I just want to read Harry Potter

So I punch a time card.  I’m not paid by the hour, but it gives everyone a good idea of how long I’m in the office.

Sometimes you’ll hear burnt out teachers swoon about the idea of punching a time card.  Imagine dropping a card in a punch machine, walking away, and not taking home grading, or lesson plans, or having to go to some lousy ball game… or worse.. parent night!

Well, today I punched my card and walked away.  Once I got home and opened my computer, I thought, oh, I have a great idea for a dialog! 

But no, I punched out.  I made myself a note and then decided to not think about it until tomorrow, when I punch in.  Right now, I’m off the clock. 

So yesterday, I went with C to look at two apartments.  One was really nice, on the 16th floor, great view, clean and new, and super close to work… but $4800 seemed a little steep to me.  The second one we looked at was a two bedroom, for $6000….way too much. 

Today, I saw another high rise apartment, this one on the 24th floor.  Not sure what it was, but there was something about it that was kind of uck.  I told C I wanted the one from yesterday, the 16th floor one… but when she called, they told her they had rented to a Japanese dude.  Dang it! 

So then she took me to see another place that was pretty cool.  The kitchen is tiny, just enough space to turn around, and the furnishings are old and worn, but I kind of liked it.  It was on the third floor of a 3 floor building, but there’s a upstairs to the apartment, where the bedrooms are.  Apparently it used to be a just one bedroom, but the landlord put in a wall so there could be a guest bed. 

Once we saw the place, I told C (in English, so the agent wouldn’t hear) that I liked it.  I like it, do you?  She hesitated, and then mentally went somewhere else.  So I said, “meaning is: no like” which is JP-hua for “uh, that’s a no.”   

I asked her later, why didn’t you like it, and she said, oh, the ceilings are kind of low for a big guy, if you like it you can get it, but it’s not like those new high rise places that foreigners like…..

But I kind of liked it. 

Oh well.  I told her that we’d see some more places tomorrow, but I’m still considering that place.  I know that it’s my decision and not hers, but if she’s gonna hesitate, then I’m gonna reconsider. 

After work I came back to my hotel, checked with the desk if I could stay until Saturday morning, and then went to dinner.  I’ve been going to the same little place for a few days now, spending 10 kuai on a plate of rice, meat, and peppers, and a bottle of water.  Tonight I went to the menu hanging outside the door, and the owner lady looked over my shoulder to watch me look up the menu items on my pda.  The one I was looking up was totally not on there, but she told me how to say it, and I thought, what the hell, if I want to know what it is, I should order it. 

So I ordered it, along with a bottle of water, but there was no water, so they suggested a bottle of tea.  I said, ok, but no sugar, and they suggested a different bottle.  Owner lady told me to sit at the near table, and I did… and then her and waitress lady sat down with me! 

She asked me where I was from, and my Seattle instinct says “be polite, but don’t encourage conversation… keep your head down, myob.” 

But no.  I told her I was from America. 

What are you doing in Shanghai? 

Teaching Spanish. 

People want to learn Spanish? 

Some people….

There was a running translation of my answers from Mandarin to Shanghainese, for the benefit of the waitress lady, who of course understood what I said, but needed to hear it in Shanghainese in order to believe it. 

But then suddenly waitress lady jumped up and ran to the kitchen, saying “No sugar!  He doesn’t eat sugar!”   Thanks, waitress lady.  That never even occured to me, and if I had known the recipe had sugar, I would have eaten it anyway and not worried about it, but if you want to save me from diabetes, I’m down with that.  I’m impressed that she flew into action like that just based on the fact that I didn’t want sweet tea. 

Anyway, the our conversation at the near table continued as my food came.  She kept asking all about what I was doing in Shanghai, and if I liked it, you know, compared to America and Spain, and I ended up describing my life as a Spanish teacher at a school for ex pats with lots of money.  No, that’s not what I’m doing here, but believe me, it’s just easier that way. 

Before I left, I asked what I should order tomorrow night, and she suggested a pork dish.  Pork dish it is! 

Talked to my dad a little on skype when I got back to the hotel.  He totally skyped me, but for some reason couldn’t see his skype chat window. 

And now, with the blogging done for the night, I will sit in my bed and read Harry Potter el misterio del principe.  I actually have an idea for a dialog, but hey… I’m off the clock.  This is my time….

One thought on “I just want to read Harry Potter

  1. Hooray Kuyang! I’m glad that you’re starting the good habit of leaving your work at work. When I first started at my job now, I knew that I should leave work at work, but I let myself take it home because I believed in the work I was doing. Mistake! I set a bad precedent and ended up stressed out. Don’t worry, I got over it…mostly. I admit that I did a little work tonight, but nothing that required heavy thinking. I’ll do that tomorrow.


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