Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Inspired by Colline, I’m trying out a new blogging challenge, Weekend Coffee Share. It’s a simple writing prompt asking participants to share a few experiences or thoughts from the past week.

This week my mom had knee replacement surgery and it went well. We were impressed with the level of care and hospital facilities. (Still whenever I’m in a nice hospital, I can’t help but compare to other countries’ nice hospitals that manage to give good care less expensively. A lot less expensively.)

If we were having coffee this weekend it would have to be on Saturday afternoon since my morning, starting at 3:30 am was dedicated to watching the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Merkle, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. I’m a sucker for the elegance and beauty of a royal wedding.

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It’s a nice break from the ordinary. It’s a rare occasion that brings people together. The bride was stunning in her elegant dress and the groom so dapper in his military regalia. Oh, and those adorable children who served as bridesmaids and page boys. American bride, Meghan got to put her imprint on the ceremony by having an American clergyman give an impassioned sermon on the power of love and by choosing to walk partially up the aisle on her own before her new father-in-law took her arm.  The guest list included people who’ve started and run charities rather than heads of state. A gospel choir performed “Stand By Me.”

I heard back from a good theater near me that they’re interested in reading the full script of the lay I’ve just finished. It takes them about six months to make a decision and it’s a long shot, but I’s an exciting opportunity.

I had a job interview for a Learning Design job. I liked the peopleI met. The work nicely relates to what I’ve done before. I’ll find out next week.


One Day, Two Interviews

Yesterday I had two interviews on Skype. The first was with a school in Saudi Arabia. Yeah, it sounds a bit scary to live in a place that’s so restrictive to women, but a friend here who’s Saudi convinced me to check this out. This university is in Jedda which has better weather than Riyadh I’m told and it’s not far to freer countries like Bahrain.

I had my computer set up well ahead of time, which was good because they called 45 minutes early. While I was on video, I couldn’t see my interviewer. I could only see a hot pink background screen. The whole thing sort of made my head spin. I talked to a pink voice, which was very crisp and to the point. She asked me about my background, my age, and how I’d handle mixed classes and poor attendance. It was all very bang, bang, bang. Let’s go. She did ask if I had any questions and I asked about class size, the background of the university and the size of the school. I was going to ask about the curriculum and texts used, but she cut me off saying the interview was over. Sixteen minutes to decide if I’d be a good fit. Not a lot of time to make a major decision – for me at least.

In the middle of the interview it sounded like a bunch of kids entered the room and started throwing toys around. The woman kind of snapped at me saying, “We can’t hear you.” Well, of course not given the racket that’s going on over there. The whole thing was rather odd.

Later I had an interview with a woman in the US, who works for a high school in Beijing. This was a lot more leisurely and informative. It’s one of these super schools that prep kids for school in the Ivy League (or wherever they can get in). The school uses a lot of apps and is big on tablet use. Their curriculum seems to need some fleshing out and it sounds like all the teachers are quite young. Some are teaching through Teach for America, which I thought was designed to serve the poor, not affluent princelings. (In other words they don’t want to pay mid-career salaries, such as what I quoted.) I’d like to see if I can impress them and get them to pay more. This may be futile, but the woman was knowledgeable and nice. (Though so were the people at XJ, which proved to be an impossible school that even the most patient people, like my friend Spurgeon, flee.) I’m close enough to Beijing to go for an interview, if they agree to pay, as the woman I spoke with thought they would be.

I’m interested, but also cautious. I’m unwilling to teach for a song. The salary I quoted is fair and is less than a calculus teacher makes – so that’s enough of a concession.