Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm ill, not sick

Young money!


Before everyone decides to move to China and make a milli' dollars, remember that Mao-money isn't real money. It's like Monopoly money, except 1.3 billion people are playing, and no one ever gets to be the top hat or the battleship. (Too bourgeois.)

We got paid in cash this month because there was a problem with the bank account that I (painstakingly!) opened at a Chinese bank last week. The problem was with our names: the school direct deposit system only has room for 4 characters in the name field (because no Chinese name is longer than 4 characters), but our bank accounts are under our English names, because that's what's on our passport. So the school tried to make a deposit into an account under the name "Jona". Which is no one's name.

(Our names continually cause problems for the school; recall Gus's photo of our banquet placard, which identifies me as "Daniel", which, with my name, is essentially the only wrong choice.)
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Apropos of the post title, I am ill. Or sick. Or I was, at least. I had a cold. (Is it acceptable to make a Gay Talese reference at this point? Anyone?) Anyway, then I drank something in our kitchen called 感冒茶 (confusingly, "catch cold tea"), and now it's gone. So, yeah, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM, as we call it in the biz) is officially better than science, because, compared to this stuff, those zinc lozenges are bull. shit. The drink was delicious, by the way, but I looked at the ingredients list, and, seeing nothing I could recognize, I assume it's made of chicken testes, agent orange, and lead. Not entirely implausible.

As one of my students said about 9 times in class last week, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Do you see how that had no relation to what came before it? Well then you're ahead of her.
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When the loudspeakers in the school aren't broadcasting announcements and soma advertisements, they generally play music after school hours. Lots of it is American/Western music. Songs heard in the past week (seriously): "Just Dance", "1234", Selections from "The Nutcracker", Selections from "The Super Mario Brothers 8-Bit Theme Song".

Speaking of music, I should clarify that I wasn't being strictly truthful when I said Gus and I already had tickets to the Twelve Terrors concert. We did talk about it. And they are RMB 50. (At that price, now that I got paid, I could buy out the theater and grab some alone time with the boys.) But it is right at the beginning of the national holiday break, so we might both be out of town. But I think that poster will haunt my dreams for a long, long time.
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This week we're playing a game where we talk about our ideal fiancé(e)s in front of the class. (It's a chance for the students to describe other people with positive and negative characteristics, for those of you who pretend to care about pedagogical goals.) I need to model the sentence for the class, so I write
"My ideal fiancée would be intelligent, attractive, and funny."
on the blackboard. I have engineered this sentence to be as boring as possible while still being true, because I don't want to step on the students' creativity-toes.

Every time I write it up, though, I describe how fiancé(e) has a different number of e's depending on whether you're marrying a man or a woman. And every time, when I write my sentence, I say, "now, you can see that I've written it with two e's, because obviously I'm not marrying a man." And then my students laugh and laugh.