I head into my office to interview two more of my students for the blog/book “The Girls of Room 405”. After school Katie’s friend Yuanyuan comes over for a two night sleepover. They immediately go outside to the campus park to play…the first time Katie has had a playmate here at her place since we got to
Saturday, May 31
In the morning, one of the grad student who routinely audits my class (but rarely speaks) stops by the apartment. She has signed a contract to be an NBC tour guide and she wants to borrow my guide books. (This is the same NBC that hasn’t got much of a budget to pay moi. Maybe I should apply to be a tour guide?) And this student who has been in
Katie, Yuanyuan and I head out to the movie theater that we think has the “Spiderwick Chronicles” and we find it nearby! Wow, a whole group of stores and action nearby that I never saw before. Initially, I am assuming this will be typical silly kids movie and I’ll nap, but it is actually a pretty good, scary-ish movie. No napping here, I was jumping out of my seat. We then go to the Friendship hotel for a swim in their very cold pool and then to TGIFriday’s for dinner. There is a family at the next table, Asian, with an African-American baby…we smile pleasantly, and I restrain myself from asking, is this kid adopted? If so, that would be the first time I’ve seen an Asian family with a black kid.
Sunday, June 1
Katie and Yuanyuan head out to the park and play happily all morning, feeding fish and birds and just being kids. This is so great. After Yuanyuan’s mother comes to pick her up, Katie and I head up to Carrefour’s for groceries. While we are in the store, it has started to rain – no, pour -- and there are about 50 people under the store awning trying to get cabs. And the cabs are all full. We have four huge bags and there is no way I can carry them, even if it wasn’t raining. We attempt repeatedly to get a cab and after 15 minutes I am getting impatient. It is after 6 and I have a meeting at . It is time to get aggressive. I go out into the middle of the road and run up to a cab that is offloading its passengers. I fend off, with a few shoves and my large American butt, several other Chinese rushing the same cab. I wedge my bottom into the front seat and park myself there. I know if I leave the cab to go help Katie with the groceries, the others will take the taxi, so Katie is stranded at the store entrance with two giant bags of groceries. I tell her to come quickly before I lose the cab to the others hovering at the back door like vultures. She drags the groceries to the cab, but she is pissed to have been left at the curb with ten tons of groceries. (And probably mortified to watch her mother nearly get into a brawl with some folks to get a taxi). But there was no other way. We would have been there all night if I remained the polite, restrained, wait-your-turn American. When in
One of the boys who had been in class where I gave a guest lecture contacted me a few days ago and asked if I would like to be part of a discussion group that they have on Sundays. I agreed to meet with them at . There were four students, two girls and two boys. One is a member of the Party, another on his way to
I have been back and forth and up and down about whether to stay in
1) You may not like it there, and you may miss home, but I guarantee that you will regret it more if you don't stay. Similar to The Clashes remark "if I stay there will be trouble, but if I go it will be double." Also, if you come home early, I am going to yell and complain at you for not staying and generally make your life a living hell. Promise.
2) You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't, so you might as well do it. That is to say, you will probably be unhappy either way, but if you stay it will certainly be more interesting than if you came home. The most miserable of experiences make the best stories. Trust me, I'm a glutton for punishment.
3)You'd miss the Olympics. In
4) Dad and Jeremy and I like having the house to ourselves. We can sleep in all day, not clean ourselves or the house, walk around in our underpants, etc. Don't get me wrong, we love you, but it is nice not having to tidy up and behave ourselves for the women folk.
So, Rory wins me over. I miss him and everyone else and want to come home but he makes a good point. Staying is a once in a lifetime deal.
Monday, June 2
I head into my office to see Michelle and edit her script. Then I work on corporate influence of media lecture. I start making contacts for summer freelance work here. Hannah stops by and informs that all computers are broken, her entire story is lost, there is only one person who can fix them and he’s away for a week – the last week of the semester when everyone has final projects due. This is hard to fathom. I email Mercy and ask if there isn’t anyway on this entire campus that can deal with the computer meltdown. Ugh!! I am in a snit over that when I head to lunch with a Chinese girl attending the New England Conservatory who is looking for a place to live next fall. Stephen is open to the idea, and I could use the sitter, but my gut says it won’t work out. I need someone after school hours who can drive and she won’t be able to do that. We to the nearby Angel Restaurant and I order, via the NEC student who speaks English very well, chicken with NO bones, no spice and water. I get spicy chicken necks with a million bones, and boiling water poured into my wine glass. When I try to explain that I really want a bottle of cold water, the stuff you can get at any store in
After lunch I nail down
Tuesday, June 3
I hear from the book agent who likes the idea for a “Girls from room 405” book. I interview
Wednesday, June 4
I wear black in memory of the students who died 19 years ago today (my subtle protest). I interview Pensy. Stability, steady are most important to her. She worries that earthquake parents protest could get out of control. A student comes to my office and reveals that she has a boyfriend, someone she has known since high school. But she needs my advice: Should she tell her parents? She worries they won’t like him, he’s not prominent or rich or handsome, she says. My new role in
Thursday, June 5
Busy Day. I head out to BISS with Katie, sign her up for soccer camp and get signatures on leavers form so we can get our deposit back. Then head to Starbucks to wait for the driver Simon, who is late again. Simon has had no college or high school, but Becket is his favorite author. This is what I love about