my son is a member in good standing of the computer-game-stay-at-home generation.  To please my son I would like to go to Beijing and the People's Liberation Army museum.  Tony is keen to do this.  However, my wife grimaces and moans when I mention the idea; and insists that if we do go to Beijing, we should pay a mandatory visit to the Great Wall which I think of as the Great Tourist Trap, especially the portion near Beijing that we would go to if we went to Beijing.

My wife hasn't any alternate suggestions for what we should do....

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Wuxi Humidity. I Hate It.

I was curious to listen to Scott Adams's account of his visit with Donald Trump.  One detail, from his podcast where he talked of the visit, that resonated with me personally was his talking of the humidity of a Washington DC summer.  Adams wore a suit, that he had bought for the occaision, and by the time he arrived in the West Wing of the White House he was soaked, as he said, like he had been in a rain storm.  That is an experience I have all the time in Wuxi.  One time, walking into a shop, soaked with sweat from a long evening walk, I was asked by the proprietors if it had been raining outside.

The genius of the American founding fathers in placing the national capital at a location with such summer humidity was that it prevented the legislators, for at least three months of the year, from doing more damage to the country.  But thanks, or no thanks, to air-conditioning, you can now carry on and think to live and try to do things in a place like Washington DC or Wuxi, China which have high humidity in summer.

You think to, but really you can't.  The humidity is killer.  The thought of doing anything, going anywhere in Wuxi in summer is disheartening.  All there is to do is find a cool place, read a book and drink a nice cold beverage.  Recently, I had a few days off where the rest of the K Family China also had no commitments.  I discovered that I could not think of anything to do that didn't involve sweating or going to an air-conditioned shopping mall.

Monday, July 30, 2018

A Family Can't Have a Vacation this Summer

Before I get into the material of my lessons with students, I will start with some chit-chat about whatever may seem to be topical.  So during the Summer, I will ask the students if they have gone on vacation trips.

One student, an older woman, told me her family would not be able to go on a trip this summer.  I asked her why and she told me that her son had been assigned too much summer homework by his school.  If they went on a trip, he wouldn't get it all done.

I then asked her what grade her son was going to enter in the autumn.  The parent told me grade five!  Hearing this filled me with rage.  My son Tony is going into the fifth grade as well.  I want my son to be a normal human being, not a constantly-schooled cypher that this culture is producing.

Only problem is that my only other option is the Canadian public school system which is all wrong for the opposite reasons.  The school days in Canada are excessively short.  The subject matter taught is not at all substantial and stupidly faddish.  And there is the problem of kids getting into drugs.

So, I see myself stuck in a sort of Latvian World War Two dilemna.  Nazism or Communism?  Facism or Cult-Marxism?  Chinese or Western school systems?

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Wuxi, China: View of the Yanqiao M├ętro Station from the 617 Bus





I was on the way to work as I took this video.  The bus route I was on passes this subway station.  I learned quite by accident that if I took this bus past the Yanqiao station I could get off right at the stairs to the next subway station.  Till then, I had been walking 200 meters from a stop this section of the route to get to the area shown in this video.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Chinese Students and the Use of "Too"

"I want to have too much money!" is a sentence the students will often say to me.  And so I have constantly had to correct the students on their use of the word "too."

Recently, I choose to talk about Germany in one of my speaker's corners.  During the class, a student said this about the Germans:  "they killed too many Jews."  I had to quickly admonish her and tease her for having saying that.  "Do you mean to say that was a proper amount of Jews the Germans should have killed?"