Sunday, August 31, 2008

Home Life

Now that we're in a proper apartment, I can perhaps go into a bit more detail about what might eventually be my routine.  (I don't want to commit myself or anything...)

We found a filter for Leonard Yusef (our fish - the Chinese word for fish is yu), and he is swimming around rather more now than he was a day ago.  Granted, the filter is probably for a much smaller tank, but we only have one fish for now, and he's a bottom feeder, so between the little filter and Leonard Yusef, I think we'll be OK.  We would like to get him a friend and call her Betty, in honor of Paul Williams (The Wife's brother).  I think even with Betty in the mix Leonard should be able to keep up.

We've also gotten a clothes rack which Katy skillfully put up, a clock for our kitchen which extolls the virtues of citrus and affection, some laundry soap which looks like Tide but isn't (it calls itself "Sopp"), and a lot of hangers for drying and hanging our clothes.  Seriously, like 90.

I've more or less begun to figure out how to get to the two different schools at which I will be teaching.  We live quite close to the Minquan W. Road station on the Red Line of the MRT, so Katy takes the Red Line up to Shilin where she teaches.  I take a bus from the Minquan W. Road station to Sanchung, which is across the river and where I will probably be most days.  It's a new school, and the AD described it as the "experimental branch" of Kojen.  The other 20% or so of the time I will be at School #8, which is on the Brown Line near the Da'an station.  Next Friday I'll be substituting for another teacher's A-8 class at School #8.  It's a three hour class, and will be my second experience teaching for Kojen.  My first is on Wednesday, at Sanchung, and is the very first day of a Y1 class.  The lesson includes letters A-D in both upper and lower case, and four example words each.  I fully expect to be gravely wounded by cuteness.

If I walk north from our apartment, I reach Minquan W. Road, which intersects with our Linsen N. Road.  There is a set of walkways over Minquan and Linsen so that pedestrians don't have to wait for the light if they're so inclined, although it seems that people rarely use them.  I walked up to them the other day and took pictures of the surroundings to the north, east, south, and west.  What you see in the north is a mountain (probably Zhishan), and a temple (probably the National Peace Museum).  Walking east leads to a street that appears to be a funeral street - a lot of coffin shops and urn shops.  I saw a lot of people burning paper for Ghost Month on that street a couple of days ago.  Our apartment is to the south a few blocks.  To the west is the MRT station which is the center of our working universe.  On the southeastern corner of Minquan and Linsen is a pet store that does not carry aquarium filters, but does have bunnies (Hilary, that's for you) and puppies in its windows.

There are little things (there are always little things) that are different that strike me suddenly, like the fact that almost all the doors open inward.  In the United States, most of our doors open outward, presumably because it's theoretically easier to open a door outward from inside should the building be burning or something.

Which reminds me: the day we closed the deal on the apartment I went to the bank to change some money and a wonderfully kind gentleman next to me spoke up in halting English.  "In thirty minutes you cannot go outside.  There will be a ... I don't know how to say it ... we will pretend there are airplanes..."  And I said "An air raid drill?"  He nodded, and repeated "At two thirty.  You cannot go outside.  You must stay indoors."  The bank teller corroborated his advice, so Katy and I spent the air raid drill inside the realty while sirens went off and the streets were empty of everyone but a few bored looking police officers.  It lasted for a half an hour.  No one seemed particularly fazed.


Anonymous said...

Great! A new (shared) grandchild! Welcome Leonard!
Love the view down the 4 directions. Can almost feel the energy of the city.
Love you,

pickett said...


Bonus points if you use them all in one sentence.

(im helping)

Jacob said...

Points for being prepared, I suppose, but air raid drills? Are they expecting company?

Rowan said...

The spontaneous bifurcation of the derelict's arugula left him a touch concerned about its effective use as an anti-carcinogen.