Daily Archives: October 23, 2008

White Lightning and Wok Spaghetti

All right folks, this is it. This week, I made spaghetti sauce– FROM SCRATCH– in a WOK! UUUH! *THIZZ face and dances in the kitchen in my house slippers*
After 30 minutes of arduous chopping, dicing, and stewing of tomatoes (since you can\\\’t buy them in a can here), then another 25 of sauteeing (more like stir-frying), mixing, pouring, squeezing packets of tomato paste (they come in PACKETS here! Funny, huh?), then about an hour of allowing to simmer and reduce… I finally have… SPAGHETTI SAUCE! I was so proud of my crowning achievement that I excitedly announced it to Jason, only to be totally schooled when I was reminded that he\\\’d done it already so ppppshaw.
In any case, the reason why I was making spaghetti was that I had my very first dinner party. Last week, I made an announcement to my students that I\\\’d like to get to know them better and that if they ever wanted to come to my apartment for dinner, they only needed to find a group of 3-4 students and let me know what times they were available. At first, I was worried that I\\\’d be book solid for dinner parties and my grocery budget would sky-rocket for the next month. Fortunately, Lisa, Grace Z., Kevin, and Ben (the same students from Happy Valley) were the only ones who took me up on my offer. (Sheesh, guys… don\\\’t all rush at once to want to hang out with your crazy English teacher.)
Well, the dinner party went well and the guys ate a ton. I\\\’m not sure what the girls thought of my strange noodle concoction though they said it was very similar to a Chinese dish. Further proof that the Chinese truly are among the most resourceful civilizations in the world– they\\\’ve done Italian food on their own.
Aside from hosting my students, my students graciously continue hosting me. My government class invited me to a class dinner on a Saturday night after they\\\’d spent the morning climbing Fragrant Hills Mountain to see the famous Beijing maples with red leaves. It must\\\’ve been a hard climb because about half of them promptly got sloshed and we spent the time eating, laughing, eating, and playing (I\\\’m not kidding) DRINKING GAMES led by the class monitors! I didn\\\’t drink, but they did make me sing a song. As we were walking home after dinner (some stumbled home), one of my students told me the hard liquor they were drinking was 53% alcohol. I\\\’m not sure if he just didn\\\’t know the difference between percent and proof, but looking at what this clear elixir did to some of my quietest students, I wouldn\\\’t be surprised if it was 53%. Oddly enough, their English got BETTER when they were drunk!
Meeting with my students outside of class is truly amazing. The more I get to know them, the more I see how incredibly intelligent and talented they all are in their own ways. I always tell my classes that they are much smarter than I am and that I was just fortunate to be born in an English-speaking country. They continue to surprise me and I am so grateful to be here and be a part of their lives as they are in mine.

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