Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August 10th...FINALLY got a vpn and now have access!

VPN = virtual private network = a must for internet access in china.  Many sites have been blocked and we now have the access we want at home!  We have been here for nearly two weeks and have settled in a bit.

Crazy Story:  I woke up Monday morning and looked at the time on the lap top - 6:40 AM.  Left to go for a jog.  The glass door out of the kitchen to the laundry room was left unlocked overnight which was a bit of a mistake because the back door out to the stair well has had a broken lock for three days now.  Oh well I think and leave for a nice 20 minute jaunt around Westwood Green (our apartment complex) and then out to the neighborhood.  I ran down the road a bit and entered the "Rancho Sante Fe" the posh adjacent neighborhood for those who really like to live well - single family NICE adobes with beautifully landscaped surroundings make for a great jog.

So I return at 7:00 up the stairs and back in the kitchen.  I go to check the time on the computer and....its gone!  OH no!!  Somehow it is gone.  Josephine doesn't have it, she's watching a moving in her room.  Quinn doesn't have it - she is asleep - Bridget is asleep - where the HELL is the computer!?  Quinn wakes up and looks with me for a half hour - no computer.  I wake Bridget and break the news that somehow, someway, someone in this incredibly safe city and incredibly secure apartment complex has entered our house and nabbed the laptop off of the Kitchen table.

I make the uncomfortable call to the AP at the high school while Bridget reports the incident to the management office.  Soon there is a translator and a dozen security guards and policemen.  It is CSI Shanghai.  The lead detective and Bridget are inspecting the floor and lifting footprints.  EVERYONE in the SAS community is stunned - this kind of thing NEVER has happened before.  I am flabbergasted.  We don't really feel that sense of violation that we should feel, but what the heck?  The AP, Michael, the principal, ED, and the Head of School, Alan, are all very supportive and helpful.  They replace my laptop within hours.  Bridget spends a long morning dealing with the police, translator and security guards, and gets back home in time for lunch with the kids and to meet our new ayi, Zhang, and meet the locksmith.  What a day.

Getting into the thick of it at school:
Had my first department meeting today.  The math department at SAS is 9 teaching (counting me).  There are 650+ students in the high school.  3 of them are in Algebra I.  The rest are in Geometry or higher.  At OHS, there were 650+ kids in Algebra I.  Different scene.  I'm confident in my new role as Head of the Department and it is a wonderful challenge to step right in as a leader for this very respectable group of professional math teachers.  So thankful for the experience of working with the OHS Math crew for so many years.

Medical Exam:
Bridget has hers tomorrow.  She was fortunate enough to have missed the first one.  A group of about 30 of us new teachers piled onto a bus in the rain and headed somewhere into Shanghai.  We piled into the medical center and I ended up first in line.  "Go to room 108" I'm told.  Once there I quickly fill out a somewhat typical medical form.  My number comes up on the screen to head to room 113.  "Take off shirt and shoes, put on robe, put clothes in locker" I'm told as a female 3rd grade teacher piles in after me and is told the same thing.  At least there is a changing room which resembles the dressing room at TJ Maxx.

"Go Room 111" and I get weighed, & measured.  "Room 114" I get my blood pressure checked.  "Room 116" I lie down and am hooked to a bunch of wires aka Frankenstein, but a thorough EKG...I'm healthy!  "Room 112" chest x-ray.  "Room 113" eye exam... and a question from the physician, "Surgery? where?"  "right knee"..."hmmm" as the eye doctor examines my right knee, the only one of the whole bunch to read and respond to what I had filled out.  "Room 106" where I get my first untra-sound and they are not gentle here!  poke prod poke prod, "Roll Over" and then I'm tossed a kleenix with some typ of directive to wipe the untra sound cream off of myself.

This place is no B.S.  They got 30 of us full examinations in about 1.5 hours...pretty impressive!

We'll have to see how Bridget does tomorrow.  She's been warned that on top of all of that, she will get her boobs squeezed.

Partying Crew:
Our first week was very cush.  I started work on Tuesday the 2nd.  We had a bus trip to the restaurant district the next night

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