104 weeks later

On July 31, 2006 a slightly bitter expat English teacher married a gentle Chinese lass. In the registry office he couldn’t read the form or make the appropriate pledge.

going for broke

One of the best things about traveling, about teaching ESL, is the things I see and the students I meet. Summer camp is a misnomer compared with North American summer camp. There are no tents, campfires, marshmallows, or canoes. There are English lessons, games, and contests. After a day in the classroom the ESL teachers…

an evil weekend

The constant rain, that had me wondering how to build an ark, has passed. The sky over Shenzhen is now a bright seasonal blue and full of fluffy clouds. There is that evil ball of flame some call the sun, it’s only purpose to burn me to a crisp, to contend with. Better that than…

an ewok and questions on the stairs

Nancy is comically short. Grade 1 students are small but Nancy’s proportions place her in a different visual class than her contemporaries. I nicknamed her “The Ewok” out of affection. If she was hairier she could easily be one of George Lucas’ Return of the Jedi characters. I was standing on the stairs between classes….

ESL in China: First days – Looking down

I don’t remember much about that Sunday, looking back after three years. It was cold, I recall, much colder than I thought it should be in a sub-tropical area. I huddled in my apartment, on the thin-padded wooden sofa.