[Editor’s note: Mark has given me permission to post edited versions of our e-mails. His experience is so rich that whenever he tries to tell a complete story it gets too long for him to have time to get it down and still earn his living. So here’s the latest, briefer, e-mail.]
We’ve been having the worst early storms I can recall, and I’ve been here since 1978.
I know you were down last time you wrote. Hope you’re doing better. Maybe the best thing to do is just to keep contact for the time being. I know that travel in a foreign culture can be depressing as all get out. Glom onto the other ex patriots–knowing full well that you aren’t. We look forward to your safe and healthy return.
I’m great and thanks for your concern. I had to take an emergency trip to Shanghai over the weekend with a sick teacher friend. It was a busy, busy weekend.
The school that I’m teaching at had a ‘Parent’s Day/Open Campus’ day last Friday and there were a ton of people here. We were asked by our CP (Centre Principal) to put on a ‘dog and pony’ show that day for the visitors. The day went exceptionally well for all of us. I had students, parents, and teachers from other schools in my classroom all at once. I had the students all create a game of chance (or borrow one from a casino) and describe, analyze, and summarize it. They all found that playing games of chance for money, in the long run, costs money. It was a whole bunch of ‘ah ha’ moments that I saw with my students. A great day it was!
A colleague that I teach with here gave me a call Saturday morning asking me if I would accompany him to Shanghai so that he could get help for an infection he has. Being here, and adventurous, I said sure. Two things happened Saturday; First: I discovered how the train system works, and second: I also discovered that I don’t EVER want to have medical needs while I’m here in China.
The train was WAY cool! Shanghai is about 100 miles away from where I am here in Wuxi, the train ‘floats’ on a track, and it took about 30 minutes at speeds of over 343 kph ( or over 200 mph). I also found a small indoor ski hill there. Not like the sierras, but at least I can get my skiing fix. So, that said, I will be taking a ski trip to Shanghai soon…. Sounds kind of funny, huh?