Hey, guys! Things are happening. THINGS!!
Last night marked my first foray into the world of Xinjiang food. Xinjiang is a province in westernmost China with a Muslim majority, so their food is quite different from the rest of China. Check it out–Xinjiang pizza! Naan, potatoes, peppers, and some kind of mystery meat.
My friend and I also made the mistake of ordering “beef waist” skewers, whatever part of the cow that’s supposed to be. Not recommended.
In other exciting news, I finally got my bike fixed for about $5. New tire, new pedals, and the guy even wiped all the dirt off. Unfortunately he couldn’t do anything about the rust.
I met another American teacher who is not a jerk (this is quite rare, actually. Foreigners here can really be assholes.) Also, one of my new students this semester is amazing and offered to take me to a section of the great wall that snakes through the Tianjin area. And somewhat less thrilling, I got yelled at in a bathroom. Again.
But this is a good story, so bear with me. So I went to my fancy new gym and walked into the girl’s locker room to drop off my jacket. As I walked in, I heard some lady yelling behind me. I couldn’t understand what she was saying, but I knew it was directed at me. But having been the victim of this so many times in China, I decided to ignore her and see what happened.
She ended up being one of the gym’s janitors and followed me into the locker room, yelling all the while. I turned to her, and she just looked at me for a second.
“This is the girl’s dressing room!” she said, predictably. Then, a moment of hesitation. “Are you a guy or girl?”
I gave her my best exasperated smile. “Actually, I’m a girl.”
She looked me up and down, sparing a long glance for my sports bra-smashed boobage. “Oh, I really couldn’t tell. I saw you walking, and you walked with such… confidence!”
Yes, that’s right. This lady said I walked with SWAGGER! So as embarrassing as it was to get yelled at once again, at least I got some kind of compliment out of it. Maybe the key to not attracting this sort of attention out here is to adopt the prevalent Chinese girl shuffle? I’d rather not.
On the school front, the upheaval I caused by failing some of my postgraduate oral English students has been resolved. I conducted a make-up test with two Chinese English teachers at my university. I asked the simplest questions I could think of, like “What did you do last weekend?” and “What is your favorite hobby?” But the other two teachers were RUTHLESS with their questions. “Do you think you are a successful person?” “How do you define happiness?” “How would you rate your English, and what are some ways you can improve?” I felt sorry for my poor students… but I’m sure the university will pass all of them.
In one of my shining moments as a teacher, I somehow skipped grading one of the students on my sheet… which meant we got to the last student, and I thought we still had one more student to grade. So for all I knew, I had given most of the students on my grading shot the wrong score. But the other teachers told me not to worry about it, which basically informed me that they were planning on ripping up my sheet or otherwise disregarding it completely. In this case, that might be for the best.