I’m having a Claritin moment. This morning I popped the very last allergy pill in my supply of American drugs. I knew this moment was coming, as the pollution since last week has been atrocious. Now that the weather is getting colder, more people are burning coal, and walking through the new campus the other day I could feel the grains of soot settling onto my eyeballs. My throat and lungs burn, and my head throbs. It makes me nostalgic for my allergy attacks in L.A. The pollution level here is twice as bad.
Thankfully, I felt fine this past Saturday for my presentation on Global Warming to the UESTC debate team. I’d been invited by another teacher to be a guest speaker, and my audience of 12 sat in rapt attention as they watched my PowerPoint presentation (put together with MUCH help from my friend and “research assistant”) and a clip from Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Then I got to watch the students in action as they debated the topic. I had spent 3 weeks putting the presentation together, and it wore me out.
Burn, baby, burn….
Saturday night was fun, fun, fun, as I helped my friend celebrate his birthday by eating my first Beijing Duck. Between us we consumed a whole duck, plus a plate full of lotus root and a bowl of soup. I was in duck heaven. Afterward we treated ourselves to a pair of DQ Blizzards. They have funky flavors here like green tea with brown beans, and black tea. I had cheesecake flavor with Oreos. Some quick shopping at the ultra-luxury Japanese department store Isetan, then home.
This week’s classes don’t make much demand on my voice, as the students are spending their time doing job interview role plays. I participated as well, and I got hired as marketing manager at 2 different firms. Sometimes I even amaze myself.
Tonight I was staggering home feeling like death warmed over, lugging two bottles of water and a supply of junk food, when a Chinese teacher friend hijacked me and took me to dinner at 好朋友 (“Good Friends” restaurant). He needed last-minute help with his Fulbright Scholarship application, due tomorrow, and I was happy to oblige, but my mental processes are not optimal today, what with the allergy thing. When I finally made it home, the dog was so excited to see me that he peed on the floor, necessitating some quick clean-up. He had also succeeded in removing more paint from the living room baseboard with his teeth.
5 more weeks of class, then Winter Break. Not a moment too soon. Time to put myself to bed now.
Shadows on a sidewalk