Home > Uncategorized > Live from Zhong Shan, it’s Saturday afternoon… 9/5/09

Live from Zhong Shan, it’s Saturday afternoon… 9/5/09

The intensive English program for the freshman started this Wendesday—it’s called EEP but I don’t know what the first E stands for. I drown in copious educational acronyms. I sat with one of the professors, a Canadian woman named Suzanne and proctored a two and a half hour exam, most of the time of which she spent telling me about humidifiers and screens and how to take buses here. This seems to be a recurring theme with the professors. For the first couple of days it was all right, but now it’s starting to get annoying. My roommate Megan and I sat down on some wicker furniture to enjoy the breeze next to one of the British profs and he began to list all of the buses we could take from the school into the city without taking a breath.

“Oh my god! Megan, we’ve got to go!” I said, looking at my phone in shock. We said goodbye and fled down the hall to our offices. Megan gave my hand a playful whack and my phone went flying down the hall. I guess that’s my karma.

The professor whose class I’m working in is a skinny Belgian named Michel. He’s 38 but described himself to the class as middle aged—I gave him a bit of a sideways look and he said to me, “with my lifestyle?? I’m definitely going to be dead by 76.”

I’m starting to get an idea of the kind of people who take permanent jobs like this. They’re all a little nuts. Michel, however, is very likable and has a quirky sense of humor. He’s also Flemish—red headed and pasty like me and carries a towel wherever he goes, calling himself Linus. He doesn’t send me the e-mails about what we’re doing for class until a t minus a couple hours. I keep waiting for the messages to self-destruct. If they did it wouldn’t be that bad. We still don’t have computers in our office, so it would be no loss for me.

The students are pretty hilarious, complete with hand-picked names like Pill, Cherry, and QJ, who told me that he named himself that because it sounded the most like LL Cool J. In Megan’s class, there’s a kid named T-Bag. That’s right. I don’t know what I’d do if he were in mine. Probably start giggling the way I did yesterday when we were screening possible songs to sing for the performance next week and the students wanted to try Josh Groban‘s “You Raise me Up.”
“I am stronger when I’m on your shoulders!!” The kids hollered.

“I am taller when I’m on your shoulders!!” Michel sang sotto voce to me. I hunched giggling in the corner, so naturally the entire class sang louder because they thought they were highly entertaining. They were right.

They wanted to sing MJ’s Heal the World as well. Michel was doing his best to explain the Biblical imagery. “Does anyone know where the the reference ‘turn your swords into plowshares’ comes from?” He said, writing “plowshares” on the board. One student shouted “the Bible” but almost simultaneously a girl said, “The UN?”

The herd of TA’s has taken to late afternoon exercise, taking advantage of the cloud cover and the campus facilities. We went to the pool the other day and got into a pretty intense game of Frisbee-five hundred, where we all stood in a big clump and tried to fight each other to catch the Frisbee for points. Rooey, from UCLA, fancies himself a bit of a womanizer and has been going after Megan with pedal to the ground. In a brief deceleration, he trolled my dating history a bit, and after finding out that I’ve dated black guys, began to swim around me in circles singing, “Emily’s got jungle fevah, Emily’s got jungle feeeeevah…” So when I accidentally kicked him in the balls (for the second time), diving for a three-hundred point Frisbee throw I only kind of felt bad.
I think it’s time for a big slice of dragonfruit. The food has not decreased in deliciousness…ah…
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