We Live In A Giant Bucket

Allie and Dina joined us for dinner on Friday for a long overdue extended-family-reunion. We went to Jingzun Duck on Chunxiu Lu for kaoya, of course. I had been there about a month ago with another friend, but the duck is delicious and worth multiple visits. For starters we ordered boiled and spiced broad beans, which were quite interesting. I still haven’t decided if I liked them or not. Two ducks, duck soup, spinach and bamboo shoots, a few other dishes and to end, the delectable fried duck bones. Crispy and crunchy and salty and addictive. After dinner we all went back to our place for a quiet evening of light drinking. I really missed the girls-the apartment seems so empty without them.

I was awoken by the lovely and comforting chorus of construction giving me a headache at entirely too early in the morning. It sounded as if there was construction in our apartment. Stepping out of the shower, I was greeted by Bambi’s plaintive face, pouting. “Robot, can you make us eggs? We…we just…can’t.” I went to the kitchen where Ginny was standing, just staring, lost, into a bowl of eggs. Afraid that any attempts on their part might lead to fire or other disaster, I obligingly made breakfast.

We cabbed to practice, for an exciting three hours of running around, and by that I mean Bambi promptly lasered a disc into my ear from about six feet away. There is actually a little dent in the cartilage where it hit, and an angry red welt. Here’s my problem with some of the Frisbee people. There’s a group of us, mostly girls who have never played before, but also a few inexperienced guys, who are novices and need a little more instruction and practice and explanations. Some of the people who are good at the game/have been playing for longer than I’ve been alive, don’t quite seem to get that there is a difference between not having the skills and knowledge that comes from 15-25 years experience playing a sport, and being retarded. And so when they try to be helpful and explain things, they are just ass hats who talk to you like you’re drooling and hitting yourself and incapable of thought, but then get frustrated when you don’t immediately grasp a concept.

Afterward we all went back to the Shanxi restaurant in Dongzhimen and ate copious amounts of food and the best part is I got to play with Baby M (mostly by luring her by waving shiny things like my necklace and wallet in front of her). Somehow it developed that we were going to host a little pre gaming before heading out to some house parties. We met some of our neighbors when they were locked out, and people started filtering in. Things devolved rapidly, and it became evident no one was going to go anywhere. I was happy to sit and socialize and sip slowly or not at all, but no one else felt like being moderate. More people showed up and the boys insisted on playing flip cup, beirut and slap cup. Hilarity and messes ensued, and broken pottery. This is why we can’t have nice things. Drunk people ended up sleeping in and spilling stuff all over my bed. Resignedly, I spent the night on our most uncomfortable couch after throwing my sheets in the washer (this is when I could really use a dryer).

I woke up before my alarm went off and just a few moments before A-yi walked in the door-not enough time to do anything but look bewildered at the horrible mess left in the living room. My first thought-I live in a giant bucket. I’m pretty sure A-yi has the worst opinion of me, and I always feel the urge to explain to her that I’m not a waste of life, and the mess was not my fault nor was it my fault I was on the couch and not my bed and really I have my life together and I’m kind of a functioning adult. I don’t think she would believe me. I biked to my 9 AM lesson, and received a text from Ginny, telling me that he lives in a giant bucket. After class A-yi was still cleaning up the living room so I went to Bambi’s room to take a nap. I basically dropped like a stone on his bed and he grumbled “I live in a giant bucket.” Oh family.

I rallied enough to do productive things like order water and a whole mess of Xinjiang food. The most delicious fried bread with lamb, noodles with beef, di san xian, fried rice, eggplant and pork, all the favorites, and we watched some of Harry Potter before I left for my afternoon lessons.

Let me tell you about helicopter moms. They’re annoying. I was to teach a boy for two 50 minute sessions. I got there a little early and they had me start right away. After 50 minutes, I thought we both could use a bathroom/water break. I told him he had five minutes. His mother sees him walking down the hallway, comes in and asks me if class is over? Her son can use the bathroom after class. Okay, no break for your son then, but 9 year old goobers usually don’t pay attention very well for long periods of time and this kid was getting real antsy. Making noise, intentionally dropping markers, flipping through the books, bouncing up and down and around in his seat, I figured he could use a break and so could I before stabby things happened. Then, 20 minutes later, the mother sent in one of the girls to tell me she’s worried about her son and he needs to have a five minute break. OK, I mean, there were only about 20 minutes left of class. Then when class wrapped up she was like, no, you took a break you should still be teaching for ten more minutes, even though I started class ten minutes early in the first place. Frustrating.

After that class I had a demo, followed by a group class. As I was setting up the classroom, I overheard another English teacher vehemently turning down the class because he refused to teach multiple children. I thought he was just being his annoying self (the first thing he did when he met me was insult me for being American), since three kids can’t be that bad, right?

Well, it wasn’t horrible but I came home absolutely exhausted. Three adorable six year old kids, two boys and a girl. I feel like if I had them one on one, they would all be smart and productive and adorable. But they play off each other and are crazy energetic. One boy starts every sentence with “Teacher” and had a temper tantrum because I didn’t skip a page, the other boy doesn’t speak, and the little girl started using me as a jungle gym. It was a long lesson. And the mom was desperately asking if I’d teach them if I had time for them, if they weren’t that bad. I mean, the two boys are still young enough to be adorable and they’re bright, even if they’re rambunctious. We’ll see. I also might be teaching Chef and Chairman English, which would make my life-spending time with two hilarious people, getting paid, and being fed another free lunch. Wantwantwant.

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