Monday, March 31, 2014

Diary: March 25 to March 31, 2014

  • Do you consider yourself to be in exile, imposed or self-imposed? I toyed with this question during this week of the AKIC Diary.
  • I had to get myself a new pair of shoes – no an easy thing to do if you are size 47 like I am.
  • I discovered a new Wuxi Expat site.
  • I had some two breakfast days.
  • I saw the Wuxi Metro train doing test runs.
  • I accidentally deleted a lot of old photos.

Tuesday [March 25]
[Home Laptop]
  • Jenny came home early yesterday from her hometown, surprising Tony & I. We weren't expecting her till this morning.
  • She was too tired to make us supper so we went to KFC where they misunderstood my order.
  • It is raining this morning. So I wonder what I should wear when I go to work.
  • The truth is that I will be enduring the rain to get downtown for no discernible reason. The school is empty of students during the day. I will have a lot of time to putt around on my interests until the evening when I do have some students to talk with.
  • Jenny says they have found the wreckage of the missing Malaysian airliner. I went to Drudge and saw nothing definite.
  • Do you consider yourself to be in exile, imposed or self-imposed? This question was posed to David Warren and was answered by him in his latest blog entry. I am thinking to answer it for myself. Instead of trying to answer it in one entry. I will intersperse my diary this week with some thoughts that I have had about the question.

[School Laptop]
  • I am at school for a 13:00 to 21:00 shift.
  • I took the 25 bus which, these days, crosses the Hui Shan Big Bridge and parallels a Wuxi Metro Bridge. This morning while on the bridge, I saw the Wuxi Metro Train crossing its bridge – a first of what will be an not uncommon sight in the future.
  • The train is running prettily regularly on the line near Casa Kaulins, although it is not yet open to the public. Yesterday when I picked up Tony and took him home via e-bike, we saw the metro train running after we had actually talked of the possibility of seeing it.
  • Do you consider yourself to be in exile, imposed or self-imposed? The first thought I have about this is really to ask myself the first part of the question: Do you consider yourself in be in exile? I like to say I am, but if I am, what am I in exile from? I've never really had a home per se. I was born in Germany and quickly moved. My childhood was one of the base brat, always moving, never feeling a part of any place. Brandon, where my mother lives, was never really a hometown for me. I moved there in my last year of high school.
  • Am I in exile? I do feel I am not at home, but then I have always felt that way being the child of immigrants.
  • Of course, I did choose to move to China. But Canada never seemed like home to me. I was an outsider there much more than China.

Wednesday [March 26]
[Home Laptop]
  • I will be at school for a 13:00 to 21:00 shift today.
  • Last night, I didn't sleep very well. To pass the time, I tried to recall the division winners in Major League Baseball from 1969 to the present. After the baseball strike of the 1990's as well as the adoption of the wildcard, I can't recall with any precision who won the division titles. I can recall all the winners from 1969 to about 1986 easily. You would think I would have a harder time recalling further back in time who won, but I can't now tell you who won the World Series last year. I ceased to follow baseball closely when it adopted the wildcard.
  • Last night, to all hours, I also got out of bed to see how my downloading was going. On my Ipod, I was watching eight episodes, which became available all at once, of Rex Murphy's commentary on the CBC slowly download. As well, I watched the ninth episode of the Kenneth Clark Civilisation be downloaded as well. For some reason, the file I had of that episode wasn't complete.
  • Yesterday, I had a student talk me out of failing him. His indignation was more than I could handle. I had felt I had to fail him because his sentence-making was poor. Give him a word to make a sentence with and he would string together a sentence with a series of unrelated clauses where he tried to give me a definition of a word and then proceed to misuse it. I had to ask him many questions to get him to further show me he knew what the word meant. And often times, he would claim to know the word but only after I made an example sentence with the word to jog his memory. But I let him pass anyway. “I thought we were friends!” he said. This must be how the Chinese do business.
  • 635 Sophia was on the 635 last night and so I showed her a bunch of photos of Tony in order to make conversation.
  • The exile question. I have labeled myself as a gypsy – people who could be said to be exiled from birth.

[School Laptop]
  • I took the 25 bus. Dumb me, I didn't sit on the side of the bus that would have allowed me to take a photo of the metro train if it happened to be on its bridge near the Hui Shan Big Bridge. It wouldn't have made a difference if the train hadn't been on the bridge, but as luck would have, it was on the bridge and a great photo opportunity was missed.
  • Do you consider yourself to be in exile, imposed or self-imposed? Come to think of it, I have exiled myself within Wuxi. I live in the Hui Shan District, far from the city center. Heck even at work, I exiled myself in my office and into my silence. So maybe I have self-imposed an exile on myself.
  • There is an encyclopedia of Trains and Locomotives in my school's library. Tomorrow, I will take the book out and bring it to Tony. I may ask the powers that be if I can buy the book off them or get Jenny to ask them for me.

Thursday [March 27]
[School Laptop]
  • My shift today: 10:00 to 21:00.
  • It is sunny outside, a pleasant enough day.
  • I had two breakfasts this morning. At Casa K, oatmeal; at the Xueqian and Zhongshan Roads McDonald's, egg sausage sandwich and two hash-browns.
  • Rare readers of my blog and even more rare attentive readers of my blog may recall that I said something about a public bike stall being built near the Jia Zhou Yang Fang apartment building and another stall being built near the Jia Zhou Yang Fang bus stop. This morning, I noticed that the stall at an intersection near the apartment had been taken down and that only the stall near the bus stop was intact. The stall near the apartment had never been used and so it is curious that two weeks after having been built, it was taken down. Somebody made a mistake.
  • Yesterday, I was slapped in the face with a reality that actually showed that my approach to certain manners had been correct and I should never waver in my approach.
  • There is a hole beneath your nose.
  • Do you consider yourself to be in exile, imposed or self-imposed? I have to say that I am in an exile and that it is self-imposed. I choose to come to China; I choose to move to the fringes of Wuxi; I choose to marry the girl I did and to raise a child with her; and I choose to stay aloof from co-workers and other expatriates. The question is should I make efforts to get out of this exile? I don't think I should, at least for this within-Wuxi-exile.
  • I am in an exile that is self-imposed due to some inaction on my part. These are the exiles from my family and Canada, as well as the exile of the spirit that I have because of Wuxi and Wuxi Expatriates. These are exiles I have to take actions about.
  • Do you consider yourself to be in exile, imposed or self-imposed? There is an imposed exile we have by being born and having to deal with matters of living in this world.
  • I was listening to a podcast where the guest was rating and grading the presidents of the United States of America. Obama, the current president, was graded poorly. Obama had had a enormous opportunity but he squandered it, said the guest who did the grading. I will add that Obama talked of trying to transcend partisan divisions and pulling of a Ronald Reagan like feat of creating coalitions and changing the assumptions of political discourse, but failed – he didn't come close and quickly abandoned any efforts to do so as soon as he was inaugurated. Obama needed to do something to his movement which would have been like William F Buckley expelling the John Birchers from the Conservative movement, but he didn't. He let the crazies of his party control the discourse. He couldn't bring the nation above racialism to an America where skin colour didn't matter.
  • It may well be that Obama was doomed from the beginning. The movement he had built had no foundations and was nothing more than airy platitudes.
  • [Later] I went to a shoe store on Jia Feng or Jian Kang Road (anyway, not the road that goes around the downtown) to buy some shoes. It is the only place I know of in Wuxi that sells shoes larger than size 44. Unfortunately, the selection was not very good and the shoes I did think to buy were ugly as sin. They also wanted me to pay a lot of money for them and Jenny, who I got to talk them via phone, talked them down 600 rmb from the 900 they first asked for. I ended up walking away without the shoes and a quandary as to whether I should go back and buy them tomorrow.

Friday [March 28]
[School Laptop]
  • My shift today is from 11:00 to 21:00.
  • I won't buy the shoes from the shop. We, that be Jenny and I, will chance it and order a pair of shoes from the Internet. I got bad vibes from the clerk there anyway who seemed disappointed when Jenny started negotiating with here.
  • I sat on the proper side of the 25 bus this morning. That is, the proper side of the bus if I wanted to take a photo of the metro train if it happened to be on the bridge near the Hui Shan Big Bridge. Of course, the train wasn't on the bridge when I had my camera all ready.
  • I have a horrible class with horrible students, the kind that seem to suffer from clinical depression, at 8:00 PM this evening.
  • I did an English Corner about books last night, and out of fourteen people, only I and two students were actually reading books at the moment. Everyone else was too busy to read. So I had to spend a great deal of time with idioms using the work book like “throw the book at him” and “cook the books.”
  • I have brought home the train book I had seen in our school library. It is filled with lots of great photos of trains that I am sure Tony will enjoy. I hope to have Tony see the book this evening after he has done his homework. I have left it on a shelf in the bedroom. I told Tony to phone me this afternoon. If he does, I will tell him that there is a surprise for him on the shelf....

Saturday [March 29]
[School Laptop]
  • I have a 10:00 to 18:00 Shift today.
  • Tony liked the train book, when he was finally able to see it. I had tried three times, unsuccessfully by mobile phone, to tell Tony to see what I had placed on the shelf above our bed, but he still hadn't finished his homework.
  • My fourth try to tell him was made between classes at 7:55 PM. He was excited when he saw the book. When I arrived home later, he was carrying with him, clutching it like he does when he has gotten a new toy. When I arrived home, he even made a show of it for as I entered the apartment, by appearing from behind a couch with the book and exclaiming “I got it!”
  • The 635 bus, which I took home after class, was packed like a sardine can last night. I got on the bus early, when it was empty, and got a seat in the corner at the very back. I watched the end of an Astaire-Rogers film entitled Carefree. It wasn't a great movie, having a plot that was resolved rather convolutedly and it could have had more dance and song numbers; but the ones it did have were full of grace and Astaire singing that “Must you dance every dance with the same fortunate men” song made the movie worth watching again if only for that scene.
  • It is raining heavily this morning. I have my umbrella open in the office in order to dry it.
  • I listened to the latest John Derbyshire Podcast this morning. He made mention of an interesting way of categorizing people when he divided them into word people and thing people. Before hearing his explanation, I would have categorized myself as a word person – being not good with my hands and more cerebral in my interests. But Derbyshire said that Leftists are more word people because they believe that words matter and from words we can make the world a better place. Leftists are ones for changing the language and filling it with euphemisms. Conservatives, being more interested in the reality of the thing, find Leftist wordplay to be silly and divorced from a reality which could never conform to Leftist Utopian fantasies. So, I am a thing person in the sense Derb describes. But I am far removed from the world of practical manners of the hands on things people, nonetheless.
  • I see that there is a new website attempting to serve Wuxi Expats called Wuxi City Guide. It is the third attempt, that I know of, to do this. The first one, Wuxi Life, has becoming Wuxi Dead. It now is filled with advertising and occasional pleas from lonely Expats looking for companionship. The second site, Wuxi Guide Dot Net, died after its founder (the Ayatollah of Mordor) returned to his home and native land. For a short time, it had a lively group of commentators but it went to tears because too many of them were sexpats and worry warts about controversy. This new site does post some articles and is even attempting to get some forums started. I wish them luck, but I suspect that like the other sites it will fail to be lively and controversial enough, for despite being a small city, Wuxi is too big and its Expats are into too many disparate pockets to form one community.
  • And then there is my site attempting to mock Wuxi Expats called Wuxi China Expatdom, but that is another story....
  • Apparently the days when I first came to Wuxi: 2004 to 2006 were the good old days for the Wuxi Expat Community, and something happened, presumably the 2008 financial crisis, which resulted in a lot of tearing down and replacement with soul less shopping mall décor which torn up that community as well.
  • Of course, they didn't seem like golden days when I was experiencing them. Right now with a growing Tony, life is a lot better.

Sunday [March 30]
[School Laptop]
  • I work an extra shift today at school: 10:00 to 17:00.
  • Last night, I had to spend the evening looking for file recovery programs because I mistakenly reformatted a USB drive that contained a lot of old photos including from when Tony was born, portrait photos, and our first visit to Canada. Now, I know that a delete really means that an address is turned off with out the file actually being wiped, and that a complete scan of a drive can discover files, that though technically deleted, are still in place. So I had to look for software to do that. What I discovered was that these programs have a catch: you got to pay for them! So, I am looking for free recovery software via torrent.
  • If worse comes to worst, I can recover many photos from my blog and facebook sites. This may not placate Jenny who was really pissed at me.
  • So, I have to hope and pray that a recovery program can bring back all those old photos.
  • That problem ruined my evening and I fell a little, in a way, hung over about it this morning.
  • Students at #1 High School will be going to Yixing for four days for what seems to be a kind of spring camping outing. They will be living in barracks type accommodation, cooking their own food, and whatever other activities the students have planned.
  • I just had lunch: a beef wrap from McDonald's which seems to be advertised as being something healthy. But is not why I am making this entry. On the way to McDonald's I waited and then crossed, on a green pedestrian signal, the intersection at Xueqian and Zhongshan Roads. At the corner I cross, I usually try to make right-turning vehicles yield to me. The fact that the drivers never slow down and have no consideration for pedestrians always gets at my craw, as the expression I believe goes; and so I try to make the vehicles stop. Just now, I was unsuccessful as a square mini-van passed so close to me that I could see the color of the eyes of the drivers and passengers. I could then easily have punched or kicked the van with great effect but my nerve failed me.

Monday [March 31]
  • The last day of March. No shifts.
  • Yesterday afternoon, I got off work early and so went to the Baoli Carrefour and bought three tubs of the margarine the K family likes. Canola Harvest hasn't been available the Hui Shan Tesco the past two weeks. This trip was a rare chance for me to wander the Wuxi Downtown on a Sunday afternoon, and I saw foreigners who don't work at my school for the first time in weeks. To me, it now seems that foreigners have complexions that are pasty like milk.
  • From Carrefour, I took the 602to the Hui Shan Wanda Plaza where I meet Jenny & Tony at a newly opened Thai Restaurant. Jenny liked the food very much and in telling me so, she took a jibe at Xinjiang Food that we have disagreements about. I actually like the Thai food as well, though I still prefer Xinjiang Food. We had shrimp in curry sauce (it would have been better if the curry was Indian and not Chinese, and the shrimp were peeled), pineapple-fried rice, some beef on skewers, and a tarot salad – all very tasty. The restaurant is expensive however which on the good side, means the place isn't crowded, but on the bad side, means it is expensive. I give it four stars out of five.
  • I did try this Thai Beer. Brand name of Chang. It was alright. It tasted almost like a dark ale.
  • We then spent the evening at home. I was able to find a free file recovery program but I wasn't able to recover all the files I had deleted from the USB, and so I am going to have to go through my blog archives to copy the photos I posted. [Rare reader, you are invited to check out the archives as well. There is a lot of interesting stuff there.]
  • Tony and I finished watching One Million BC starring Raquel Welch. Tony really liked the film, not because of Raquel Welch, but because of the special effects, which though primitive by the standards of today, had a nice cartoon feel to them. The problem with the film was its convoluted ending. I suppose it was a vehicle to show a scantily clad Raquel Welch, but the film didn't suffer from poor production values and the world it depicted, though very unrealistic, was interesting. But the film had no plot. A battle between two tribes at the end of the film was interrupted by a volcanic eruption. Raquel and the other protagonists survived and that was that.
  • I wore the shoes Jenny bought on Taobao to work on Sunday. They fit pretty well. I was afraid, when I tried them on, that they would turn out to be too tight. So far, they feel tight but snug.
  • I used the free file recovery software but alas I didn't recover as many files as I had been hoping. I will earn Jenny's wrath again!! Aaaahhh!

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Andis Kaulins in China Diary for March 18 to March 24, 2014

  • Five shifts this week at school.
  • Jenny's uncle died. Jenny went to the funeral leaving Tony to be taken care of by Andis.
  • On Sunday, the K family went to the Shengtai Agriculture Park.
  • I thought to give up watching Downton Abbey.
  • I started learning Java.

Tuesday [March 18]
[Home Laptop]
  • My shift today will be 13:00 to 21:00 today.
  • Right now, I am dealing with an IOS Update to my Ipad. Basically, my Ipad is out of commission because, for whatever reason, I am re-installing everything into my Ipad like all the apps and the books. It looks like it will take an hour.
  • Speaking of taking hours, editing the diary entry of yesterday, that is the one that I published to the Internet, took hours. Editing is a painful and time-consuming process.
  • The Ipad updating and reloading has thrown off my concentration for the time being. I haven't done anything to fulfill my daily requirements other than to make this diary entry.
  • I was able to wander the area around Casa K yesterday. I took photos and videos of some things that I saw, like the Wuxi Metro train doing test runs.
  • Last night, it took me an hour to put together Tony's 132 piece puzzle. Tony had poured the pieces on the floor and as was my habit, I cleaned up after him.
  • Hopefully, I can continue today's daily sub-entry at school.

[School Laptop]
  • As I walked to the bus stop, I passed an intersection where I saw a near collision between a left-turning e-bike and an oncoming car. It was the e-biker who was definitely driving imprudently. She made a left turn rather quickly and without looking. If I had happened to have had my camera pointing at her, I would have had a nice image of the e-bike turning right in front of an moving car. The car slowing down prevented the collision. Amazingly, the driver didn't honk his horn and shout epitaphs at the woman.
  • I took the 25 bus to get downtown.
  • I took the seat over the back wheel. In front of me sat a young man who opened the window and leaned his head against on the window edge so he could spit outside. Gross.
  • [Later] I have done my Chinese study for the day. One of my projects is to create a database of the flashcards used for the 1,000 flashcards textbook on
  • I did an English Corner about Europe. There were nine students attending. It went okay, not great but any stretch of the imagination. I was looking for something to get everyone talking and make the time flow quickly but it didn't really happen. One student said that steak came to mind when she thought of Europe – a far cry from Hitler.
  • In my wallet, I had a 100 rmb note and no small change. I was planning to go to the Xinjiang restaurant for my mid-afternoon meal but I didn't want to break the 100 there, so I went to McDonalds for the bacon potato double burger.
  • No classes till 19:00. I may be able to get all the things I want to do today!
  • John admires his sister only. What does this sentence mean? What is the only modifying. Is it modifying sister? Is it modifying the whole sentence?

Wednesday [March 19]
[Home Laptop]
  • I tell myself to not be lazy. So I tell myself to make the date headline for this day's entry bold and not to save it for later.
  • My shift today is 13:00 to 21:00. Yesterday, I had three classes. Having started out with five, I was dismayed, in a strange way, when the girl from booking told me that two of my classes were canceled. I took advantage of the free time to occupy myself with interesting things like my Chinese study, my daily readings, and my computer study. However, my hopes of being able to use databases with Python was dashed when a module, one of my Python textbooks suggested I download, didn't install.
  • It is colder today. Yesterday was warm and I saw some foreigners walking around in t-shirts. It has cooled down overnight and it might rain today; and so I will have to don an extra layer when I go out.
  • The big change in temperature is making me feel weary. The thought of doing anything – even writing in this blog – is wearying me.
  • I began to watch the sixth episode of the second season of Downton Abbey last night.
  • No binge-viewing for me.
  • I wait for news about the missing Malaysian airliner. But it is drowned out, on the Drudge Report, by news of what is happening in Crimea.
  • War?
  • I hear fireworks nearby. Has someone moved into Jia Zhou Yang Fang?
  • I carry Tony to the pickup stop from where he is taken to school. He tells me he is cold. Really, he is lazy.
  • I hang laundry that Jenny had washed.
  • They say it is all Malaysian Airliner all the time on the news. I wouldn't know. I listen to podcasts and don't watch any television news.
  • I need to fill this entry with humor. I need some hilarious things to happen. I need to think some hilarious thoughts.
  • Can the Winnipeg Jets make the 2014 National Hockey League playoffs? I doubt it. Jets 2.0 as bad as Jets 1.0.
[School Laptop]
  • It is raining cats and dogs. So it is annoying to be outside and I am wondering if my 13:00 student will show.
  • Walk into a shop on rainy day and there will be a place to put your umbrellas near the entrance.
  • Now, my pink umbrella is open and laying on the floor beside my desk. Open umbrellas being dried in offices is a common sight in Wuxi.
  • Co-worker tells me that swishing a certain kind of olive oil in your mouth for ten to fifteen minutes is good for your health.
  • My 13:00 student didn't show up.
  • I got a database program to work using Python. Now, I need to refine it.

Thursday [March 20]
[School Laptop]
  • My shift today: 10:00 to 21:00.
  • I ran into 635 Sophia when I went to McDonalds to buy my second breakfast of the morning. She was off to her school where her day today consists of prepping for her weekend classes. My day, I told her, consists of doing a little bit of prepping, some teaching, and studying Chinese and Computer.
  • I took the 602and then the 118 buses to work. The 118 bus was nearly empty. There was nothing but a driver, me, and another passenger on the bus. It was very unusual and contrasted with the packed-like-sardines 635 bus I took home last night.
  • On the 635 bus home, many of the standing passengers were playing with their mobiles. One standing passenger earned this mention in my blog because she was watching a video on her Ipad. This is something I would never have thought to do if I was standing.
  • Having a wife and son to support, I am glad I don't have much social intercourse outside of work because, really, my days at school are very, very cushy.
  • What is my work? Talking to students and sometimes correcting their English. Reviewing an old English grammar yesterday, I realized that I don't know as much about English grammar as I thought I had, or thought I did. Some of the test questions in the test-section of the grammar were real head-scratchers for me. I could say that some of the grammar presented in the book was obsolete, but there were many questions in the test that I should be happy I don't get asked by the students. [I should say I should be happy if the students challenge me with these questions.]
  • Missing Malaysian Airliner: 1) I saw William, our student from Malaysia, last night and I teased him about the airliner. He did say that it was the biggest crisis that Malaysia has ever faced. 2) Apparently, two employees from an insurance company in this building were on that flight.
  • I spent about 45 minutes prepping for my classes. Most of the work for them had already been done, but I have been trying to supplement the lesson plans and my lesson plans with additional material.

March 21 [Friday]
[School Laptop]
  • The shift today: 11:00 to 21:00. I arrive at school at 9:30. I am eager to install a Java Developers Kit on this machine. I tried yesterday but I couldn't get jvac to compile my first java program.
  • This morning, Tony told me not to go to work. I asked him why and he told me that he wanted to play train simulator on my home laptop. It wasn't like he wanted to be with Daddy.
  • Jenny's uncle, his father's brother, is at death's door. That is what Jenny told me this morning. He was at the hospital but because there was nothing they could do for him, he was taken back to his room at the family compound. Jenny's uncle was a quiet fellow who always wore a hat of some sort and was always wrapped in layers of clothing. He spent his days, when I saw him, sitting in the compound. If he dies, Jenny & Tony will go to the funeral. His manner of death seems particularly forlorn for his is dying like a ward or a pet in the forgotten countryside of China.
  • When buying my breakfast at McDonald's, I noticed this old woman, who looked like she hadn't showered in a week, eating her breakfast in the most ungainly manner. She was using the thin brown stir stick as a straw to drink her coffee and her half-eaten breakfast sandwich, which she was clutching onto loosely while still in its wrapper, was held at chest-height as she went to get a refill of coffee. Squeezing the cup as she sipped the coffee, the plastic cap came unloosened and was dangling on the stir-stick straw.
  • [Later] I have gotten the jvac compiler to work. Yes!
  • Nothing worse than doing a salon class about Global Warming. It is the most boring topic for a salon ever!!!!
  • The only thing I found interesting about the class was having two of the students tell me that they had been robbed. One student had been robbed in her office at work by a girl who had managed to get through the security doors. The other student said her apartment had been broken into and she had lost an Ipad and two gold rings. She didn't know how the thief had broken into her apartment. There was nothing broken in her apartment.

Saturday [March 22]
[School Laptop]
  • My shift today 10:00 to 18:00. My last class ends at 17:00 so I will get off early.
  • When I got home last night, Jenny was mad at Tony because of his lack of progress in Math class. Tony had, in the morning, been telling me I shouldn't work so he could play Train Simulator on my home laptop. In the evening, he was too shell-shocked by Jenny's scolding to talk about this and he went to bed rather quickly.
  • I took the 602to work and sat at the extreme back of the bus. Two people in front of me decided to open the windows causing a cool and uncomfortable breeze to blow in my face. A woman sitting in a seat right of front of me was the first to open the window and I moved to the seat on the other side of the aisle. But then a man sitting two seats in front of me decided to open a window very widely so I had an even more uncomfortable breeze in sit in. I ended up sitting at a seat in the aisle sort of between the two breezes. Eventually, The woman smartened up and closed her window; however, the man didn't and I cursed him loudly hoping he heard my f****s. After about three minutes, the woman then did what I didn't have the balls to do and went over to where the man was sitting and shut his window.
  • I saw a blind woman being helped by another woman. I don't often see blind people.
  • I listened to a depressing podcast about the employment prospects currently of people in their late forties and early fifties. The new technology is making them unemployable.

Sunday [March 23]
[Home Laptop]
  • When the wife's away, the boys will play? Not really. I have got Tony in bed at 9:00 PM and I have to prepare his clothes for tomorrow and do some cleaning and I want to make a couple of blog entries – for this blog and another.
  • So, I will blog about today tomorrow.

Monday [March 24]
[Home Laptop]
  • Why is Jenny away? Well. Her uncle, who lived with her parents, has died and she is attending the funeral. She will be back at Casa Kaulins on Tuesday.
  • I will have to see if I can dig up a photo of the uncle and publish it on AKIC Wordpress. I know there is one somewhere on some drive.
  • I got Tony off to school. I hope I didn't forget anything. I was thinking to deliberately put something Tony backwards so as keep up the conceit of wives that husbands don't know what they are doing.
  • A shipment of Ritz Cheese Cracker sandwiches arrived yesterday. I love them. I could crumble them up and throw them in my bath so I could luxuriate in them for twenty minutes or so.
  • Sunday, the K family was driven, by some neighbors in their mini van, to the Shengtai Agriculture park in Jiangyin. To get to the park from Casa Kaulins is easy. You take Hui Shan Da Dao road to Jiangyin, cross the bridge to Jiangyin (the one where Tony & I go trainspotting), and continue along the road for a few kilometers. The park would be on your left.
  • At Shengtai, we saw greenhouses with plant pots hanging from the ceiling so the visitors felt themselves to be in a completely luxuriant environ; we saw peacocks with magnificent rear end plumage; we saw gobbling turkeys and lanky storks; we fed a lot of gold fish; we saw what I thought was a black swan; I saw a swan get very pissed at a duck and change it all over the pond (around which was built a wooden patio deck.); and we ate at a table surrounded by plants.
  • I finished watching the seventh game of the 1965 World Series (which I downloaded from Youtube). Koufax three hit the Twins on two days rest throwing mostly fastballs because his curve wasn't working for him. Amazing. The game seemed to have been played in another planet, not just another era. The spectators were mostly dressed in suit and ties. They weren't braying like monkeys through the game. And when the game ended, the Dodgers were dignified in their celebrations. And the Twins had nice uniforms.
  • I also finished watching the seventh episode of the second series of Downton Abbey. I don't know if I will watch the third season. The episodes are becoming more and more like soap operas. Perhaps, I will check out house of cards.
  • Tony & I went to the Wanda Plaza where we ate at Pizza Hut and visited the Apple Store for a brief visit. Every time, I go to the Hui Shan Pizza Hut, I always end up vowing to never return. The food is always mediocre and the pizza is not made properly. But, fool I am, I always return.
  • My going to Pizza Hut causes the staff to jokingly made English phrases. Tony also always seem to attract the attention of the female staff members. Yesterday, Tony was too intent on the Ipad mini to notice. When the female manager gave him some gifts, I had to force him to be thankful.
  • Tony & I were in bed by nine.
  • Jenny phoned me and reported that a lot of people were attending his uncle's funeral and she was staying in a hotel.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Andis Kaulins in China Diary Entry for March 11 to March 17, 2014

  • I tried to make this week's entry longer than normal. Last week's entry was four pages long at font size 12. This week, I got to the ninth page
  • I was in the doghouse for most of the week with Jenny.
  • I began to watch video of the 7th game of the 1965 World Series. I can say I was at the stadium where the game took place.
  • I work six days at the school, having taken on a day of overtime.
  • I made dark jokes about the missing Malaysian airliner.

Tuesday [March 11]
[Home Laptop]
  • My shift will be 13:00 to 18:00.
  • I will have six days in a row of shifts this week. I am working on Sunday. One of our trainers has gone home for a vacation, so more shifts for me!
  • Take pains with every word. Take pains with every word I write? Can I?
  • No time to take pains?
  • I have watched the first inning and a half of the seventh game of the 1965 World Series. I am cheering for the Twins.
  • I asked the question about pains above because of that piece I read yesterday, written by Theodore Dalrymple, about Joseph Conrad. Dalrymple has a way of making the great literature of the past relevant to today. Conrad, said Dalrymple, admired people who did their duty, because it was their duty and not because they had some highfaluting theory about why they should do their duty. Or in other words, Conrad derided egoists who abound in this world. [I am probably one myself.] Conrad took pains to describe the things he saw properly, using the right words to give up the right effect so the reader feels like he is there with the writer.
  • I feel like I am in the doghouse with Jenny. I earned her ire by her having earned my ire. But I found evidence that it was that time of the month and so the storm will pass.
  • Tony & I shrugged our shoulders to each other last night. Mom! What can we do?
  • Tony & I went to bed as soon as we could.
  • I listened to a podcast about China, from Australia's RN, that really didn't say much about China that I didn't already know. But, the expert interviewed did say one thing about Mao that was worth remembering: Mao tried to change the way the Chinese people were and failed.
  • Funny, how Joseph Needham, a man who supposedly loved China and the Chinese, cavorted with Mao who didn't really like the Chinese so much. [Mao was responsible for more murders of Chinese people in his time in power than the Japanese of World War Two.]
  • Anyway, I will email this file to my school laptop, and time permitting, I will carry on with my random thoughts. Hopefully, I will observe something worth chronicling on my way to school.

[School Laptop]
  • Jenny was still mad at me. I tried to give her a goodbye kiss but she shoved me away.
  • I took the 25 bus to get to school. Getting on a bus, I felt of spasm of rage as some man ran to get on the bus and cut in front of me. Standing practically on his heels, I had to check myself from kicking him in the heels or punching him in the back of the head.
  • It was probably just as well that I didn't attempt to assault the man. It was not like I didn't get a seat and not it wasn't the same as someone cutting off a pedestrian with a fast-moving car.
  • On the bus, I see a woman squatting next to a seat in which her baby was sitting. I wondered why she didn't have the baby sit in her lap.
  • I then saw grandparents get on the bus with a baby. The grandfather walked to a seat, in the middle of the bus, but the grandmother just stood on the steps next to the boarding door. It seemed that she was watching the grandchild playing with the change-box. The grandfather saw this, once he had turned around to look for his wife, and he was indecisive as to whether he should come from his seat to help them. If I was the old man, I would have been cursing the slowness of his wife.
  • Off the bus, I walked down some side streets to get to my school. I enjoy the walk because it feels like I am seeing things that are authentically Chinese and interesting. This morning, I saw two beggars. One was a male with no legs who was not wearing a shirt. He had a full backpack strung on his back and was on the road, not the sidewalk. Having change in my pocket, I thought, as I had already passed, to give him some money but I wasn't interested in making a dramatic gesture of turning around and doing so. My conscience was then assuaged by being able to give an one rmb coin to the second beggar I saw: a woman holding a child in her arm as she sat behind a bowl placed on the sidewalk. She was about twenty meters down the street, on the sidewalk, from the legless man.
  • The next sight I noticed was an old woman who was slowly crossing the street at an angle almost parallel to the street. In China, she really is unremarkable, but she would be a sight in Canada. She was wearing those cloth shoes typical of the older and poorer sorts in China, her back was stooped as she walked, and her face was skeletal, her skin not at all loose.
  • My English Corner topic for this afternoon? Dancing. Dancing, of all things.
  • One more thing I will mention for now. The smog or haze was bad. I hazard to say it is a sunny day because the skies are brown with little hint of blue. Best to say the weather is dirty. [On a rainy day, it is dull.]
  • When I walked into the school, I saw that the posters of the teachers on the walls of the school's main lobby had been changed. The previous poster of me had been on the wall for six or seven years. I hadn't realized that I had been posing for the new poster last week. I am not too enthused with my appearance these days. I look old and bitter.
  • Since I have arrived at school, I have prepped four of my five lessons, put money in Tony's toy fund, did my half-hour of Chinese typing practice, and entered a Don Colacho quote into Dispatches from Akicistan #8.
  • After the English Corner about Dancing, I went to the nearby Xinjiang Restaurant and had a plate of fried noodles. I had ordered a potato and rice dish but I was told that they didn't have any potatoes.

Wednesday [March 12]
[Home Laptop]
  • I took the taxi home last night. I had taken the 118 bus to the stop by Baoli to transfer to the 635. I thought I had arrived in time to catch the 635 but I then saw the bus pull into the stop across the street. I was hesitant to run across the road to board it – the traffic on the road was busy and fast. So, not wanting to wait thirty minutes for the next bus, I waited for a 312 bus which got me halfway home and then caught a taxi.
  • What went wrong? Why did I miss the bus? The first cause was the dump trucks at the construction site at the corner of Zhongshan and Renmin roads putting traffic to a standstill for three to five minutes. Despite this, I thought that I still had enough time when the 118 bus was able to move again. And so as the 118 bus approached Baoli I didn't look for the 635 bus. This inattention might have been the second cause. I just assumed my timing was fine. And when I got to the stop, I may have been distracted by the free wifi I could get there. My spending at least a minute concentrating on my email and not looking for the bus may have been the second cause. So, I can say for sure that the dump trucks and my inattentiveness, on the bus or at the bus stop, caused me to miss the stop.
  • After getting off the 312, I had to catch a taxi driving away from Hui Shan District because the stretch of road I was on didn't appear to have taxis cruising there looking for fares going to the Hui Shan District. The taxis going in the direction of the Hui Shan district already had passengers in them which was why they would have been heading to the Hui Shan District in the first place. When I flagged the driver down, he didn't at first understand my pronunciation of Jiazhouyangfang, hui shan wanda, and hui shan huameida. I was thinking that he didn't want to go back to Hui Shan which is out of the way, far from the city center, and thus a bad place to get fares. But he then understood Hui Shan Wanda. He drove me there and it cost me twenty rmb. From the Wanda, I walked home past the businesses that congregate around the Wanda Plaza mall. I enjoyed the walk and if the weather is good tonight, I make get off the 635 bus – provided I don't miss it again – earlier and walk past the businesses again. Normally, when I got off the 635, I walk home in darkness past grass and closed buildings.
  • In my last class of the evening, there was a woman who was very attractive and looked older than she was. Her appearance was that of a well made up store clerk or even store manager, and so it shocked me to learn that she was in the third year of a Flight Attendant studies program. My first reaction upon learning this cause me to say that she looked like she was already a flight attendant. She really contrasted with another student in the class who was a flight attendant classmate of hers. This classmate had coke-bottle glasses, braces, was slightly plump, and a pimply complexion. The woman and the girl classmate look to have a ten year age difference, and so it seem so incongruous that they acted with similar levels of maturity.
  • Jenny is still mad at me. She gave me the silent treatment last night. Nothing for me to do but wait for the storm to pass and be on my best behavior.
  • I had a student in my seven o'clock class who liked philosophy. She was interested in the classic Chinese philosophers and was unfamiliar with any modern ones. Her favorite western philosopher was Schopenhauer. She was unable to explain to me why she liked him.
  • Schopenhauer is the sort who appeals to young minds. As one gets older, one tends to forget about him.
  • Like last week, I will email this Wednesday file to myself so I can upload it to my school laptop. I will then cut paste and the text to my diary file.
  • I have just washed some dishes. I am trying to get back on Jenny's good side. The chances are that she will say I didn't clean them properly.
  • It is raining outside.
  • I saw there was a new entry on the David Warren blog this morning. It was about a columnist named Needham who wrote for the Globe and Mail. This Needham, unlike the Joseph Needham of the Man Who Loved China book, was a thoroughly decent man in the old-fashioned sense. The columnist Needham was a man of duty to his job and to his family. The columnist Needham was eventually forced out of his columnist job by younger types who saw him as something of a dinosaur with his reactionary views. Warren, who had contact with Needham, after this ousting said Needham became somewhat bitter. Though sympathetic to the Canadian Needham, Warren had to say that one can't be bitter. A commenter to this Warren blog post said that Misanthropy is the pitfall of the Christian. The Christian has to love everyone, even the stupid, fashionable, idiotic, self-righteous, self-important, egotistical, dull, and unimaginative types that comprise 99.9 percent of humanity. That is the hardest cross to bear for the Christian – more than pain and suffering and loneliness.
  • Misanthropy and Christianity are the two things that very much appeal to me? Why?
  • Perhaps I will continue with these thoughts anon.
  • For now, I will email this entry to myself so I can continue it at school. I will report on how my attempting to talk to Jenny went and what I happened to observe on my bus ride downtown.

[School Laptop]
  • I have decided to make this diary blog entry long. My goal is to have ten pages typed using the times roman font size 12.
  • It was raining outside but not heavily so using the umbrella was optional. I decided to use the umbrella.
  • Jenny still seemed annoyed at me, but not as much as yesterday. Yesterday, She was still in bed when I bade her good bye and she was smacking me when I attempted to kiss her. This morning, she merely drew the sheets over her head.
  • What did I see on my way to work? At the bus stop, the Jia Zhou bus stop that is, that I go to most mornings, workers had dug a pit in the lawn that was behind the bus stop. The pit was deep enough so that a wall of bricks one brick high (bricks laid width wise)could be built on its periphery. Inside the ring of bricks, cement was being laid. I suspect that they are building the foundation for a public bicycle rack. They have been building them in the Hui Shan District.
  • Also while waiting, I saw an old man get out of of the back seat of a black sedan that had pulled up near the bus stop. Another passenger in the sedan came out from the front passenger seat, and restrained him. It seemed that he was trying to pull the old man back into the car. I could tell from their manner that it was a friendly sort of restraining like the wrestling that takes place among Chinese when it comes to paying the restaurant bill. This tug-of-war went on for a minute till they shook hands and parted company.
  • I spend my time on the bus listening to the GLOP podcast on my Ipod from and studying chapter 23 of my New Practical Chinese Reader on my Ipad.
  • I did look up from my Chinese study to see that the street cleaners were wearing those traditional looking Asian farm worker hats, the kind that are round, brim-less, and slope downwards uniformly from a pointed center. Or in other words, they look like a very wide and flat cone.
  • On GLOP, I heard mention that Harold Ramis was on cocaine the whole time he was working on the famous film Caddyshack. I wish I hadn't heard that.
  • Ah. The life of the rich and the famous is really the life of the depraved and lucky. Meanwhile, decent guys like the Needham that David Warren knew rate only a mention in an obscure blog.
  • I did hear a new word on the podcast which I will teach to the students every available opportunity. The word is bingeview which describes the phenomenon of watching many consecutive episodes of a series at one time, like for example someone watching a whole season of Game of Thrones in ten hours. My wife bingeviews many series as do many of the students.
  • [Later] My 13:00 class was a no-show. So, I went back to working on my Chinese.
  • [Later] What to eat? I decided on Dico's and their fifteen rmb special. I had had Muslim Noodles yesterday and I had had Niurou Fan (Beef Fried Rice) on Saturday and I had had McDonald's for breakfast.
  • I taught a student named Tiny. I asked him what the opposite of huge was and he hesitated. He was embarrassed when he realized that the answer was his name.

Thursday [March 13]
[School Laptop]
  • My shift today: 10:00 to 21:00.
  • Jenny is still mad at me. I got the silent treatment when I arrived home last evening and then this morning when I tried to talk to her. I was only able to get her to say one thing: “You only love yourself!”
  • This storm (Jenny being mad at me) started on Monday evening.
  • David Warren had another blog entry today. Re-reading the previous one about the journalist named Needham, I realized that its tone was pessimistic as was the latest entry which I read this morning. This morning's entry was about marriage and how the Catholic Church, instead of sticking to its gun about the seriousness of marriage, is being cowardly and trying to accommodate the modern world's attitudes toward it.
  • Do I really only love myself? That charge of Jenny is probably all too true. I suppose I have the left wing habit of thinking that my nice thoughts are sufficient to show my love. But what to do to get on Jenny's good side? I can't talk to her about it. She just issues a series of ultimatums that leave one exasperated and without hope.
  • I read in the Bible earlier this week about Jesus's suffering in the garden on the night before he was arrested and then put to death. One of the disciples, Peter(?) stayed that night with him but ultimately failed in his duty to be with Jesus and fell asleep. In my younger days, I would have wondered how Peter could have done such a thing. As I age, I realize that part of my wonder was a one brought on by hindsight. I also recalled the last night I spent by my father's side (he lived one more night and then died in the middle of the next day.) Despite knowing at the time, the seeming sacredness of being beside my father, I had to deal with the discomforts of the moment: the boredom, the urge to play with the Ipod, and my wanting to sleep. The disciple Peter was dealing with the same sensations. I, like Peter, failed in my duty that night.
  • I taught(?) a student named Tony last evening. This Tony –Tony is popular English name with the students – is very talkative. He told me about how the government is preventing real estate companies from selling apartments at the market rate, which would logically be cheaper than they are now since there are clearly too many empty apartment buildings all about Wuxi. The government (Tony agreed with me on this point) had lent out too much money to developers and thus had paid too much for the apartments. To try and manipulate the real estate prices and get the money back, the government is moving schools out to the areas where the new apartments are being built. Chinese parents will pay to live near a good school. One example of the government doing this is Big Bridge School which is on Xueqian Road, about a block from my school. Two years ago, Big Bridge students who come to our school started to tell me about the school being moved out by Lake Taihu – far away from its present location but near recent real estate development. The Big Bridge School move would seem to be an attempt by the government to manipulate real estate market.
  • It is cold outside. I had to put on my toque and scarf as I made my way to school.
  • Not much to report about my bus ride to work. I took the 602and then transferred to the 118. There did seem to be more people on the bus, as it pulled into my stop, and so I had to take a seat that wasn't at the back of the bus where I usually happily ensconce myself.
  • Last night, I had to catch the 635 bus as it was leaving the downtown. I made sure, unlike Tuesday evening, to look for it, as I rode the 312 to the two stops where I can catch the 635 at Baoli. Seeing the 635 pass while on the 312, I had to wait for the 635 at the stop in front of the Hotel (the leaving the downtown stop), instead of at the stop across the street (the entering downtown stop).
  • Four pages of journalist efforts completed!
  • My 10:00 AM class was with a housewife of what I assumed was a car company executive. She just got her visa to go to Japan.
  • It bugs me that I can't just phone Jenny and talk her. I have become so used to waiting out her silences that I only rarely – like I am now – think about how silly and frustrating it is. It should be so if she could somehow act rationally. As it is, I am scared to take any initiative. Jenny, with her ways, kills it and makes it worse by getting upset about it which then makes it more unlikely that this dream world she wants can ever come close to being achieved.
  • My English Corner will be in the evening. The topic will be Eating.
  • I wonder what my Mom is up to now. I suppose at the very instant that I type this, she is asleep.
  • Talk to the students who get to travel and I reflect on my father who didn't travel at all in his later years.
  • This : 引领群众接受革命传统 教育 translates to To lead the masses to accept the revolutionary tradition. [I am working on translating a very short article I have found in a local magazine. It seems I decided to translate an article where a government official makes a visit to some place. And I never would have thought, judging from its appearance, that the magazine was so Communist.]
  • I hope Jenny stops being mad at me tonight.
  • I had niurou fan, beef fried rice, for lunch. I ate it at the restaurant to where I had brought my Ipad so I could fulfill my daily Shakespeare and Aquinas requirement.
  • 15:00 Class with Steven, a clever boy, who talks a lot. Not a good conversationalist however, his style is monologuish.
  • The sentences that the girls ask me to explain to them. Sheesh! I really need to see the sentence in context. Some sentences taken from their article make no sense.
  • Twenty minutes to Six. What Jenny said this morning still stings.

Friday [March 14]
[School Laptop]
  • My shift today: 11:00 to 21:00.
  • I was just thinking. As I took my daily photo of Tony which I post to my TKIC Wordpress blog, I labeled the entry Thursday Morning Tony. I am going to have to change that later.
  • My concentration on my routine was ruined this morning when I realized that I had forgotten to download the photos for my City Hall English Corner onto my Ipad last night. I had mailed them to myself from work yesterday, and planned on opening the email when I got home later. But when I got home, I immediately washed my feet and face, and went to bed without bothering to open the email on Ipad and download the photos.
  • I realized my forgetfulness when I was on the bus. Instead of concentrating fully on my Chinese text, I was thinking of what I could do to get Wifi and be able to download those photos. Unfortunately at school, there is no Wifi. The nearby 85 degree bakery has a sign saying they have complimentary Wifi but it turned out to be bunk because while I did lock onto a signal there, I wasn't able to open any web pages or get email.
  • This quickly going to bed upon arriving home from work is not something I usually do. But with Jenny giving me the silent treatment, I thought I would just be quiet in my own way.
  • As for Jenny, she did speak to me today, and she did answer one of my questions. When giving her a going-to-work goodbye kiss, she didn't throttle me, so things were looking up as far as being in the doghouse was concerned.
  • One of my favorite podcasts is the Sunday gospel program that I get from Vatican Radio. It presents a reading of the gospel presented in a dramatic fashion and is interspersed with poetry readings from great poets modern and old. I listened to two of the episodes this morning.
  • Sophia, my 635 bus mate, was on the bus last night. I was able to ask her why she was working at an other school and she told me that she preferred the teaching she was doing there which was more about teaching English writing than English speaking.
  • I was thinking that I should have yielded her my seat last night. She looked weary leaning against a pole.
  • In fact, I spend a lot of the time, when on the bus, thinking that I should be yielding my seat to people because I feel a little guilty for always being so successful at ensuring that I get a seat.
  • I took the 25 bus to work this morning. A pretty woman stood near me who I stole glances at till an older woman stood between her and me; and so not wanting to notice the older woman and feel compelled to yield her my seat, I concentrated on the Chinese text I had up on my Ipad.
  • I say I concentrated but I really should say that I stared. As I mentioned earlier, I was thinking about how I was to get Wifi. I was actually thinking of getting off at the bus stop near Baoli where I can get Wifi, but it seemed too risky. I tried 85 degree instead.
  • I had a good turnout at my English Corner last night, or at least much more than I am accustomed to. I made jokes about how I was glad to see some old faces having worried that they might have been on that flight from Malaysia that had gone missing.
  • This morning, I have an English Corner at City Hall. The photos I forgot to download are meant to be used at that English Corner. I was going to talk about parts of cities with the students and so I had some photos to show them.
  • I am rushing to get things I want to do done before I head off the City Hall with Dwight.
  • [Later] There were only four people at the City Hall English Corner. What a shame!
  • I had lunch at McDonald's: the bacon and potato burger.
  • After the city hall English Corner and having prepared for my classes this evening, I have not much to do but my daily projects. I have looked at 575 flashcards, typed a page from the New Practical Chinese Reader, read an article of Aquinas, read two acts of All's Well that Ends Well, typed about fifteen characters into a database, and I am about to try and understand this article I have been reading in a magazine. I mentioned the magazine yesterday.
  • As we (Dwight and I) rode back from City Hall, we saw lots and lots of apartment buildings.
  • I was trying to figure out how to make a database program with Python.
  • The 701th to 800th flashcards I was working with were difficult. I was only able to identify 49 of them on the first try.

Saturday [March 15]
[School Laptop]
  • My shift today: 10:00 to 18:00.
  • After I arrived home last night, it seemed like I was still in the doghouse with Jenny. She didn't say anything to me.
  • I really haven't talked to Tony much since Monday. He has been asleep when I have arrived home in the evening. In the mornings, he doesn't say much to me.
  • A girl named Ritz, who I gave a package of Ritz Cheese Sandwich Crackers to, told me that she ordered a box of them on Taobao, the popular Chinese Internet Shopping Site. If she really likes them, she told me she would buy more.
  • One of my classes last night was a waste of time. I had a junior high school student who didn't want to be there. His life, from what I could make out, was boring to the extreme: homework and classes. Of course, if he took the right attitude to this work, it would pay off for him in the future.
  • On the bus this morning, I read an actual book instead of an e-book on my Ipad. The book was a Chinese grammar and workbook that I bought all those years ago when I was preparing to move to China. I felt I needed to review the grammar in the book. I have been concentrating so much on learning characters that I am now at the point where I can recognize many characters in a sentence but not have any idea of the sentence's meaning.
  • I listened to a John Derbyshire podcast as I got read to go to work.
  • I could say I had two breakfasts. At Casa K, I had a bowl of oatmeal, an apple, a package of the Ritz Cheese Crackers, some dry meat, and a cup of tea; downtown, I got a egg sausage burger with hash brown from McDonald's.
  • [Later] It is lunchtime. I can say that I have had two classes. They were both one-on-one, nothing difficult to do, though the second student I had to chastise because she hadn't been paying attention to what I had just taught her. Five minutes after teaching her the proper way to answer the question What do you do?, she told me she didn't understand the question. Flabbergasted, I ended up drilling the answer into her. Five times I asked the question; five times she answered it in the proper manner.
  • For lunch, I will eat a can of oranges that I have had in my backpack all week.

Sunday [March 16]
[School Laptop]
  • I am doing an extra shift today: 10:00 to 17:00.
  • Yesterday evening, I meet Jenny & Tony and Ling Ling & Jerry at a restaurant in the Hui Shan Wanda Plaza. Tony was happy to see me and immediately asked if he could play with my Ipad. I let him and justified it to myself by thinking how he hadn't actually played with it since last Saturday.
  • I drank two beers instead of my usual one for dinner. I was thirsty and bored.
  • Afterward, I went to the DQ in Wanda to get an Oreo Blizzard. The women and children went to this honeymoon dessert place to get their desserts. Tony & I left the Mall early because Tony wanted to go home early and play on the computer. But before we left the Mall, we took a look at the spring clothing on the shelves at Uni-Qlo, a chain store that reminds me of the Gap. At Uni-Qlo, they sell Takara TOMY t-shirts which Tony likes very much.
  • At home, I played with my Apple TV device and played Real Racing Three on the Ipad. Tony played Train Simulator on my computer.
  • Was affectionate with Jenny, hmmm hmmmm, during the night.
  • This morning, I had two breakfasts again. At home, I had a cup of tea and four slices of bread; before going to school, I had coffee, an egg sausage sandwich, and two hash browns.
  • On the bus, read the second chapter of my Basic Chinese Grammar and Workbook.
  • At school, I got a lot of things to do. My priorities are classes, this diary, printing off next week's todo list, emailing myself these files, and looking for good B2B sites on the 'net.
  • And of course, I do want to get some Chinese study in.
  • Yesterday, I had a class with a girl who is learning Cello. In the morning, her father drove her to Shanghai to have a lesson. The other girl in class was learning to play the wujin, a harp like instrument that instead of being stood up, is laid on a table top or on legs.
  • [Later] Lunchtime. I am eating 牛肉饭(Niurou Fan or Beef Fried Rice) at my desk after having executed a perfect order-take-out-and-then-pick-it-up-operation. The restaurant is near my school and so I walk into it, say 牛肉饭 and then say 我去买东西 (I go buy things.) I then walk to a small convenience, buy a drink, and return to pick up my rice which is usually waiting for me to be picked up.
  • In my first morning class, I had a coincidence and a near-coincidence. A student Jenny was born on December 24th – the same birthday as me. The other student Grace was born on April 13th – the date before my mother's birthday.
  • I gave Jenny her English name. She had a Chinese name of Jin and that was the only English name I knew of that could approximate it.
  • People in the West who are born on December 24th are an aggrieved minority. December 24thers are probably more aggrieved that the American Negro and even more aggrieved that a white person speaking the truth.
  • In my second class, I asked the students if today in Wuxi was an ideal day for a picnic. It being a nice early spring day, I was expecting the students to answer in the affirmative. But this one student, a male high school student named Unicorn, said that today wasn't a good day because of all the smog. So I then asked the students if there wasn't so much smog today would it be a good day for a picnic. Another student, another male high school student who likes to always buttons his shirt up to the very top button, said that there were too many people in Wuxi. Saying okay in an exasperated manner, I then asked the students if there wasn't so much smog and weren't so many people today in Wuxi, would it be a good day to have a picnic. One of those two students then said that there weren't many facilities in Wuxi to have picnics. “How about this?” I asked, “Would it be a good day for a picnic if we were in Canada and had today's weather?” Unicorn said that he didn't like going to picnics. “Okay!” I then said. “We are in Canada, Unicorn can't come with us, and the weather is like today in Wuxi. Would TODAY BE A GOOD DAY FOR A PICNIC?!?!?”
  • [Later] One more class to teach! Not much to report from the two classes I have taught since lunch.
  • I will now mail the contents of this file to myself so I can continue on with my blogging when I get home tonight.

Monday [March 17]
[School Laptop]

  • I didn't continue on with my blogging last night. After work, I met up with my wife and son downtown. We then took the bus to the Wanda Plaza where we had dinner and did some shopping. When we got home, we played with our devices. Tony wanted to use my laptop to play Train Simulator which meant I could do no blogging.
  • Today, the high is to be 23 degrees Celsius. I won't be wearing a toque, scarf, or jacket today.
  • I have typed about 81/4 pages of blogging at font size 12!
  • I have spent an hour and a half going over this entry. There are probably still many mistakes.