Saturday, October 14, 2006

plight for sore eyes

As of a week ago, I was back to work. There's no fun in going back to work on a Sunday. I think it's just cruel that the Chinese government only gives 7 days for a holiday. Who wants to work the Saturday before vacation and the Sunday after?

To make matters worse, I managed to get sick. It was inevitable. It seems like the whole city is sick. I think the problem lies in the fact that people don't believe in covering their mouths when they cough or sneeze. I can deal with the spitting (although I'm still not accustomed to the snot rockets), but sneezing all over everyone at the bus stop is inexcusable for anyone over the age of 4.

There's not much new to report. The only odd thing that occured this past week was during my Friday afternoon class. I teach first grade at a primary school on Friday's. The poor little darlings are stuck with me for a full two hours. I find my teaching to be pretty boring (learning how to sound out letters-big time snoozer), yet most of them are attentive and smiling. This says something about their other classes. They must have REALLY boring lessons in their other subjects.

Half way through my lesson, something strange happened. Music started playing over the loud speaker. Hmm, this had never happened before. When I taught at the high school in Chengde they played similar music when the students were outside doing their morning exerices. But that wasn't the case at the grade school. The students started doing deep tissue massage on their faces! Sycronized face rubbing. . .a new national sport? A stress reliever for 7-year-olds? What was going on? The rubbed their foreheads, their temples, and around their eyes. This went on for a couple minutes, but it seemed like an eternity. What was I to do? Continue teaching or sit and watch them? I opted to watch them in bewilderment. I looked at my assistant, but she seemed unphased. Then, it ended, and I went back to droning on about how "ph" sounds like "f" and "silent e."

I asked Ming about this yesterday and I guess they did this back in his grade school days too. These exercising supposedly help they children's poor little eyes from becoming near-sighted. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be working. It seems as if about 80% of the population wears glasses. Zhao Ming was, in a sense, lucky. He was an exceptionally lazy student as a child. He claims this is why he still has such great vision today. I don't think this theory really holds up, as some of the smartest people I know (you know who you are. No, not you Adam Pittner) are blessed with good vision.

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