Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Typhoon Wipha coming to Hangzhou

Tim's Teaching Starts

Today was my first teaching day.  I taught 3 classes that were two hours each, about 90 students total.  My 4th class is on Friday.  My students are graduate students and they are incredibly smart - some of their Masters subjects:  Molecular Biology, Law, Economics,  Organic Chemistry, Optical Engineering, Physics, Electronics, Education, Mathematics and more.  One girl asked me, "What is a meter X 10 to the -9 power called in English?"  I told her it was a "nanometer" and she was very happy to know this for some paper she was writing!

I started by assigning them Western names, and many of them had no idea, so I assigned them names I knew!  So, now there are many Randys, Lindas, Dans, Judys, Bobs, Amys, Andrews, Julias, Sues,  Chrises, Kathleen and Caras running around China!

The classes went very well - I am excited to teach them and they are excited to learn English from a Real Westerner.

The weather turned very rainy today and started during the 1 hour bus ride to school so of course I forgot my umbrella.  I RAN from the bus to my office - I could have swam there and stayed dryer!  So for my first class I was COMPLETELY soaked - Iooked like a drowned rat!  Eventually I dried by the 3rd class, except for my feet!

One of the other teachers offered me a ride in her new car to the canteen.  We had lunch together but many people had parked behind her so she needed to back out in an "S" fashion.  She didn't feel comfortable doing it in her new car so she asked me to!  It was a fairly easy maneuver, and then she said just go ahead and drive us back to class, so I did!  It was a very short distance, otherwise I would have insisted that she drive because I could get fined heavily for driving without a Chinese license.

Most people in China have only driven a few months to a few years so you have to be very careful on the road and assume everyone is a new driver.  My friend had only driven for 6 months which is why she was uncomfortable about backing up!

On the Home Front

Sue stayed home today and had quite the exciting day.  First, she boiled my socks.  I have been having problems with Athlete's Foot due to the moist climate and/or sweaty feet in hot weather!  Today did not help! I think that washing socks in cold water all the time does not kill all of the germs, and there is no dryer here either.  So Sue boiled my socks today in an effort to get them extra clean.  Is that love or what?  She also got to use her fancy new clothes hanger.

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Jack also stayed home today as he needed a mental break from Chinese. He still likes noodles though!

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Peter hanging out doing Runescape.

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Typhoon Wipha Coming

The storm we experienced today is apparently a precursor to Typhoon Wipha.  It is a major typhoon (see msnbc story) so the kids were asked to stay home from school tomorrow.  Sue however is still scheduled to teach classes, so she will leave for the bus at 6am.  From what we can tell, all construction has stopped and people are battening down the hatches!  We are in a fairly protected area and our building is built like a concrete bunker.  The walls are at least 1 foot thick so we're not worried.  The locals are taking it as a matter of course so we're trying to do the same.  We laid in some extra food and water just to be safe.  The boys get to miss school tomorrow, so to them, the typhoon is crazy awesome.

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After the wet ride to the restaurant, we're enjoying a lovely Chinese meal.  We ordered lots of extra food in case we need to stay in tomorrow.  All the mothers out there - don't worry, we'll be fine!

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Sue starts teaching tomorrow and is a busy bee preparing her materials.  We'll let you know how it goes! 

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