Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Andis Kaulins in China Diary for December 30, 2013 to January 5, 2014

Monday [December 30]
[Home Laptop]
  • Today, I am at home reading.
  • Tony came home and wanted to play on my Ipad Mini. This want of his was in direct conflict with my desire to keep reading. Jenny broke the stalemate by giving Tony her Ipad.
  • I did go out for a e-bike ride and I took a photo of the end of the number one Wuxi Metro line. You can see the photo at AKIC wordpress.
  • I have downloaded some great books from 2013. I came upon some best books of 2013 articles on the Internet and then went to to kick ass torrents.

Tuesday [December 31]
[Home Laptop]
  • Last day of the year. The western year, that is.
  • No plans for New Year's Eve. Jenny, being a Chinese mainlander, doesn't celebrate it. The idea of going out on that night never enters her mind. I have fallen into that habit.
  • Tonight, I will work till 9:00 PM. I will take the bus home, probably arriving about 10:10 PM. I will spend the rest of the night on the Ipad, if Tony lets me.
  • Yesterday, I read about the Papineau Rebellion of 1837 and Lee Harvey Oswald being a wife-beater.
  • I read to Tony from a storybook that I had loaded on my Ipad. He seemed to very much appreciate it. Five minutes later, he was asleep.

[School Laptop]
  • Coming to school, I felt uncomfortable because I was overdressed. I had to take off my toque, scarf, and open my parka.
  • Jenny went downtown to get her “visa” to go to Hong Kong. She brought along my and Tony's passports but forgot to bring her own. When she realized and then phoned me, she was lucky that I had only just left the apartment.
  • Contemplating my dull New Year's Eve made me a little depressed and resentful for a bit. For five minutes I let the bad feelings eat me up until I realized that I hadn't prayed and then recalled Pope Benedict's words about living for others. I stay home tonight for Jenny & Tony.
  • Perhaps, it will be a good evening to set up the train set for Tony.
  • Tony gets three days off starting on the 1st. Sounded good until I realized that means that Tony will go to school on Saturday and Sunday.
  • I just had to write a personal introduction about myself for the school. I was stumped what to say for it because I have lead a very uneventful unremarkable life with few experiences that anyone else would find interesting and differentiate me from other ESL teachers.

Wednesday [January 1, 2014]
[Home Laptop]
  • At midnight, I was sitting in bed and reading the LHO biography section of Vincent Bugliosi's JFK assassination book. Tony & Jenny lay beside me. There was no festive moment to mark the change of the years.
  • Jenny was in a sombre mood anyway. Ten hours earlier, there had an argument between Jenny and one of Tony's teachers. Tony had a scar under his eye for some reason and Jenny had not been pleased with one particular teacher's reaction to it. Jenny went to the school principal to complain. The teacher was not doing a good job of looking after Tony, said Jenny. The principal told Jenny to not worry and that Tony would be protected.
  • The biography of LHO was engrossing. I read it until I finished it at 1:40 AM.
  • I hadn't been aware that Oswald was a wife-beater. He had this cruel insistence that his Russian wife not learn English as well.
  • Oswald's decision to kill JFK fits in with the rest of his biography. Oswald wanted to be important. He latched onto to Marxism as a way of doing it. In the months before the assassination, he acted upon a bunch of hair-brained scheme related to his Marxism. He distributed leaflets in New Orleans supporting Castro. He went to Mexico City in hopes of getting a Visa to Cuba. He attempted to murder General Walker. When Oswald learned that the JFK motorcade was to pass by his place of employment, it couldn't have taken him long to decide to assassinate the president. It was his chance to make a splash.
  • [Later] After the earlier diary entry, I published two Expat of the Year articles. I then took Tony to Wanda where we went to KFC and the Arcade so Tony could play the Truck game. Jenny came to met us and we had supper at an unpretentious restaurant which I wouldn't take a foreigner to.
  • Back home, I published another expat of the year article as well as some photos about the Year of the Firearm in Wuxi – my whacked idea for my Wuxi China Expatdom site.
  • Despite having enough Apple products, we still like to waste time at the Wanda Plaza Apple store playing on the Ipads and Computers. I find an app, that is not free alas, that was very interesting, called Hair Salon 2 which allows you to be a hair-dresser. You can cut, shave, color, and re-grow a client's hair to your heart's content. Playing with it, I initially tried to make the clients look as preposterous as possible. I then wanted to make the male client look like Hitler but the app had the man's mustache part under his nose – an un-parted mustache could not be grown under it. I suppose this was on purpose.

Thursday [January 2]
[School Laptop]
  • I work today. 10:00 to 21:00.
  • Tony doesn't go to school today. He was still asleep when I phoned Jenny at 11:00 this morning.
  • This morning, I felt out-of-sorts as I went through my morning routine. I did fall asleep till late. [Jenny & I made love at 1:30 or so.] I got out of bed at 6:45 and I didn't have time to relax before it was time for me to leave the apartment and catch the bus to school.
  • I am not wearing long underwear today. The temperature is supposed to get up to 15 degrees Celsius this afternoon.
  • I had a 10:00 o'clock class with three lads who happen to attend a High School in the Hui Shan area – that be Jiangsu Xishan High School. The lads don't live in the Hui Shan area. While they are at the school, they stay in dorms but they never leave the campus. They might as well be going to High School in Shanghai because they have nothing to say about the area.
  • Paul Rudkin, the True Git, is happy to have been named the 2013 Shanghai Expat of the Year.
  • This afternoon, I will have an English Corner about 2014. I hope to talk with the students about things like plans, resolutions, and predictions.
  • The students I talked to this morning, had very dull New Year's eve. It is very rare that any of them do anything on December 31.
  • Jenny phoned me angrily because apparently, when I set up the train set for Tony last night, I had caused some piece of paper she had hurriedly placed down to go missing. I did not know what she was talking about and so I got hung up on. I had to think about it and then I phoned her back with a suggestion as to where the paper might be. Perhaps, I said, the paper had fallen behind some boxes in the closet because to set up the train I had to lift up some things to get to the box of train track and take it out of the closet. Jenny, in a huff, listened to the suggestion. I phoned later to find that I had been correct in my guess. Still, Jenny said, it was my doing...
  • Walking down the street, I was greeted by a woman who said the following: “Hello, I saw you on TV.” She didn't stop to start a conversation but the information she gave me was nice to know...

Friday [January 3]
[School Laptop]
  • Tony was a bad boy last night. After I arrived home last night, he took, without my permission, my Ipad. Still, I let him play with it for an hour or so. But when I looked at the time and saw how late it was, I took the Ipad from him. He howled for twenty minutes despite Jenny & I telling to stop or suffer consequences. He even refused to apologize for his behavior.
  • The incident was very distressing because I wasn't in the mood to be tough with him, but I had no choice. I have to be more of an authority for the boy. I have to say no more often.
  • I am not wearing long underwear today. Tomorrow, I may have to as the forecasts say it will get colder.
  • I got a seat on the back corner of the 635 bus last night for my forty minute ride home. I passed the time by watching the end of the Long Voyage Home, a film about merchant seaman, that starred John Wayne playing a Swede. As I got to the Hui Shan area, I put away the Ipad and noticed that there was a foreigner standing on the bus – I assume he was a teacher at the Xishan High School because I got off the bus before he did.
  • I will go to the City Hall to do a Lunch time English Corner.
  • Tony doesn't have school today. Jenny will have him doing homework I presume.
  • I have gone to the City Hall.
  • One of the woman who attended my English Corner told me she was an IT engineer in the military but didn't know what her rank was. She did get to shot some weapons in her training.
  • I learned that Line #1 of the Wuxi Metro will run from Yanqiao to the City Hall. That is, if it opens in June, 2014, as has been planned.
  • Some of the civil servants surprised me by expressing skepticism about the subway. They talked of how it was a monument to politicians and how Wuxi may not have the population to sustain it. One civil servant even predicted that it wouldn't make money.

Saturday [January 4]
[School Laptop]
  • I work 10:00 to 17:00 although I get to school at 8:45. Such a keener am I. Ha! Ha Ha!
  • It is my last day at school till the 20th. Jenny had me take the first two weeks of my three weeks of vacation, that I had coming to me, in the next two weeks. I didn't want to, but it was her idea.
  • I took the 602bus to downtown. I could then have taken the 79 bus to get to school, but I was indecisive and the bus driver closed the entrance door. The bus still had lots of passengers getting off at the back door, and I could have decided to knock on the front door and have the driver let me in. But I didn't want to appear to have been hesitant so I did nothing.
  • Tony went to school today, and he will go to school tomorrow.

Sunday [January 5]
[Home Laptop]
  • My first full day of vacation starts today.
  • I didn't get to sleep in today because Tony had to go to school. Yes. He goes to school on a Sunday. This is not unusual in China because days off will be arranged so that workers or students can get consecutive days off; but this means that they will have to work on weekends and sometimes for stretches lasting seven or eight or nine days in a row.
  • I am watching the first NFL playoff game of the year live online. The Chiefs lead the Colts 38-17. I predict that the Colts will close the gap and maybe even take the lead. These things just seem to happen.... Fix?
  • Inauspiciously, my vacation began last night. As soon as I finished my last class, I went home. I avoided mentioning to anyone that my vacation was starting. When I arrived home, Tony was taking a break from doing his homework. Jenny had him carry on with it after supper.
  • Jenny bought me a blue tooth ear piece for my Ipod and Ipad products. I got the thing to work. The first thing I listened to was the latest John Derbyshire podcast.
  • It is now 41-31 in the game. What did I tell you?
  • [Later] Colts win 45-44. What DID I tell you?
  • Now, I watch the Eagles and the Saints on PPTV.
  • I got a better idea. I watch the Eagles and Saints on my Ipad. This lets me type on the laptop.
  • Now, if only I had something to type.
  • Listening to the John Derbyshire gave me a very distressing idea of how bad the smog in China has been. In Harbin, the smog level of the air was forty times above what is the lowest level of what is dangerous for the lungs. (The low number was 25. Harbin was at 1000! Shanghai, Derb said, was at 600!)
  • It makes me want to move, but then the news from Manitoba, Canada is just as distressing. Temperatures are down to minus thirty, and to stay outdoors could kill somebody.
  • So here's my choice: Bad air versus Extreme cold and Mosquitoes (Manitoba's are worse than Wuxi's).
  • The score in the football game: Saints 23, Eagles 17. The Eagles are the home team. There are eight minutes to play in the game. The game won't end 23-17. It just isn't a score for a game to end on. It will probably end 24-23 or 26-24.
  • Saints win 26-24. WHAT did I tell you?
  • I will end the diary entry here. Onward with my vacation!!!!

No comments: