Wednesday, September 16th, 2009...6:08 am

16 Sept 2009-David stays home, sick

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So I missed school for the first time today.  I think the pressures of teaching 25 classes a week is finally taking a toll on my body.  I woke up this morning with a throbbing headache, a sore body, a slight cough, a little fever, and no energy.  I even struggled to grab my phone next to me to call my company and tell them that there was no chance I was getting out of bed.  Jessica, one of the main contacts and the sweetest person you’ll ever meet, offered to take me to the hospital.  Apparently this is SOP for the company, because I guess if you are ill to the point of missing class, then it must be severe enough that emergency-care is needed.  I told her that it wasn’t necessary, and she took care of calling the school and notifying them that I wouldn’t be teaching the 5 classes of 7th graders I am usually scheduled.  I did get better later in the day and managed to get myself out of the apartment and to the supermarket to grab some orange juice and fruits, and then to KFC for an old-fashioned chicken sandwich.

I did feel a little bad for staying home today.  I’ve done a lot more in worse conditions before, but I had to consider my health in the long-term.  I did a lot of thinking while laying in my bed till noon (and again from 2-4pm), and I came to the conclusion that this job is kind of grueling.  First off, the teachers in this company have more classes than the actual teachers of the schools.  Secondly, most of us are unfortunate enough to teach at a different school everyday (On Mondays and Fridays, I teach at two different schools).  This requires riding a different bus to each school, trying to remember all of your school’s exact locations (I got lost going to school twice, but I’m getting the hang of it now), trying to remember what floor the teacher’s office and your classes are at each school (thankfully I have the TA’s showing me to each of my classes), and…I won’t even get into trying to remember students’ names.  And thirdly, what I think contributed to my uncomfortable state is that everyday, I’m speaking out of my normal vocal range and trying my best to be energetic and charismatic.  These are qualities I only exhibit after a couple vodka-tonics.

It doesn’t help either that the culture of China allows people to spit on the ground centimeters from your feet (that’s right, I just used the metric system), dogs to poop in the middle of the street, and to have no real garbage disposal system outside of your apartment.  I feel icky every time I come home

Each day we bounce around the city between home, school, the office, and some sight-seeing in between.  I’m only 3 weeks into this journey, and I’ve already missed my first day.  So, it looks like my immune system has some toughening up to do.  I’m pretty sure, though, that when I come home after 10 months here, if someone sneezes on my face I”ll just think its raining.

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