Still from previous day: We heard fireworks this morning. I thought it odd to hear fireworks at ten in the morning. Andrew told me it was a new business opening, and they were lighting fireworks to ward off evil spirits. Last night, on the wild taxi ride from the bus station to Andrew's apartment, I saw a man lighting a rather large fire on the street corner. Again, Andrew explained--he was burning money to appease the spirits of his dead ancestors. It is not an uncommon sight.
Slept fairly well, from 10:30 to 2:30, and from about 3:30 to 8:30. We didn't do much in the morning but were at Andrew's school by 11:15 to meet his liaison for lunch. His liaison, Victoria, is a very sweet lady, who was recently put under water as a sister. Her responsibility is to work out all the situations, and any problems that might arise, for the foreign teachers here. We went to the third floor staff dining room. It was a cafeteria line similar to any college dining room in the states. I chose cauliflower and chicken, and an eggplant dish, with a bowl of white rice. Fortunately, spoons were available as well ask chopsticks. No drink was offered. Andrew had to go back down to the first floor store to get us each a bottle of water. The food was good, spicier than American-style Chinese food. My stomach is still getting acclimated.
I am writing this in a coffee shop on the campus as Andrew has a tutoring session with one of his students. He is a good teacher.
I enjoyed watching Andrew work with his student. He had had her to write down ten words she was unfamiliar with, from an American movie she watched this week. She wrote down "dictator" and "equity," among other words, another of which was..."repentance." Andrew walked right through that open door.
After the tutoring we went to the building where Andrew has his office and one classroom. His boss was in. I met the boss, Peter, a very nice and friendly man who speaks fluent English and who performed on his classical guitar for us. A student came in as we were talking and Andrew introduced me. Well, then word started to filter out that his mom was here, and one by one or two they started coming in. Some were very friendly; one girl was extremely shy and did not want to raise her eyes to me; Peter told me that that was because she is a remnant of the old China where women were not supposed to be confident but were to keep their eyes to the ground.
On the way to the edge of campus, we met a couple who are a brother and sister in the local group. Andrew knows them well. He said the way has not been easy for them. I will see them again at the coffeehouse that serves as a gathering point for the local "family." While we were talking to them, a man came right up to us, stood only about five feet away, and stared at me. Not just briefly, but for probably two full minutes. It was extremely awkward feeling as he just continued to stare. Andrew said he is a migrant worker, and has probably never seen a white woman before. I am not yet used to being the object of indiscreet stares, and really prefer being my anonymous self.
Another teacher came over in the late afternoon and after they left to get something to eat, I walked out on the front porch of his residence building. Sitting outside were an English teacher from Ireland, and three students who have just received master's degrees from the University--one from Ghana and two from South Africa. There are very few foreigners in this area overall, but those who are here are very cosmopolitan.