Thursday, July 28, 2011

Yay Ducks and Yuck Ducks from My First Week

For an explanation of Yay Duck and Yuck Duck, click HERE.

Yay Ducks:

  1. All of the other teachers are unbelievably nice and have been more welcoming than I could ever have imagined.
  2. My roommate and I are kindred spirits.
  3. I was informed by the high school principal that our high school students seldom need motivation to do well -- they do that very well on their own.
  4. I have a gorgeous and large apartment with a fantastic view of the ocean from the balcony.
  5. The food here is fantastic.
  6. My classroom has loads of potential.
  7. My VPN is allowing me access to my blog and Facebook, as well as all of the other sites I would otherwise have no way of getting on.  I even heard from a friend that I may be able to get Netflix here with the VPN.
  8. I get a brand new school laptop!  No need to clutter my Mac with all the school stuff.
  9. The weather here is gorgeous and sunny.
  10. I am picking up Chinese much faster than I thought I would (though I am certainly no prodigy).
  11. My jetlag is fading away.
  12. All of my favorite Korean foods, which I have sorely missed for two years, are now available to me!

Yuck Ducks:

  1. It's hard to be involved with Lantern Hollow Press from here -- I really feel/am out of the loop.
  2. I have to miss the wedding of one of my dearest friends.
  3. I still have no idea what my day-to-day schedule will look like, and I don't have class lists yet.
  4. My apartment is so big!  How will we ever keep it clean once school starts?  (Actually, we're working on that.  We're planning to get an Ayi to work for us two days a week.)
  5. Most of the American foods that I enjoy are either not available or are really expensive.  Fortunately, there are enough other delectables that I don't miss them too much.  I am most likely going to have to break down at some point and shell out 64 kuai (about $9.80) for some oatmeal, though.
  6. My classroom is still a mess.  There is SO MUCH left to do!!!
  7. My VPN likes to act up from time to time.  Without it, the internet is a pretty sparse place, since China blocks so many sites.
  8. My school laptop is a PC, which is highly inferior to a Mac.  I am not nearly as proficient on PCs as I am on Macs.
  9. The weather here is really hot.  And humid.
  10. Chinese is quite hard to learn.
  11. My feet are killing me from all the walking.  (Although I honestly am enjoying walking so much more -- the rest of me is feeling better from the exercise each day.)
  12. Cheese is ridiculously expensive (and quite limited) here.
On the whole, Yay Duck is the clear winner.  Although the Yuck Ducks sound like complaints, really I'm just trying to keep myself balanced so that I don't over-idealize my new situation -- really, none of the Yuck Ducks bother me very much (which should be Yay Duck #13).  Even taking the Yuck Ducks into consideration, I still love China!

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"