Friday, February 21, 2020

Day Three: "Routine" Visit from County Health Department

Yesterday's tea was Yerba Mate (I brought my bombilla and gourd with me). Today is a LiuBao day, which is a black (dark) tea from Guangxi Province. I made it in my lidded tea cup, or gaiwan.

An Airbnb Superhost provided teapot with butterly motif gaiwan and a cup of LiuBao tea. That's my gourd for Yerba Mate.
The Seneca County Health Department came to educate me about how I ought to behave for the next couple weeks. They brought me a thermometer and other supplies (facemasks, hand sanitizer and Chlorox wipes, Kleenex, etc.). "If I need the Kleenex, I am supposed to call you, right?" Laughter and assent. When I am through here, they will bring me a letter certifying that I did the self-quarantine, which should allow me to pass into Canada if I need to go there to retrieve Naomi.

I must call every morning and report on my morning and evening temperature. I am not allowed to leave the 75-acre property, but they thought it might be alright if I wander through the abutting graveyard, which has 6,000 bodies of "chronic insane" [sic], and is the only property between this one and Lake Seneca.

A wonderful pair of very professional registered nurses, they stayed nearly an hour as I, who has only had prolonged contact with my family and Tim Perry of Gloucester in the last month, regaled them with stories about China. They asked about my physical health and my mental health--still nutty as a Snickers bar. They will deliver groceries or whatever else I may need. I apologized for being an imposition on their tiny rural county, but they are only twenty minutes away in Waterloo (a place name that is neither Greek nor Roman nor Iroquoian) and it seems that they are happy to help.

From them, I learned today that if I had not voluntarily agreed to self-quarantine then they would have to go to the state and get a court order, so I certainly did the right thing. They were impressed by how responsible I have been and approved of my quarters, which are solitary. Fortunately, my superhost is allowed to do my laundry, which will become necessary in a couple days. I explained that the Sun-Mar composting toilet is a great thing for public health since I won't be flushing any of my germs into the water supply.

A goodie bag of gloves, masks, a thermometer, and hand sanitizer delivered today sits atop the book delivered today, ED Hirsch's The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy.
I am the first one in this rural county that they have needed to monitor. The flight manifest goes from US CDC to the NY Department of Health to the county health department. Then, to connect with me the latter department called the phone number that I had left with CDC in the airport control area. This passing of my personal information takes a couple days, which is not ideal since someone less responsible than I might have been many places in two or three days.

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A book arrived in the mail today. I had planned to teach with E.D. Hirsch's  The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, but my school was unable to procure it before the semester started. I bought a copy in Shanghai once and used it with a student in Changchun, about eight years ago so it has been available in China. Anyway, glad to have it and now I can use this quarantine to re-familiarize myself with what Hirsch thinks we all need to know. I loved the original version when I was a kid. There is still a chance that I might end up a little cultured...and my students, too!

I have started to watch Ken Burns' The West on Netflix. Took a nap, as sleep has been intermittent due to various interruptions and the time change. Read Chuchu Manchu's Jar of Toffees to Yaya and the kids before bedtime.

Tonight, I have two 80-minute AP US History classes, one with 3 students and one with 29 so I had better get more prepared. Thanks for reading and please leave comments with questions, gentle criticism/advice, etc. It gives me great joy to be blogging again and to know that you are reading this.
Bonne soirée!

-The Renaissance Man 

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