Saturday, June 21, 2008


Since I set up the SSH tunnel and have nearly unfettered access to the un-GFWed internet, I was found myself reading through some of my old weblog posts from my first year in Shanghai and realized that back then I spend a lot more time writing up the mundane things in my life. Contrary to what you might think, it's fun to go back and read those old entries. I'm going to try and write one here as a snapshot of my current life.

Today was the last day of school for students in the 2008-2009 academic year. It was a bit anti-climactic for me, since both of my AP classes finished a couple of weeks ago and my remaining final exam was given yesterday. I got a bit of a late start in the morning and was at home both for Charlotte's waking up at 8am and the maid's arrival (yes we got a part-time maid since Jodi's mom left; it's a transitional concession, if you know what I mean). I spent the first couple hours in the office catching up on personal stuff: clearing out the RSS reader, and digging through mailing list archives that had been piling up in GMail like Shanghai Mamas, the Oriental List, Perl China, the Modern Chinese Literature and Culture list, and the College Board lists for AP Stats and Physics. During the course of that activity I sent an e-mail to the Academic Affairs office director that blossomed into an e-mail discussion with several teachers, where I had to step in and make some strong statements regarding the science department's plans for next year and e-mail etiquette in general.

Lunchtime came and went and I was still dealing with that conversation, so I worked for a bit on the documentation for the school observatory which I have plans to formally "open" next year. That involved finishing up the translation of the telescope software manual, editing and reformatting it, and brainstorming on how to integrate the various sets of rules, regulations and policies drafted by different parts of the school while adding my own rules based on my role as director of the observatory. During that job I took advantage of some leftover food from the 8th grade party to have a quick snack. Faced with a checklist of things to do before we leave for the summer I began to make preparations to complete a few of the items early next week: I cleaned out my personal folder on the computer hard drive, leaving just enough data to fit on my USB stick, ran a couple set of books and textbooks back to the library, and cleared all my personal things out of the physics classroom. In the library, the librarian and I had a long chat about the committees to which we belong and how they could be improved, about who in the school lives in our building in LQ, and about how bad shopping is in Zhangjiang. By the time I carried the load of miscellaneous teaching props, papers and classroom materials down from the physics lab to the office it was nearly 4:30, time to call Jodi and leave to meet up for dinner.

Something had me at the computer for a little while longer and I didn't get out until about 5:15, which meant that I ended up taking the subway during rush hour. All I gotta say about that is, don't even plan on getting onto the subway at Lujiazui at rush hour. There were people literally laughing and shaking their heads as they watched their friends futilely trying to squeeze themselves on. There was simply no room for new passengers by then. Luckily it was my stop, so I squeezed myself out of the train and caught Jodi, Charlotte and Anna about to have dinner at Tanggong, a Hong Kong restaurant that was OK but nothing great. The best thing about the restaurant is that it has a display of impressive fish tanks inside the entrance where I took Charlotte for a walk. Still I most enjoyed myself after dinner when Jodi went to change Charlotte's diaper and I snuck away to the Chatterhouse bookstore for five minutes to read. Books must have a sort of sound-reducing effect because the mall was alive with the cheers of Elva (HK starlet?) fans there to see their idol hold a press conference, but the bookstore was reassuringly and deathly quiet. I browsed through a Baby and Toddler Cook Book.

Back at home Jodi and Anna chatted while I gave Charlotte her bath, then we put Charlotte to bed and stayed up late, late into the night, Jodi and Anna talking about girl stuff and me learning how to use Wordpress for a couple summer projects. One of my students wants some help setting up a website like my Facebook-style homepage, something I think can be done easily in Wordpress, and I'd also like to try one-upping the school website by re-doing it in Wordpress and see if that's a feasible way to give our site an upgrade from its current sorry state.

And that's it. It's 4am and I've got an 8th grade graduation to attend tomorrow morning. Goodnight.


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