Far from thinking that Beijing is not a desirable place to live I will say that there are prettier cities in the world.. The ‘Haze’ has been pretty intense this last week. It’s frequently foggy here, but I haven’t actually seen fog in about 3 months. James’ parents are in town this week visiting, and I wish for their sakes it was a little nicer.. Not much I can do about it though. If it was up to me every city in the world would have the look of Dubai with the feel of Chicago, the skyline of Hong Kong, the weather of San Diego and the nestled placement of Seattle. That,is where I would love to set up shop for the rest of my life. ..Again though, if it was up to me. Unfortunately it isn’t..
This week is Mid-terms for the Fall semester so we’re at the quarter marker for our academic year. Without driving it into the ground, I will add again that everything is going by so fast. I don’t know how people are feeling back home, but here I feel like everything’s in that awkward fast forward setting on our DVD players. Kind of quick and glitchy enough so that moments become harder to remember. I’m still enjoying it though. I was telling one of my friends here the other day that I think I’ve finally figured out how to handle all of the classes that I teach. Each one requires a different version of ‘teacher’ so I have to slide into those roles every time the melody kicks in and class begins. It’s challenging sometimes, but I’m getting better at it. I think what is helping me the most is just spending more time with the students outside of class. We’ve had 2 game nights now, 1 Halloween party, a few rounds of office hours and a couple random ‘drive-bys’ with kids stopping by the apartment here to chat. It’s been nice.. And lunch! Who knew a meal could be so much more profitable than taking in nutrients..
I’ve seen now that improving my ability to be a good teacher is not nearly as important as simply putting in the effort to be a good friend.. It might sound a little cheesy (okay, okay) but IT’S TRUE. That switch in focus makes all the difference in the world.
Yesterday, after traversing the Silk Market and significantly bargaining down a pair of Dre’s new headphones with an Indian oncologist from Luxembourg (yes, he was that awesome), the Li family invited me over for dinner and a movie. It was such a privilege to be able to join them.. I tutor their son Harry and his friend Andy on Saturday mornings at 10 so we’ve really started to build a sweet bond. It’s been great hanging out with those two kids and getting to know Harry’s parents. His mom, Michelle, is an incredible cook so we enjoyed dinner together, did some talking, and then watched The Next 3 Days. A lot of fun.. I’m really hoping that relationship continues to grow. I love having a family in the city here who live within biking distance that I can visit and feel a part of.. It’s helpful, especially when I start missing my own.