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Elementary

Come on winter, roll on. Days are still very warm. Not a lot to report. Got to stop busking my writing lessons and get down to some serious essay setting and marking. I'm not mad keen on facing a pile of copy and pasted or mangled English, but it's about time. Today we started writing a story in class together based on idioms and figures of speech and then for homework students have to finish it off. So far it goes like this:

One day Dr Pepper was bent out of shape (idiom), because someone stepped on his marigolds. The marigolds, naturally, burst into tears. (Personification). Dr Pepper asked his first suspect "Why did you hurt my flowers?" Dr Pepper thought that the person who had stepped on his flowers was like a devil. (Simile). He was so worried about his flowers that he spent several sleepless nights. (Transferred epithet). The irony is, he was a flower assassin. (Irony). A slightly odd job, I know. (Understatement).

Also, my Western music lecture was awful (though Joe said it was quite ok). Firstly, we had no sound so I had to use some underpowered speakers I'd brought with me. This in a large lecture hall. I also managed to forget my hard drive, so I could only play a few songs I had started to assemble for the lecture in a desktop folder. Unfortunately, I had put all the inconsequential stuff in the folder first, and run out of time. As you know, I have more than enough of it here, this was just bad time management. I had 3 hours to do it but I went to Joe's for a chat, stayed too long and left myself with too much to do in too little time. Because I only had a few songs I told stories around them, like the first time I heard Right Said Fred's 'I'm too sexy' and what a game changing moment that song was in Western culture.

Joe told me a story about how at a previous university the teachers were free to paint their apartments any way they liked. Joe decided to get some cans of spray paint and do a sort of Jackson Pollock, spraying with gay abandon all about the place. At that uni students were accustomed to visiting him. He enlisted a few who were hanging around and suggested that they all strip down to their underware so as not to get paint on their clothes. They declined.

I burst out laughing. Joe insisted his intentions were good.

After the lecture Joe and I tried a new restaurant in the village. Towards the end of the meal I phoned another student at random, just like I did yesterday. Lynn and Joan came and Joe and I attempted conversation with them. Lynn is from Yákèshí but has not been to Manzhouli, Harbin or Hailar, nearby cities. Yakeshi is a small city about the same size as Hailar and on the same river, 50 miles east. Lynn asked me if I liked Hulun tea (I presume she means tea from Hulunbeir, her homeland?) and what Chinese food I liked. That's about as adventurous it got. We cannot talk about many things, because so much is alien to them. It's like I said to Joe about the time a girl he was about to break up with told him he looked like an alien, she was trying to alienate him. We cannot alienate so we talk about elementary things. For instance, Joan went to No. 6 elementary school in Baotou.

The moon is a waxing gibbous. Who knew?

Posted by safemouse 23.10.2012 18:19 Archived in China

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