i think now is the time to start introducing the cast of characters in this section of the book known as my life...we have the four students that i teach in the international part of the school which i have christened shanghai 90210 one of which i just threw a white rabbit at and he ate...that would be max who is an amalgamation of the david, the dylan and the brendan characters. allen (the girl) is brenda if brenda really loved to eat snacks like chicken feet and tofu on a stick (several different varieties at that), tess with her glasses and disapproving looks toward the others at times is naturally andrea but memorable instead of forgettable, and miko is kelly, kelly that is if she looked more like a member of blonde redhead, the yeah yeah yeahs or the asian donnas instead of well a cast member of bev hills 90210. fortunately for all of us there is no breast implant casualty known as donna.
unfortunately, i am a minor character. i do not even remember if there was a cool teacher on the show. i am in the background. i tell them about patty hearst and the symbionese liberation army when they ask who the sticker is of on my notebook with a gag on the mouth that reads 'tyson.' i tell them about how wonderful john f. kennedy was as a president but probably not such a good husband with his affair with marilyn monroe. i show them movies like 'rebel without a cause' and 'psycho.' they teach me phrases like 'zai chao...wo sha le ni.' which means 'make noise again, and i will kill you.' we play badminton in the hallway. soon i will probably be sent to the principals office with them and he will look either like an asian schneider (from 'one day at a time') or it will be the actual ruth buzzi...or perhaps meg's mom jan.
i have construction in my backyard. have i mentioned that. a building is going up. they are in the excavation stage. i look off of my balcony and there are men right below working with rebar and concrete...working, smoking, urinating. this is like the beginning of a movie. name about any action adventure movie and at the beginning there is a dig. in the dig something magical or evil is dug up which sets the stage for the movie.
they work until 10 pm with big floodlights. on sunday morning at 5 am they set off fireworks. i thought we were being attacked. chinese terrorists were making there move. that is why the students taught me 'zai chao...wo sha le ni.' the other american teacher, jennifer, stood on her balcony and screamed at them, she told me later. she told me she screamed at them in english. i told her i wanted to call the police but i would have no clue how to call and how to know what to say if i did know how to call the police. later, my boss elizabeth talked to the person in charge and was told that before they break ground, it is good luck to set off fireworks. she asked them if they had to do it at 5 am. they told her 'yes.'
'how do i remember your name?'
that is the question that i posed to class 11 at 1:30 pm today. as i had wrote, i told them 'my name is tyson, so you think of the fighter when you think of my name.' some of them got it, some of them did not. wang told me that it is a family name which i am grateful that he did not tell me to think of something else. tony told me to take the 's' from tyson and i have tony. michael told me to think of michael jordan when i thought of him. potato told me that she likes to eat potatos. freedom could not think of anything so i gave him a question out of the magic notebook. his question was 'where do you buy explosives.' he answered 'the supermarket.' and then he changed it to 'the chemistry lab.' james named a famous nba star i had not heard of. stella told me to add an 'r' and i had the stars. i told her there is a band named stellastar that i used to play on the radio when i was a djay. i then mentioned the song by interpol named 'stella was a deep sea diver.'cyndiess confused me. from what i understood, his name is the name of a beautiful chinese female singer with whom he is in love. he seemed nonplussed that he had chose the english name of a sexy female star.
each of the kids have a number between one and fifty because i have fifty students in each class. i closed my eyes and picked a number with my finger in my attendance roster. each time before i picked a number there was an audible deep breath and then a 'whew' when i picked someone else. they loved it when fellow classmates had to stand up. ann was visibly shaking when she told me to think of her when i think of the first letter of the alphabet. sophia told me to say her name over and over until i remembered it. i gave her a plus for originality. i then wrote 'originality' on the board. at the end of the class some students started calling out numbers and i used that as my guide.
tonight, i plan to plug in my laptop to see if it will truly convert to 220v from 110v, oh the suspense. after that, i will play a dvd, a dvd i bought this weekend on my wild shopping spree in which i spent 150 kuai at the international bookstore on fuzhou road in shanghai. i walked out with 5 dvds, two books of postcards, some really cool printed cards, and a nice english/chinese dictionary (the one that all of the foreign teachers seem to have here). later when i stopped to think what the 150 kuai converts to i had to laugh. on my extravagant shopping spree, i spent less than 20 american dollars. misers of the world rejoice!