Cheers to the freakin’ weekend. I’m writing this from a hotel staycation. I felt like celebrating, and I REALLY wanted a bubble bath, so here I am, with a sweet view, a wasted king-sized bed to myself as my body still acts like it’s in a twin and doesn’t move about, and the overwhelming temptation to room-service all my desires.
This is definitely an upgrade from last weekend when my neighbors on both sides were having parties, but I vacuumed and enjoyed it so much I texted my mom and several friends about it. I think it made instagram.
I’ve just been lounging about in a fluffy bathrobe, admiring the view, which has been mostly filled with rain. I made a jailbreak this afternoon to wander about in search of art supplies, and wound up in a karaoke bar, as I do. I was very easily persuaded (“is it okay if I have a room to myself? Here’s my credit card.”) to get a room for two hours and had a great time just sanging. For like $25USD, I got two lemonades masquerading as Long Island Iced Teas, a music catalogue, tons of karaoke. Heaven.
I love my home space but being in it so much because of teaching online and all the restrictions makes me want a different view to see beyond my laptop screen. I’m happy and blessed to afford this wee getaway. Things SUCK but it’s important to create happy memories in spaces where we can.
I have an incredible view, looking out and thinking of all the places I’ve visited, all the people, the potential, the politics. From here it’s a lot of bright colors. But there is so much that I can still discover, even after already living here for three years.
Hong Kong is nearly back to normal and it’s so so good. I think the only rule left is that public beaches are still closed and obviously masks all the time. My fourth graders will be back in the class on the 29th, all of them at once! Our school is staggering in the little ones first, as kindergarten hasn’t been in a classroom since January. The wee babes deserve to get back to normal quicker than my kids who should be able to self-manage a bit better. But soon I will have 24 nine-year-olds squirming and giggling and no longer able to lie about what they’re looking at on the screen in front of me! Yay!
Online teaching is rough. I’m on from about 8am-noon, then another half hour in the afternoon. I’m teaching multiplication and character analysis to eight year olds, while keeping them entertained and engaged and learning, giving tech support to 24 different devices and wifi connections, trying to remember that there are parents in the background listening to everything I say, for better or for worse.
My butt goes numb, my internet goes out, I get super thirsty, I take a bathroom break and am panicked the whole time that I’ve forgot to mute myself or pause the video feed. My neighbors can hear me talking like a crazy person (admit it, fellow teachers, we speak oddly – going into third person, making vague threats that amount to nothing, referencing Bob the Tomato or book characters no one not currently in elementary school could understand, reading example problems out like “if Tim has 47 bananas, but a monkey throws half out of a moving train going 60 miles an hour traveling northwest, what is latitude?”). Kids are playing Minecraft instead of paying attention to me, which I can tell because I’m teaching maths and they’re laughing, and I can see things reflected in their glasses or the mirror behind them, or I’ve called their name six times and they’re not responding. Not the most clever bunch, fourth graders.
One blessing of the virtual teaching – there is a sick pleasure in parents finally agreeing that “he does have a hard time paying attention/completing work/following directions/with handwriting/focusing on the lesson/being nice to friends.” I’m like, “yeah, did you think I was making that up just for fun? Because I was bored and wanted to write some delicately worded emails?” Heads up, parents – teachers do not have the time or energy to make up anything about your child.
Blessing – I can pee SO MUCH MORE. Normally, we purposefully dehydrate ourselves because we don’t have breaks frequently enough to get to the bathroom very often. But when the toilet is two feet away? I can have ALL the tea in China.
Blessing – kids continue to say the funniest stuff. We’re reading a WW2 book and one English-learning student wrote about the “naughties who were doing bad stuff to jewels.”
To keep it interesting, as a class, we play virtual scavenger hunts and 20 questions and pictionary and they are all desperate to show me their stuffed animals. One child, who is convinced she has trained her cat to sit on command, and looks like the human version of a very cute floppy bunny, when asked to describe the Bible, said “the old testament was when the earth was made and the new testament was after Jonah got swallowed by a whale.” She’s not wrong.
I’ve adapted to the online teaching, but it will be so good to be back in the class. To actually see what the kids can do without someone helping them or doing it for them. To create our own community of fun and learning. To watch them interact in the limited way they can. It will be better than the screen time. I hope as we transition back to school, the world can remember the value of teachers, of in-person teaching, the many facets of growth in children that are facilitated by school and teachers when it comes to taxes, to giving thanks, to voting, to honoring members of society.
In other news, not to brag or anything, but did you know that I am the 56th best-selling Children’s Jokes and Riddles author on Amazon? (Yes, there are more than 56 books on the list, your joke is noted.) I’ve been talking about writing a book for ages, but I’m guessing maybe one percent of you would have guessed “pirate joke coloring book” would be the niche I’d try to claim in this highly competitive market, yet here I am!
To be sure, other books I’ve thought about writing are things like “Dating Disasters,” “Travel Stories fit to Print” (this one is coming!), or the one I’ve thought about quite seriously, “Toilets I have Known.” This would be a photo compilation and essay discussion about the places I’ve gone to the bathroom around the world, discussing hygiene in different cultures, access to clean water, the different expressions people use for the bathroom, and also all the funny stories of when I’ve almost wet myself trying to find a place to wee. Think of it as an “Everybody Poops” for adults. Absolutely perfect for those moments in the bathroom we used to spend reading the backs of shampoo bottles, and now waste on our phones.
Why the pirate jokes? Well, I’ve just always had an affinity for terrible jokes, and pirate jokes are some of the most chuckle-worthy in a “wooow that’s so awful I can’t help laughing.” I’ve been collecting them for years, but got really inspired maybe ten years ago on a long road trip with my dad, sisters and brothers to Florida. We started trying to come up with a pirate joke for every letter of the alphabet, and were delirious in that kind of “we’ve had a lot of Mountain Dew, a brother just peed in a cup so we didn’t have to pull over, we’ve been in a car for eight hours” kind of way,” eventually laughing so hard nothing made sense. But I loved it. I’ve had a page on this blog dedicated to the jokes ever since, and a surprising amount of my blog traffic comes from people Google searching things like “what is a pirate’s favorite fruit?”
This summer I put out an APB for any artists I knew, and a total blast from the past contacted me. Rachel (no relation) and I played soccer and basketball together, her mom coaching us, my dad coaching us, her mom was also a substitute teacher. Rachel and I never went to school together, and I don’t think we have seen each other in person since we were maybe 17? But we follow each other on instagram, and have a ton in common, and we are both now teachers. She teaches high school English and journalism, and knew two recent graduates who were awesome at design, would I be interested? Um, heck yes! We met via instagram and then Zoom, I sent them the jokes, and they came up with some of the funniest and most creative drawings to fulfill my vision of a joke slash coloring book. So there you have it! Please give it an order if you feel like it. And know you’d be helping a dream of mine come true! Published author. Cool as.
Well, that’s a wrap. But then here is some more, if you want to connect on any of these points. And just bless you for reading this.
- Read recently and recommend: City of Girls, American Dirt, Scythe series.
- Currently Reading: A Brave New World, Aldous Huxley.
- Watched recently: Unorthodox. Parasite (OMG). Rewatched the Hunger Games.
- Currently Watching: Norsemen, How to Get Away with Murder.
- Listening to a lot of: London Grammar.
- Latest culinary joy: bought a tortilla press for like $3USD!