On the way to school I stopped at my favorite steamed bun shop where the girl likes to practice her English, and she asked if I would bring her an American dollar. She wants to see what it looks like. She offered to buy it, but I will just give it to her... She's been kind to me.
I was the only one who showed up for the Chinese lesson today, so I got a 2 hour private lesson, go me! Not only was it super helpful because it could be tailored exactly to my level, I enjoyed having the chance to get to know the teacher better. She is one of the Chinese English teachers at the school. We reviewed pronunciation of the phrases from prior lessons and worked on some shopping vocabulary so that I can "haggle". How much is this? It's too expensive! Can you go lower?
After class, I went to my bank to see whether I could deposit some of my USD traveler's checks, but apparently even though I have an account there, the bank cannot accept USD, I have to go to the Bank of China, which is authorized to exchange currency. At least they understood my phrase "deposit money" when I said it in Chinese.
Then I went to a restaurant which is a favorite of one of my colleagues, and they wanted to bring me her favorite foods, but I was able to practice my new phrases and ask for spicy eggplant instead. I sure wish I could watch them prepare this dish. At a guess, they coat the eggplant with flour and deep fry it quite hot. The texture is lovely, just slightly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. It also had some kind of green pepper that was not as mild as a bell pepper but not hot either, and loads of cilantro stalks, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, and those medium hot small dried red peppers. I ate only one of those, I love the flavor in the dish but the peppers themselves are too much for me. The dish looks really beautiful, one of these days when I have my camera with me I'll photograph it.
One nice thing about going alone is that I didn't have to eat any sweet and sour pork. All of the other foreign teachers seem to be gago over it, and it is usually much better than at home with less breading, but I'm tired of it already. Boring to get a dish I can get at home.
On Wed and Thur evenings I have my pre-kindergarten class, those kids are really so cute. It's a bit baffling when sometimes they suddenly decide they don't want to do something and cry, but I guess that is part of being three/four years old. I haven't much experience with this age group until now. I'm glad that the parents are in the classroom to take care of them, always by the end of class they are happy again. They love to dance and sing, and at the end of the class most of them want hugs, they are so adorable.