An American in Chengdu

New office | December 23, 2009

Before I left for a short trip to the States a couple of weeks ago, Samantha and I went to scope out our “new” office building. It’s actually an old building where Samantha used to have her office, but it’s been undergoing earthquake repairs. I was excited to see it, especially given that one doesn’t see many of these traditional buildings left around Chengdu.

Only a few people had moved in so far, and Samantha claimed a spacious office for us. She explained that it was past the office charged with the correspondence-course students, who have to show up by the hundreds twice a semester to take care of something or other in person. She didn’t want people coming by our office every few minutes asking where the correspondence-course office was, a problem we should avoid in her chosen location. She procured keys and told me to come to work in the new office on my return.

A few days in to my trip, however, she emailed me to say that the vice dean had decreed I should have an office with a heater, which meant a smaller one than we’d selected, and one on the path to the correspondence-course office. I’d finally learned to cope with unheated offices with the help of long underwear, an electric foot heater, and hot tea, so I was a little unhappy that the vice dean had chosen this time to treat me like a delicate foreigner, whether I liked it or not.

The smaller, heated office is spacious enough, though, and will be a nice place to work once the parade of students coming by to ask the whereabouts of Teacher Zhao passes. We tolerated it on Monday, but on Tuesday I found Samantha hiding out in our old office across the street, avoiding distractions.

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    About me

    I've come to Sichuan in search of adventure, fluency in Chinese, and awesome vegetarian food. I have to concede that the baby pandas are very cute.
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