I have left behind some fabulous students, who sent me off with great gifts of pu'er tea and a new handkerchief (just in time for I have had a summer cold for a week). The top English student in sophomore year at the top high school in Northeast China even gave me a traditional bamboo slat version of Sun Tsu's Art of War. I did not get a chance to say good-bye to my 13 year-old VIP student to whom I taught most of The Way Things Work and whom I helped prepare to pass the Grade 9 Trinity exam with distinction because he was in Canada and then Hainan for a rocket competition!
Deborah, my partner in crime, and I decided we wanted to see another part of the country before we possibly return to America...possibly together.
I will work for New Oriental, "the largest provider of private educational services in China. New Oriental teaches skills that give students a crucial competitive advantage in the workplace and help to improve their quality of life. Their wide range of educational programs, services and products include English and other foreign language training, overseas and domestic test preparation courses, all-subjects after school tutoring, primary and secondary school education, educational content and software as well as online education." End of corporate spiel.
I understand that I will get some opportunity as one of only a very few foreign experts employed by the company, to teach history, SSAT prep, and TOEFL classes for prep school-bound Chinese middle schoolers.
Deborah and I have moved into a fairly small apartment in the Dongzhimen neighborhood of Dongcheng District of Beijing (北京). The city's name translates into North Capital; Nanjing (formerly Nanking) is South Capital. I have visited the city probably eight times previously, most of which have been documented on this blog. I love it here and will continue to soak it up. I will be making a lot more money, but Deborah won't let me spend any of it...but we will get to that in a moment!
|Lampan, Adils, and Torbjorn all assembled!|
While we waited for more than forty minutes for a taxi in the sort of Disneyland snaking queue that you also find at train stations and airports in China, the rest of the experience was just marvelous. We walked there from some ginormous five-story place where the cheapest desks started at 1000 RMB and then, at this Swedish mega-store, we spent less than US $100 on five fairly significant things. I have participated in the death of craftsmanship and enjoyed it. I have drunk of the cup of consumerism and reeled home to assemble an office with a screwdriver and bike wrench!
There is a saying in Chinese, "People mountain, people sea." It was Saturday and there were thousands of people plowing through the circus, but some (more than the three pictured here) were tired!
|Shoes off. Yuck!|
|Not just testing the pillow.|
|Mom and boy out cold!|
|Me posing with something I was not allowed to buy, but would have been a fun, retro way to display photographs.|
|The first floor is a help yourself frenzy.|
|This was the queue for the taxi or pedicab, if you dared.|