The Witless Clunkery of a Third-Rate Mind

Sunday, September 28, 2008

First Class, and Training

I had my first class on Friday. Most of my students were pretty happy to see me again, and to find out that I would be teaching them. But of course, some of them groaned and said, "Him again?" I'm not sure if these geniuses have realized yet that I'm the guy who decides what mark they receive at the end of the term.

Then, on Saturday, I helped with our company's big semi-annual orientation. There were about 130 teachers, and I had to lead an information session for about 50 of them for an hour in the afternoon. It's the third time I've given that talk, so I was afraid it would be really stale, but it went over well. I think it was about as painless as it could be. It's funny; sometimes I don't mind public speaking (like at this hour-long session) but other times, I get really nervous. For example, at the beginning of the day, we had to get up on stage and introduce ourselves. It was only for about 10 seconds, but afterward my heart was hammering! I wonder why...

After the orientation, I went out with some of the other teachers and the Japanese staff for a bit of food. We went to an "Asian" place, meaning they had stuff from random Asian countries, but no one country in particular. (For some reason - I'll let you speculate on what it could be - the Japanese don't consider themselves "Asian".) The people I was with seemed to enjoy ordering weird stuff, so they got pig's ear (Wikipedia says: It can be first boiled or stewed, and then sliced thin, served with soy sauce or spiced with chili paste. When cooked, the outer texture is gelatinous, akin to tofu, and the center cartilage is crunchy. Pig's ear can be eaten warm or cold.) We had it sliced thin, with chili paste, and cold. It was pretty good, but I wouldn't order it for myself.

We also had something the Japanese were calling "piton" which is also called a hundred-year egg (Wikipedia says: a Chinese cuisine ingredient made by preserving duck, chicken or quail eggs in mixture of clay, ash, salt, lime, and rice straw for several weeks to several months, depending on the method of processing. After the process is completed, the yolk becomes a dark green, cream-like substance with a strong odor of sulfur and ammonia, while the white becomes a dark brown, transparent jelly with little flavor or taste.) I have to confess that the image was so disgusting, I didn't even try it.

This week classes start in earnest, so I'll let you know how everything goes... until then, take care, and watch out for hurricane Ike.


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