21 August 2007
Subject: Magical Sponge Retains New Information Like It's Going Out of Style

Hullo Sweeties!

So yes, I woke up in China today, for the fourth time in my life! It's all-out and out outta sight! And sound! Yesterday I negotiated the purchase of dragon eye fruits (longan) and a beer, all on my own creative gesticulations and brand-shining-new understanding of all the numbers. At lunch today, I picked out 32 characters to learn by tomorrow (meaning, pinyin, stroke order, and pronunciation); if I miss any, I'll owe that many quai (yuan) to another teacher. In the last half hour, I learned 15 of them. Go go gadget photographic memory!

This morning, after a delightful bus ride from Xiamen to Shinling, I took the Chinese medical entrance exam. Not for becoming a doctor, but rather in order to get my residence papers in order to stay here a year. Apparently I'm serious about being here.

So they took a blood and urine sample, x-rays, EKG, ultrasound, blood pressure, pulse, palpations, eye exam, height, weight, and sweet baby Jesus in a corn crib knows what else. I believe they proved conclusively that I have a liver. But I won't know for-sure for-sure until I get the results tomorrow.

The latter half of today was spent lesson planning and brainstorming ideas to get this international programme off the ground. Between Mitch and myself, we'll have twenty exceptional students under our toodlelidge. Wur gonna teach em good English and then pack them off to foreign universities. It's actually pretty frelling exciting, having this much power and influence and means to do what we like at a private school in China, student body 3000.

I don't have an address yet; I have an apartment here on campus, though I think I'll likely stay more time at Mitch's seaside chalet in Xiamen proper. He's one of my heros, and I plan to catch up to his Chinese abilities super-soon. He plans to always stay ahead of me, so it's a good match. Anyway, I need to study the other 17 characters for my challenge tomorrow. I have a feeling someone is going to get precisely zero quai out of this magical sponge!

More on Xiamen proper next time!