Wednesday, March 31, 2010

thawing out

The amazing – and unforeseen – effects of rising temperatures in Harbin:

1.For the first time in over six months, we've seen precipitation other than snowfall. The sidewalks are wet. Outside, it's cool and damp. I'm still waiting on a major rainstorm. Last year, it came in April.

2.I haven't worn thermal underwear in almost a week.

3.My hair is actually showing signs of slight curl from the humidity in the air.

4.My shoe variety has expanded past the essential summit boot. I'm now wearing regular boots that are not manufactured for Himalayan Sherpas. While I certainly look more feminine this week, my calves are paying the price for the reduction in tread.

5.Higher temperatures mean that Spring is imminent. And Spring means an Easter lesson (as a cultural exercise). And an Easter lesson is such a marvelous opportunity to watch students' faces react to the greatest love story ever told.

Additionally, the lesson is sprinkled with little moments in which their perspective refreshes my own. Today, for example, I said, “Why do you suppose that John outran Peter to get to the empty tomb, knowing that it was Peter who was likely the athlete of the group?” My two favorite responses were, “Maybe Peter tripped,” and, “Maybe John knew the fastest way to get there.” See how we never think about things like that?

Monday, March 15, 2010

I Dreamed a Dream...

It's not easy to laugh at 4:30 a.m., but it's probable if you've just had a dream involving Moses, Adam and Eve, Native Americans, AND the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz all in one scene.

Sometimes, I think that there might be a movie theatre in Heaven, and on "Comedy Nights," my imagination plays to a packed crowd.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

And then he used the "e" word...

The other day, a class full of sophomores and I were discussing ways to get out of answering awkward questions in English. My case in point was the hypothetical dinner party in which the host or hostess asks, "What do you think of the meal?"

If the food is terrible, the response has to be delicate.

As the students were pondering their deliveries, one young man offered his advice:

You could say, It's very erotic.

I lowered my head and raised my eyebrows simultaneously. Erotic?

Yeah he confirmed.

Do you know what that means? I asked.

Of course
, he responded.

I instantaneously decided to have some fun.

It means 'sexy,' I deadpanned.

The class erupted into full-scale laughter, including the two of us.

I later explained his confusion of "erotic," with "exotic."

And, I didn't even have to buy a ticket for that.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

a Sunday morning thought

That comfort flows abundantly from the promise that, "He does not deal with [me] according to [my] sins, nor repay [me] according to [my] iniquities." (Ps 103)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside

When temperatures threaten any exposed skin, all accessories are employed. And I mean, all.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Oh, Canada...

Today (March 1), I woke up early for two reasons:

1) Classes resumed, and it's not a Monday morning without a group of 30+ students waiting for me at 8 a.m. I was delighted to see a few familiar faces, though they're not the scared little freshmen faces that I first glanced last year. They now belong to slightly more confident, more mellow sophomores.

2) CCTV (China Central TV) aired the Canada vs. USA men's hockey game, which means that it started at 4:15 a.m. I woke up in enough time to fumble around for a cup of coffee and then headed next door to watch the match with two Canadian guys, one of whom is a dedicated hockey fan and native Vancouver-ite. Thrilling game that ended in an OT score of 3-2 (Canada).

I am sad to see the end of the Olympics, but glad to see the beginning of another semester. Spring can't possibly be too far away.