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International Banking

Headed to the my bank this afternoon. I've got it down to every other month for now. I need to send money back to the states regularly to pay my mortgage and car payment. My experiences so far have been painless other than the time it takes. The first trip took nearly two hours of sitting, signing, and posing for pictures. Last time I went it only took about 30 minutes.

Posing for pictures? Yepper. There's a small camera at the teller booth that they use to take my picture. Not sure why, but it happens. I think it was three times during my last visit. I'll keep accurate count today. I also have a six digit pin that I get asked for many times. There's a small key pad at the teller and I have to type it in over and over. Again, we'll get an accurate count today. Here's what the setup looks like...

Got to the bank at 2:00. Two other staff members arrived at the bank at the same time. Fursey, my principal, and Nina, who lives directly below me in the apartments. Yes, she was named for Nina Simone. So cool. Sat down at 2:35 in front of my teller. Had to pose for two pictures and type in my code four times. Two digital signatures along the way just for fun. Out the door at 3:05. Overall not a painful process. Exchange rate today was 6.99 RMB to 1 USD. It's been fluctuating quite a bit. I would expect it to drop back down to 6.00 if the Chinese economy recovers fully from Covid.

In other news it is Christmas day back in the states. Made several phone calls. Called Marni and then Steve. It was great to hear their voices this week. So happy to hear that things are good for Sam (their semi-adoptive daughter). I think of her often. She embodied the sort of student that I really feel for because of two reasons. She had a lot of family problems as a teenager. Kids walk in the door with baggage that we don't know about when coming to school. Every kid could have similar issues. A kind word and a tender manner are always worth the effort. The second reason was that high school math curriculum in the states is broken. Advanced algebra (Algebra 2) is such a narrow field that really has one purpose,

and that's to help kids prepare for the algebra needed for the Calculus. I could write a book about this and its connection to Sputnik. Maybe tomorrow. Anywho, Sam was the sort of student who was plenty smart and capable, but the curriculum wasn't well suited to her personal needs as I believe is true of most high school students.

It was good to talk to Moira, Kaleb, and my mom as well. I'm not much of a phone guy, but it was good to hear about everyone's Christmas experiences. I ended up being on the phone for about three hours. My mom is suffering through a quarantine again as they've had a Covid outbreak. That sucks. She's stuck in her room for another week. She tested positive, but is convicted that someone "switched" her result. I would assume it's related to her dementia. The folks that work with her daily at Summit Place are awesome. I'm glad they're so nice to the residents. It's an independent living facility for seniors. The doors are open and any resident can sign themselves out daily. That said, they keep a closer eye on some (like mom) that could easily get lost if they wandered off.

Also of note today. Daisy had lunch delivered today for me. We weren't that hungry last night so the duck didn't get ordered. She knows I really like it so she had it sent to me today. How sweet is she?

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Mike Durkee
Mike Durkee
Dec 27, 2022

Not to play 'one up' here but I sat in the Oak Harbor branch of wells fargo (also known in my mind as purgatory) for 12 yes twelve hours 8 the first day and 4 the next after my mom passed... there are not as many plank times in the first second of the universe as there was times I had to sign my name and enter a password.... it may not be a surprise that I will never in my life bank with wells fargo or have anything at all to do with that miserable excuse of a bank... I feel your pain. I hate having to work harder to use my money than it was to earn it...…


Dec 26, 2022

Re: Your mom, remember. "Even paranoid people have enemies" and "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't actually out to get you". 😁

On education, couldn't agree more on Algebra 2. You and I have had that conversation many times. I suggested to Steve and to some of the students earlier this year that the bill they propose in Govt class be to eliminate that requirement. Until then, not sure what to do. The other thing that has piled on is that all the "fixes" that the legislature proposes make more work for us without actually fixing anything. "A third year math class that matches up with their High School and Beyond plan"? Sure, but meanwhile every …

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