Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Living the Dream

Hi Fabulous Family and Friends,
School was canceled at 10 PM last night due to the approaching typhoon. We all did the happy dance to celebrate a day off in the middle of the week. Joey and I then headed to school to get my computer that I left there and some "school stuff" to do at home while we hunkered down during the typhoon. We weren't sure we could get in at 10:15 PM, but we thought it was worth a try. As we approached the guard booth, we noticed the only gate into our school compound/campus was closed, but NOT locked - the guard let me pass after passing my electronic ID card over the scanner and we were on the campus in the dark. Our buildings are never locked, there are no security alarms, but the guards are always there - about 8 of them. When I asked if there was a security alarm, I was informed that there was high security on the campus, in the form of the school cats. There are a few SCIS cats that hang around all day and are the "mascots"; they have had their shots so we can all pet them without fear of getting rabies or some nasty disease. You know we all love the school cats. Hailey wants to take them home, along with the cat outside our apartment complex.
While walking home from school, we passed by the homeless men settling in for the night on the sidewalk near the park (where the ladies dance). They lay out mats, have little pillows and sleep in their shorts. While we passed, one took a leak on the sidewalk down stream from his mat. He didn't seem to mind that Joey and I had to jump over his stream. Gotta love this place!
We all went to bed knowing that we got to sleep in - found out about 9 AM when we checked our email the next morning that we were asked to report to work, just in case any kids came. OOPS! Missed that midnight email - we rushed to school to find no children and teachers given the day to plan/prep with free coffees from the Cafe and free lunch for the inconvenience of coming to work. Gee Whiz, what an inconvenience - going to work and getting paid for it. Oh, the typhoon never came - it was 90 and sunny! A snow day with no snow...we all know those days. (Note: the storm has hit now - so fun to watch the lightening and super heavy rain...maybe no school again tomorrow???)
The kids got to sleep in (well, they tried to sleep in...there is construction going in the apartment upstairs) and spent the day with their peeps. Joey has started a group of "teacher kids" - it's a special club and they have their hang out at "Frankie's" - it's a 50's style restaurant like on Happy Days. Their club has a day called "McWednesdays" where they all go to Mcdonald's and get Mcflurries. Today was McWednesday all day. They had a ball. The other three girls are Australian (but two just came from Gahana).
After being blessed with a work day without students, Doug and I headed home to chill and run the stinky stairs of our apartment building. (18 flights with the faint or not so faint hint of urine in the cement stairwell) It was fun to run the stairs (or walk them in my case) during the storm with the lightening lighting up the stairwell. What a treat to look out over Shanghai and see the city lights while sweating to my music. After sweating, Doug and I went downstairs in the rain to have a salad at the European Bistro at the bottom of our complex. (The bistro is a bit expensive since much is imported...we spent 13 dollars for our two salads, bread and drinks.)
On our way back from dinner, we noted the gushing water coming out of the manhole...we looked closer...what was that white stuff? Is that really toilet paper all over the sidewalk? Yes, the large gushing water, making the huge flood on the side walk was full of toilet paper...yikes,it WAS the sewer and I was wearing flip flops - the "water" got on my feet!!! So I know why you never wear your shoes in the house. (I hand sanitized my feet when I got home.)
Time for bed now, it's curriculum Night tomorrow - can't wait to meet more of the parents of my students. I do a 25 minute presentation two times. I'm as ready as I can be, thanks to our "no snow, snow day" today.
Oh, we are going to fire our Ayi (maid) tomorrow - she sure doesn't clean like Valentina did. We decided we would meet with her today and teach her how to clean our home before letting her go, but she never showed up for work today. She threw Joey's retainer away and doesn't know how to iron which is very important, as we don't have a dryer and hang all our laundry in the enclosed lanai area. Everything gets very crispy and in this humidity, takes a long time to dry. The bathroom mats have been out for over two days now. We definitely will spend more time front loading and showing the new maid exactly what and how to do it - so she will be successful, just like our students. :)
I hear the cockroaches come out after the rain so I look forward to finding a few around school. There was one in the bathroom last week and one in my classroom. When I discovered the one in the bathroom, I did a little "yelp" and pointed it out to a student...She said, "What? that cockroach? Oh, they come out all time after it rains, it's no big deal Mrs. G." Ok, no big deal; I'll remember that tomorrow when they want to join my math lesson.
Prayer Requests: Protection as we cross any and all streets :)
Love to you all - take care - thanks for supporting our dream. I was told today that we are in the "honeymoon" phase of living abroad, we think every and all things are interesting and cool - I hope this honeymoon phase lasts forever... xoxo Anne


  1. The cockroaches in SE Asia are big and they can fly if necessary...
    I used to spray RAID every night and had to sweep them in the morning....
    You have to lower your standards for your Chinese house keeper... you'll get a feel for the standard eventually.
    Valentina is leaving for Ukraine for a month or two to visit her family.
    Take care.
    (I can't wait to see our posts after you've been to remote parts of China...)

  2. The honeymoon phrase lasted me the whole time, I hope it does for you guys as well! Can't wait to read about all your future adventures!