Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Like a hurricane. Severe weather hit Shenzhen yesterday and today in the form of Typhoon Imbudo. Fortunately, we escaped the full force, but it was bad enough to have the city cancel all summer public schools. Didn't stop the Shezhen Foreign Language Institute, though which had promsed the parents who ponied up about $800 per child that they would get 21 straight days of English classes. The power went out in our complex in the early morning and the winds and rain were still blowing and spraying hard as we began classes. Because of the heat and humidity, we had to leave windows cracked, but it wasn't effective enough to stop papers from blowing all over the classroom at erratic intervals.
Most of the teachers, including me, used it as a makeshift lesson in natural disasters. I was able to eat up a good hour and a half on earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, volcanoes, blizzards and floods and then had the kids write about their typhoon memories. Most enjoy typhoons because, like snow days in Colorado, it means a day or two off from school.
Psycho Killer. Julian has an 11-year-old female student we've all dubberd Psycho Rod Stewart because of her rooster hair and skewed behavior. She's apparently a math genius, but also obviously a bit "off." She'd be in Special Ed if she was in America. So far she's bitten another girl's head and pinched two teacher's breasts. She enjoys standing and staring intensely at random teachers and then coming up to them and asking a random question like "Why are you fat?" or "Can I pick you up?" Most of us try to avoid any direct visual or physical contact with her.

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