On boxing and Lois

Greetings and salutations and all that stuff. Boxing has nothing to do with Lois, and Lois has nothing to do with boxing. However, those are the two topics that stand first in my head at the moment. I know I don’t post a lot (especially compared to the Korean “adventure”) but as I’ve mentioned before, I think it was misery that caused all that writing. I am not miserable but there is a limited amount of activity in my life. I have not discovered any of Changsha (if there is any to discover). I’ve been out drinking twice and I think that’s it since Shujie says I have a 2-drink limit, which is crap, but I don’t care to fight. We were going to go to a Mexican restaurant last weekend but we phoned first and guess what? It’s closed. That really wasn’t a surprise to me since I don’t think they have a Western (or Mexican) population to support it. That’s too bad. Shujie did make fajitas at home and while not great (cheap chicken), it was a valiant and appreciated effort.

I go to work and I basically work 3 days a week from 9 to 11:30 and 2 days a week from 9 to 10:40. The hours are nothing and the work is nothing but the pay is great (for China). I think I started with 6 students in my class but now I think I have 5. It is a rare day that I see all 5 in the class on the same day. I’ve stopped lecturing and mostly am there to assist them as they write their thesis for the course. I don’t mind the one on one work as I feel that I’m accomplishing something (and my #1 student confirmed that for me), and we do spend time in just idle chit-chat since I tell them things of interest they know nothing about, and they tell me things that I know nothing about. I can speak freely (and so can they). Do you know the idiom, “don’t shut the barn door after the horses have bolted” or something like that? In China they say, “the rice is cooked”. I like that. It means the same but it’s interesting to know how they phrase things.

I nap in the afternoon for a bit. I don’t sleep well at night (no idea why), so my afternoon sleep is good and needed. I think I get episodes of CHF (congestive heart failure) fairly regularly. I think that because my legs swell so I am retaining water. When that happens I increase my dosage of Furosemide (a water pill) and it clears up. When I was in the hospital for CHF they told me to rest and increased my Furosemide dosage so I just do the same. It is what it is so I don’t worry about it, I just deal with it.

I still have to walk up 4 flights of stairs every morning for class and it’s a killer. I can do 3 now before having a break (which is a huge change from ½ a flight that I started from). I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do 4 in one shot but I don’t worry about it. My shortness of breath comes and goes but the huge difference between before my operation and now is I know where my body is and what is “abnormal” in my condition. Before I just knew there was something wrong. If you know there is a problem, you can adjust your thinking and your expectations. I’ve found that adjusting my expectations has been a huge help to my mental health and I know longer beat myself up with what I can’t do. So I can’t walk 18 holes of golf, so what? I don’t golf anyway so no loss there.

There is a donut store here called “Daylight Donuts”. It’s a chain in the U.S. that is not huge like “Dunkin Donuts” but their product is far superior. The one Shujie found here makes a good donut (and good coffee too). Shujie likes to visit the Walmart here and the donut shop is right beside it. If you want 6 donuts, they give you a box. If you want less than 6, they put them in a bag. Have you ever bought donuts that they put wax paper around and then throw in a bag on a hot day? All the icing comes off. They’re crap! So I asked Shujie to get them in a box (I think I wanted two). They argued with her. “You want 2 donuts, then you get a bag”. These Chinese people can be pretty weird. Shujie told me they went back and forth arguing until finally they gave her a box and told her, “Fine! Whenever you come in you’ll get a box”, which really means F.U. So now she always gets a box. It’s a stupid fight but China is full of stupid (to a Western person) fights. Damn good donuts though. A Chinese-Canadian owns this franchise. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Daylight Donuts in Canada. And that’s my boxing story.

I just found out today that Lois Lilienstein died last week. For those of us a certain age (which means we had small children in the 80’s), Lois was the Lois in the musical group “Sharon, Lois, and Bram”, which had a TV show called “The Elephant Show”. As a parent I would watch it too at times because it didn’t talk down to kids. Sharon, Lois, and Bram were a musical group and they created “The Elephant Show” which my kids loved and I enjoyed. We went to see them in concert and I was deeply saddened to learn of her passing because of the joy she brought to my kids. For all of us who know and appreciate “Skinamarinky” here is a video of the song:

I think classes are over in just over a month and I don’t know what the plan is. I have 3 weeks and 3 days of holidays so I might go to Toronto (about $2,000 for the flight) and then teach for this group I work for. I don’t know if they have a plan in place yet but as long as I’m paid, who cares. I think I’m supposed to be teaching English to high school graduates this summer and then in the fall it’s back to the University graduates again and thesis writing. My contract goes until the end of December and Shujie and I, in our idiocy, are thinking of opening our own school in Baoding. I refuse to teach young kids (I like them but don’t want them as students). Shujie only wants to have high school students or older but that means working evenings (which I hate). My idea is to try and sell ourselves (or me) to businesses to teach in-house English classes. That would mean daytime work and no kids. Apparently there are very few English schools in Baoding (and it’s a growing city) so she’s going to do some investigating. She has done some and she says she was told by the head of the business license office in Baoding (an old school-mate of hers) that there are only 4 English schools in the city. I guess since I’ll be over 60 and very difficult to hire, I need to have my own school. It would be Shujie’s and I wouldn’t even be an employee or just an “off the books” employee. Que Sera Sera.

It’s supposed to be 30C tomorrow followed by 32C the day after. The weather here is insane and if you look at the forecast at midnight, it may be quite different from when you look at 8AM. I’m not ready to sweat but I can wear shorts to work if I want. I’m kind of bored but I’m not sure what I want to do. Money is not good at the moment due to the extended period of time when I didn’t work due to my useless heart surgery. We have expenses like Qi Ji’s wedding (Shujie’s son). If I want to go to Toronto, it’s big bucks plus all the medicine I have to buy. Believe it or not, I’m not complaining. It’s just what it is. You can get an excellent hamburger here in town so it’s not all bad.

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1 comment
  1. Teaching in China has also become boring for me. I’m homesick and looking forward 2 months rather than live in the now. There are no hamburgers here, although a real German restaurant has opened, run by a real German. Good beer!

    If you go home, I will try to visit in Toronto. Visiting Changsha may be a little difficult. Like you, I’m not sure when my classes will end but I’m shooting for a departure from Karamay date of June 22 which will get me in Michigan June 24. We’ll see what happens.

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