Currently on a bus headed to our first day of the new school year. The first three days are only for new faculty.
There will be lots of meet and greet stuff today. Likely lots of sharing and story telling. Totally up my alley… Actually, it’s something I feel I’m getting better at. An old dog learning new tricks? Marni gave me the best compliment today. She said this made her think of me.
Solid advice for anyone that has had major life challenges and changes.
Most of the morning was all the new staff one at a time sharing their stories. Where ya been? How’d you end up here? What are passionate about? What challenge have you had? Some interesting and passionate tales. We have two Zacks from Ohio. Riding on the bus to lunch I got to probe deeper into one Zack’s story. On the way back to my hotel I got to hear more from the other Zack. I called him “new and improved Zack”. That made him beam. New Zack is from Cleveland. It was cool to see him gloat about all the cool things Cleveland has to offer and how far the city has come. He was glowing with pride speaking about his city.
Our lunch today was at Xianghu Lake. It's a resort that's just west of the new campus on the other side of a small mountain. That's Axel and Marcella in the last pic. Axel is one of my Amber Hotel clan. We're planning a long bike ride around West Lake Sunday. Marcella just arrived. She's one of the upper school math teachers that I will teach with.
Lunch was served family style. We didn't order. They brought it ALL. It felt like Ted the assassin was there and ordered for us. My favorites were the fried rice, duck, candied walnuts, and fish soup. The soup had strong hints of ginger in it. So good. That's Jeremy, Alyssa, and Tia in the middle. Tia teaches drama in the middle and upper school. They are about to be empty nesters as their youngest (Alyssa) is getting ready to head off to university in Japan. Jeremy is an interesting fellow. He works as a voice actor. He has that kind of voice. Not super deep, but he has "range".
The crew here at The Amber Hotel is now called The Breakfast Club in our WeChat group. We gathered for dinner tonight and tried to eat at the restaurant on the top of the hotel, but ended up eating together in the lower restaurant because the top one wasn't open. No idea why. Paulo mentioned that Portugal started the slave trade at one moment during dinner and then the discussion turned to all sorts of politics and history. It made me realize that three people from Canada, Portugal, and Spain all knew tons about American politics, but I knew so little about their political spectrum. Both Paulo and Ruth mentioned that the rise of right wing politics is gripping their countries too. It made me feel a bit guilty and self centered.
My new gang has some serious international variety.
Tara & Dylan: South Africa
This is generally true of the school. The entire staff is very spread out all over the world. Teachers from the UK, Germany, Mexico, Mozambique, China, etc. However, I've noticed that there are none from Japan. I believe there's some serious bad blood between China and Japan dating back to the massacres in the earlier 20th century leading into ww2. I'm not up on my history there, but will keep my ears open. I got the indication from Pat tonight that Japan is really considered the bad boy of east Asia and that everyone holds a grudge against them with the exception of Thailand. Apparently Thailand allowed the Japanese to march on through when they invaded Malaysia.
I had a nice beef curry dinner with a large cake of rice in the middle. Not bad. The curry had a bit of spice to it.