Some days you win, some days you lose

And some days you do both.

Monday was Monday as it usually is.  No classes which is good.  I can’t remember what I did (which was probably nothing) which is bad.  I think I tried to watch the baseball game Monday morning (it was Sunday night in North America) and just like I was back in Canada, I fell asleep watching it.  I love sports.  They are so relaxing and such a good sleep aid.

I paid $20 for the MLB post-season package (I hope I haven’t posted that before) and I rarely watch the games but I do watch the condensed version of the games, which take about 20 minutes.  I don’t love them but they’re not too bad.  It’s not the same as watching the full game but I don’t feel I have time to watch a whole game.  Of course I do, but it just feels more right at night.

Monday night was tutor night and Beata came over.  It is truly a struggle to try and understand her.  Her accent is deadly.  I’m good at listening and understanding but it takes almost all my powers to understand her.  And she’s getting better too.  She actually left on her own without Shujie throwing her out although she did overstay her hour.  I’m such a softie.  I really should learn how to say, “time’s up”.

Yesterday’s classes were nothing special.  The speech topic this week is “what kind of man/woman would you like to marry”.  I find it very interesting to hear what they have to say.  Some of them are more mature in what they want than I imagined.  One thing you hear a lot here that you would never hear in the West is that the potential spouse accepts and respects their parents and their wife or husband’s parents.  It seems to be a big deal here and it’s something we would never mention.

I was pleased to hear a lot of people wanting a “sense of humour”, “responsibility”, “not having to be the most beautiful”, and things of that nature.  When they were finished I asked the class why none of the woman wanted a short foreigner with no hair and glasses.  That really puzzled me.

The movie last night was “Dial M For Murder”.  I haven’t seen it in years and I loved it.  Shujie said six students walked out but you can’t love everything.  The few I spoke to claim to have liked it but found parts of it boring.  I’m not sure anyone except me understood it all.  Even Shujie didn’t really know the reason the man wanted his wife killed.  She thought it was something different than it was.  But you had to listen to know.  I don’t think there were as many kids as I had for “Big” which surprised me.  I thought we’d get a bigger crowd because “Big” seemed to be such a hit.  But we shall see.

After my final class yesterday my friend Lisa was outside waiting for me and talking to Shujie.  Lisa is a 1st year student (not in my class) who started talking to me the first day of school.  I’ve offered to tutor her if she wanted but I think she just likes coming to see me after class sometimes or sitting in on my classes when she has a chance.  Because of this relationship I feel I can classify her as “friend”.  She’s a sweet, well-mannered girl who’s English isn’t too bad.  Both Shujie and I are fond of her.  Yesterday I told her that if she wasn’t going away on the weekend, we’d like to take her out for dinner on Saturday night.  I think she was both shocked and pleased.  I feel we can invite her since she’s not a “student” of mine.

Today I had a new student to tutor.  She is in my class but asked for extra help, which made me happy.  I’m glad to help.  She’s a nice girl and we had a nice chat for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  I have to say goodbye after 1 hour.  We met in an empty classroom and a boy was wandering around and just came in and listened because he’d like to be better at English.  He asked me if it was okay if he spoke to me if he saw me outside and I told him, “of course”.  I didn’t offer to tutor but I love when strangers start up a conversation with me.

I asked Julie (the new tutoree), why the students in her class don’t stop talking.  She told me that none of them believed I would kick them out of class for talking.  I told her to watch me this afternoon.  I threw 3 kids out.  Were they shocked.  I knew when the class started that heads would roll because they talk.  It was time to set examples and things got quiet after that.  The last 10 minutes of the class was a disaster because I told them to just keep quiet and I sat down and said nothing.  What bothered me was I had asked a question that most people knew the answer to, so they all shouted out their version of the answer.  I told them I would ask again and they should raise their hands and I’d ask one of them to answer as I couldn’t understand anyone when everybody was talking at the same time.  I asked the same question and no one raised their hand.  I asked again and again no response.  So I gave up.  I told them before they left at the end of class to not come back tomorrow unless they were prepared to participate.  I’m tired of the “Chinese students are shy” line.  This is college.  Granted, a 4th rate college, but college just the same.  If I wanted little kids I’d teach kindergarten (it pays better).

What makes this class look bad on the whole is my other class is wonderful.  They’re quiet and when it’s time to come up to the front to give their speeches all I have to do is say, “who wants to go now”, and they go up.  In other classes you have to call them by name.  It’s wonderful.  No, they’re not all brilliant at English (far from it), and not all of them are interested, but they’re polite and respectful of their fellow students.  They are a pleasure.

Tomorrow is Thursday which is the final day of the week for me.  Then it’s another 4-day weekend.  We’re not going away and the weather is supposed to be rainy.  It’s getting cooler and it goes right though to your bones.  There’s no central heating but we have a machine in the den and in the bedroom.  Monday night was the first time we used them and they didn’t work.  However, Wang Jing had them fixed an hour after we called her.  I visited with her the other day and I thanked her again for being so helpful.  I told her that I only had to worry about teaching because she was very responsive to any problems we might have.  She said it was her job and I told her that it’s not that it’s her job, it’s that she’s helpful.  She doesn’t have to be so helpful in her job but she is.  It’s not easy to compliment some Chinese people but she’s A1 in my book.


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