Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Two of my former students met me this afternoon to give me a Thank You gift for helping them with their SATs last semester. These are two giggly, giggly girls and meeting with me without being consumed by shy laughter was doubtless a struggle for them, so I appreciate the effort.

Their gift: two cards (super cute, full of all sorts of lies about what a great teacher I am) and two nice books of Chinese poetry, one of which even has English translations. But, for instance: the first poem in the section “Yuan, Ming, and Qing Poems” has been given the English title, “Poem to the tune of Groping for Fish.” Frankly this is not a tune I am familiar with.

On the basis of this title alone I put the chances of my reading this book at, like, 30%. Given that this is a book of totally incomprehensible nature poems, I’d say that’s pretty high.

The other book is called “If life were only as it once looked”: The Beauty and Sorrow of Ancient Poetry and has no English words in it of any kind. I am telling you right now I will not read this book. The card from my student said the book was “easy to understand” but that card was full of lies.

And girls, if you find this blog post: of course I will read your books! They look really interesting! But they also look scary. (This is sort of how I feel about groping fish.)

They also asked some questions about American colleges while we were there. One said that she had actually been looking into a few women’s schools.

When the friend reacted with alarm at this, she turned to her and said very seriously, “I know what you’re thinking but they have buses that bring you to boys.” She paused, and then lowered her voice a little bit.

For dating.”

Paroxysmal cuteness with these two. Really incredible.