Swamped in Make-up Classes, and More Make-up Classes, and More Make-up Classes
This semester’s continuity has been continuously compromised since the last update, nearing Easter Sunday. We’ve had Tomb Sweeping (April 5 with April 6 off), canceled Friday classes due to our college entrance exam for high school students taking place, three days for Sports Meeting April 15 – 17 (students compete in events with one another), an upcoming May 1st International Labor Day holiday and then 2 weeks off for 2nd year English major students who are participating in a “How to Start Your Own Business” credited course run by the government.
All of the classes missed, we as teachers are required to make up whenever we can fit them in so I’ve been doing my best to squeeze in evenings and weekends to fulfill this requirement. Add to this the 2 weeks I missed coming late to school, also cramming more extra classes into my schedule, and there has been really little time to post an update.
I’ll see if I can remedy that today
Annual Physical Exam for Visa
A few weeks ago, the Sports Meeting allowed me to disappear from campus for a few days to receive my physical exam in Chengdu to renew my visa. I have reported on this numerous times in the past, including the visit where it was announced I had syphilis! (Obvious mistake, as the second blood test showed a definite negative reading for any STD.)
As you can imagine, annual trips to Sichuan’s Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine clinic, where these physicals are given, gives me some anxiety during the 3-day wait for the results. “ What will I end up having this time around?” I keep wondering.
As it turned out, I was cleared and have my official certificate in hand to accompany the visa application process when it’s tim.
Delivery of American Goods
The Chengdu visit also allowed me to drop off items which my Chinese friends had requested I bring from America.
Mrs. Zhao, dog-walking friend and mother of poodle Hairy Bean, had wanted Joint Boosters. A 2-for-1 online health store allowed me to buy her 4 bottles (each is $80 in the States, impossible to find in China) for only $160. Of course, I am re-imbursed for such purchases. She now has enough to last her and her husband 6 months.
Mrs. He, my former dog’s sitter, received her Estee Lauder $100 de-wrinkle cream for herself and fish oil gel and lecithin tablets for her husband.
There in itself is a story.
Mr. He’s health has been deteriorating for several years. Whenever I visit their home for a home-cooked meal, usually 4 times a year, I see either his progress or decline.
This time around, he was less foggy than before and could carry on a conversation quite well but the tumor on the side of his neck was noticeably larger. I have never asked about what it is but I suspect cancer.
When it comes to such things in China, we don’t usually openly discuss it unless the subject is brought up by those who wish to share.
About 7 years ago, when Mr. He first began failing, we were sitting around the table having a meal when he out-of-the-blue brought up that he tried to commit suicide. He was in wonderful health before, a strong man with a tanned physique from outdoor swimming and playing golf. He was an engineer who had actually spent several years in the Middle East with his company.
He said he became depressed, quit his job and was receiving treatment. What kind of treatment, I don’t know but that was the start of his illness.
One does wonder if the tumor, not visible at that time, was affecting his system to cause such a mood swing from a man who was so full of life before.
I do remember that Little Flower’s death hit him very hard. Whenever my little dog came for her stay with the He family, it was Mr. He who took great care of her. They went walking together. He prepared her food, including hotdog snacks. She sat with him on the couch. She played with her toys with him. And once, she needed daily visits to the vet’s for 10 days. He was the one to take her for her injections and make sure she was getting better.
My little dog was, and still is, missed by all of us.
Labor Day Holiday Upon Us; Another Chengdu Trip
I am planning another trip to Chengdu this weekend, without any official duties aside from meeting up with friends again.
Mrs. Zhao and her dog-walking companions await. Perhaps another dinner with the He’s is also possible. A former Luzhou student, Ji Ke (Jason), has already asked for a meet-up. He is in the process of receiving his tourism license to officially tour foreigners in China. Frank (Gao Pei), a Sichuan University senior, is yet another who I’ll be checking in with. Frank will be off to America this summer to study for his MA in International Finance. Quite an amazing, bright and focused young man that I spent a year with walking the campus every day while he practiced his English.
After that, May will head up in full with more evening and weekend make-up classes before the semester finally ends in mid-June.
I will do my best to add a few more entries before then. For now, here’s wishing you Ping An (Peace) for your week!