Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back in the saddle

**For those who may want to send me something in the mail...my mailing address did NOT change with the move down the hall. The old one will still work just fine!**
A week ago about this time I was rolling up to our apartment building greasy, smelly, and exhausted from a seemingly never-ending day of travel. A week later I'm smelling better, have my new house all set up, have taught my first class, and am organized for the new year. The first couple days were spent transporting all of my stuff (and it's amazing how much stuff a person can accumulate in three years) down the hall from my old apartment to my new apartment. I moved for the single reason of having a larger kitchen. I know, it sounds silly. But I cook a lot. And moving my fridge every time I needed to get in the freezer was getting old. An added bonus to my new place is seeing trees outside my bedroom window. Those who have visited or lived in China will understand the wonderfulness of this statement. Vegetation in cities is extremely sparse. If there are trees, they're usually not much taller than me and quite scrawny. However, outside my bedroom window is a small grove of big tall trees with big leaves that dance in the wind. What a treat!

This year has a very different feel from all previous years. I'm accustomed to the year beginning with a large meeting in Beijing with all of the teachers in China. However, due to the Olympics this year we all went straight to our schools. Our new teachers also will not arrive until the end of the month. Consequently, the team is "small" for the time being. We're missing three teachers, so Rachel and Jennifer have magnanimously (with compensation) stepped up to teach full loads for the month. This semester I'm teaching two sophomore writing classes, two junior speech classes, and one freshman oral class. The freshmen are currently learning how to march and chant and do other soldierly things, so that class won't begin until October. I'm excited to have one day off of teaching (Tuesdays), which will hopefully help with getting graduate work done.

Right now is my absolute favorite time in Siping. The temperature is around 75, with sunny blue skies. The grass is green, and there are even some flowers here and there. From past experience, I know this is about as pretty as it will be all year long, so I'm trying to soak in the beauty. It feels wonderful to be back here again; I'm always reminded every time I go away and come back how much this place truly is home. However, home is never perfect. The most glaring imperfection this week has been the water being shut off for several hour periods several times a day. I've got to have something that reminds me I still live in China... Most of the time this isn't a big deal, but there are moments of annoyance. Like today, when I got into the shower after working out with sweat pouring off of me (yes I know, you're thinking, Katherine? working out? gotta shed those pounds from all that good American ice cream...) only to discover there was no water. Lest you think I lied when I said I'm smelling better today than a week ago, the water did come on a few hours later and I got my long anticipated shower. :)

One final note, lest you think my fervent love has somehow dissipated. This past weekend contained the sheer joy of watching Michigan choke once again in its opener and Ohio State steam roll its opponent. Here's hoping Beanie heals fast and will be ready for USC.

1 comment:

Mink said...

Hi dear - is the address I have for you already the same then?