The semester is over. Exams started today. I have no idea what I’m teaching next semester because according to the head of the department the schedule has not been made. They create a “phony” schedule (I know not why) with a lot of ridiculous things in it. Maybe it’s just to show the times of the classes for the students but I honestly don’t know. Naturally I don’t trust the head of the department because he’s a jerk and a well-known liar. When I spoke to him a month ago he told me not to worry, I would not be teaching Foundation classes (beginners). Now he tells me that of course, I will have to teach 1 Foundation class and then I can teach one regular class. We will see when we see.
The “woman” in charge of the Foundation program has turned into my worst enemy. I don’t know the reason but I feel she has taken a strong dislike to me. If students accuse me of something, which is not true (I favour girls), I have to defend myself. She says she’s just trying to hear my side but it feels more like the Spanish Inquisition (queue Monty Python here). She says she tells me things and wonders why I don’t do them. Perhaps the reason is she doesn’t tell me the things that she’s said she told me, but there is no point getting into an argument with her. She never admits to making a mistake but I think her parents made a bigger mistake when they hatched her. She’s in her late 20’s I guess and is just so unpleasant and disrespectful. I would complain about her to the school but I won’t win because she’s an Omani so I just grin and bear it.
For my Level A students, all their marks are contained in their presentations and their essays. So when they handed in their essays with a week left in the semester, I never saw them again. I don’t know what most of these kids are doing here. In my Level C class they stayed away most of the last week to “study”. I don’t think they know what study means. However, I just go to class and mark them absent. There was a mock exam created for them to practice with but only 2 students showed up that day. I don’t worry about it.
I am getting better about not getting concerned over things I have no control over. I just don’t know how a bunch of supposedly intelligent people can create a program and do such a terrible job of running it. The people here are so caught up in titles (Dr. George anyone). I am not calling someone with a Phd in English “Doctor” anything. If he’s going to be doing surgery on me, then I’ll call him doctor. I think it’s wonderful that he got this degree, but the whole “doctor” thing is pretentious. These morons created an exam schedule and then after they published it they realized that there is a holiday on one of the days so they had to cancel exams for that day and add a day on to the exams. How can you not know when the holidays are when making a schedule? Really, when all is said and done, these people wherever they are from are no better than the Chinese. And I thought the Chinese were the only idiots but I guess I was an idiot for thinking that.
Shujie arrived last Friday (9 days ago) finally. It’s great to have her here and I only worry about her getting bored. So far she hasn’t been bored and I’m not at school all the time because of the end of the semester and the exams. In theory we don’t have any time off for the 3-week winter vacation, however the head of the department said after exams are over we can do what we want. Naturally he said this verbally so he can deny it if he needs to.
Last Thursday after school we went to Muscat (the capital) for the weekend. We met another married couple who teach at the school at a restaurant and had a very nice time. It’s the first time I’ve ever been to a “Trader Vics”, but they had Bloody Marys and as we all know, she’s the girl for me. It was wonderful to be away from Rustaq.
Friday morning we slept until after 10AM (a new record). Since there is nothing really open on a Friday (museums, etc.) we went to the Grand Mall (it’s not so grand) to grab a coffee at Tim Hortons. It was weird. Here are some pictures:
Tim Hortons in the mall.
Shujie with her coffee.
Woman grabbing a coffee but how does she drink it?
You can see the outline of the cup under her vail. They must love Timmy’s here.
After the mall we drove to Wadi Shab. What is a Wadi? It’s like a valley that is dry except when there are periods of rain. The guy at the hotel said it’s beautiful and only about a 40-minute drive. It was nice and the drive was over 90 minutes. However, we had nothing else to do and the drive was pretty. The Wadi was nice and I’m glad we went. I think if he told us the real time it would take to get there, we wouldn’t have gone. Here are some pictures of that voyage:
On the way there.
A rare picture of us together at Wadi Shab.
Just some pictures of the place.
We went back to the Grand Mall afterwards and had dinner at Chili’s. I always have to go to the American chains when I’m overseas. The nachos were okay and the fajita’s were lousy, but Shujie loved her beef ribs. You can’t get pork ribs here but as long as she liked her food, that’s good. You can’t drink there. If you want to have alcohol you usually have to go to a big hotel or resort. There are a few liquor stores but you need a license to buy alcohol. They are easy to get but since we don’t drink at home, we don’t need the license.
Friday night was terrible. I felt sick through the night and had trouble breathing (cold maybe) and on Saturday I felt no better. We cancelled museums and decided to just go to the Carrefour (large supermarket) before heading back to Rustaq. I wanted some nacho chips, salsa, jalapenos, and cheddar cheese if they had it and lucky for me they did. I don’t know why I can’t get it here at the supermarket in Barka (where we go and about 40 minutes from Rustaq). I bought a couple of subs at Subway in the food court to eat later (have to have my Subway) and we came back.
I didn’t sleep last night except for about an hour and I monitored an exam today. I slept about 2 ½ hours this afternoon so I probably won’t sleep tonight. I hate when my schedule goes off like this. I monitor 1 exam tomorrow and Tuesday is a holiday. Then I have no monitoring duties until next Sunday. I have no exams to mark because I marked some last week for Level D students. Level D students are the lowest of the low and they pass to Level C even if they fail the exam. Why mark them? No one asked me. If they fail a Level C exam they get two more semesters at Level D to try and pass the exam. I had to mark some of those and it was said. It’s no fun to fail everyone.
I have no idea what we will do on the holiday or if I’ll go to school on Wednesday and Thursday. It would be nice to go away again. I think we’ll make a Dubai (4 hours) run over the holidays, which are not holidays. I love my car and it’s so easy to drive. I went off-road on the weekend and used the 4X4. It’s nice.
So that’s it for now. I will survive. I don’t miss China but I miss the actual classes, which were so much more fun than these. Some teachers like this. It’s easy, but I prefer a challenge and I prefer making a fool out of myself to get a laugh. I can’t do that here because of this repressed society. I’m not condemning it because they like it and they love their country. At least, that’s what the Holy Quran tells them to do.