Monday, July 24, 2006
This morning when I came in to school, Sunny, my assistant, looked very pale. "I have heat stroke" she said, which was a very strange thing to say as this is BY FAR the coolest day yet, out of all eighteen days we have been here it is the only day that I am quite sure I will live. So during our entire third grade morning class she sat in the back and was not translating anything. After class, the teacher, Chris, said to me, "Sunny must stay here for the next ten minutes." I was very curious as to what was planned because Chris had prepared a bowl of water and was pulling Sunny's hair up. Sunny had not returned to the break room when it was time to go to the next class, so I went alone. Five minutes later the teacher, Chris, showed up to translate for the class. "Sunny is resting in my classroom," she said.
After that class, Sunny was in the break room with about six long, deep red scrapes down her neck. It looked like someone had tried to strangle her. "Sunny, are you OK?" "Oh, yes, I am much better!" She explained what Chris had done, and it seems to be something like the application of water and then very hard, deep pinching. I thought back to the class we had taught last week, called "What's the matter?" and how strange it must have been for them to say "I'm hot" and "drink some cold water!" when really it should have read "I'm very hot" and "apply water and hard, violent pinching!"
I was very curious as to how Sunny's cure would progress...well, at lunch, I told her that in America if we are that sick, we go home! She was so pale and almost fainting. She looked at me kind of shocked and said, "OK, I will go home." I offered to pay for a taxi for her since her bus ride is over an hour and she would not agree. "The air conditioning is making me sick!"
One of the strangest parts of this story is that NONE of the kids even flinched when she walked in with her strangle scratches. It's simply what you do when you have heat stroke on a very cool (relatively) day!
Today is going really well (I am writing during my lunch break). I can receive hotmail here but must type my messages in Gmail...see, logic does apply! The kids have mellowed and seem to be learning at least some English. I feel very relaxed and peaceful about my job and hope that no changes occur this week.
Last night Amy and I walked all the way around the canal which looks like a huge Green Lake (about five miles). There had been another thunder storm so it was nice and bearable outside. At one point on the pathway- out of nowhere, really- we saw a HUGE blow up castle, the kind kids jump in. This colorful castle, juxtaposed against the gray sky, was so sad and the sadness was enhanced by the fact that there were no kids there, only about four grown-up workers. Why they blew that monster up in the middle of that trail is another Ancient Chinese Secret, I guess. How did I know to name my blog "...in a State of Confucian?" That nails it! OK, back to work without Sunny...this should be interesting!
Posted by Brian Bowker at 11:49 AM