Wednesday, July 21, 2004

this is how every day starts

every morning at 7:45, there is a bus waiting for the GREAT AMERICAN TEACHERS WHO CAME FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GLOBE. it waits, diesel fumes pouring out, right outside our hotel. we board the bus, like we're the new york yankees or something, heading to yankee stadium, and it rides us down the hill. it would be about a 10-minute walk...downhill, all the way. mind you, it is in fact sorta hot even at this time of the day. so, i must admit it is nice to walk out of the air-conditioned hotel, take a few steps outside, and then duck back into air-conditioned comfort. but still, this is an outrageous extravagance. we didn't have this treatment the first week, then someone dreamt it up, and it started monday. i tell the other teachers: this is all part of the production, all part of the drama. it is all part of flying in THE GREAT AMERICAN TEACHERS WHO CAME FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GLOBE to be the first americans to teach at Wuhan University.

and the number one supporting actor, in the great play about the great american teachers, is the bus driver. this guy could honestly just coast us down the hill. he could cut the engine, ride the brakes, and it would take maybe 3 or 4 minutes. instead, he guns it down there, honking and honking and honking. everyone must get out of the way. some of the teachers walk down, taking a short-cut through an otherwise serene, peaceful, pedestrian road, and they say they can hear the bus leaving the hotel, and trace every inch of its progress, because of this incessant horn. at first we thought this driver was crazy. we thought he was just plain nuts. but then this morning it dawned on me: he is undoubtedly the best driver they've got, if he's in charge of THE GREAT AMERICAN TEACHERS. and he knows this. and he knows he has the most precious cargo, which COMES FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GLOBE.

and it's really our final approach to Building #5 that is most impressive. there is a wide sidewalk in front of our building. nearly every one of the 450 students we teach every day must walk along it to get inside. they are arriving at roughly the same time we are. but every morning, at 7:47am, the great-america-teacher-bus charges through this sidewalk, again, horn blaring. in fact he lays on the doesn't stop. we may as well be playing Ride of the Valkyries. it is a most auspicious way to start the day, but it is all part of the way we are treated, all part of the way Wuhan University feels it must honor, and in fact celebrate, the presence of the GREAT AMERICAN TEACHERS WHO HAVE COME FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE.

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