chef steamed fish, gong bao ji ding, dry-fried green beans (dogs optional) After watching two hours of student presentations, a friend and I decided to take our dogs and go to dinner somewhere with outside seating. After trying the Lazy Pug, we discovered it is now closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. We walked down the street to a Sichuan restaurant located in what may be the only remaining old courtyard house complex on the first Ring Road in Chengdu. We sat on wooden benches at a table in the courtyard, and enjoyed the meal which you see above – steamed whole fish, gong bao chicken, fried green beans, and fried tomato with scrambled eggs. It was almost too much.
Students in my class concentrate on their study book activity, identifying and sharing their personal skills. We’re now in the sixth week of the new semester, and what a ride it’s been. I’m performing a juggling act between my regular job of teaching 16 class periods a week, and being an IELTS examiner three weekends a month. I work pretty much all the time; in February I had a total of two days off. I barely had time for a healing massage, a trip to the grocery story, and a couple of trips to the gym. Another challenge is teaching two new programs: reading class for the Singapore study abroad program, and English for Academic Purposes for the Victoria University program in Australia. The Singapore class is reading Madame Doubtfire; this provides some opportunities for levity, as when we role-played a talk show and I was Madame Doubtfire, the cross-dressing housekeeper (no, I didn’t dress the part). I had to respond to a question about which toilet I would use, men’s or women’s, and I said “Well, dear, I’m not exactly sure.” I’m slowly trying to build my students’ confidence to give dramatic readings, a challenge in a foreign language. Reading shouldn’t be just another boring class. The EAP class is full of creative students, even if a few of them seem only to find creative ways to sleep in class. I’m teaching study skills, which consists mostly of student-directed group activities, such as exploring your personal skills and