After just about one week of working on my report (so, halfway through the time I was supposed to have), I was called in for another meeting with my professor. At this point, I’d basically done a whole bunch of research on ground source heat pumps, but had barely started looking for models to include…so, I had the basics but nothing special for the report. I spent the rest of the week looking for more sources and finding myself incredibly overwhelmed by what I found because 1. I’m not a plant specialist…like, I haven’t thought about any sort of technical plant stuff since biology in freshman year of high school and 2. I haven’t taken heat and mass transfer yet…which is what this whole research project is about. So I’ve found myself having to learn as I go about some high-level plant science and heat and mass transfer concepts. And then write about it all.
This week was also the most difficult teaching experience I’ve had so far. Basically, the night before class, I got a message from the teacher at the weekend school saying that she was sick and another teacher would be replacing her, which I said I was comfortable with. A few minutes later, I found out that the replacement teacher was my classmate Matt…another engineering student, and not an actual professional teacher. When we found out that we would be working with each other, we were both a little nervous, but ended up agreeing so that they didn’t have to cancel the class. The lesson went alright, all things considered, but it was definitely an experience I’d rather not repeat. First, we weren’t given a lot of new words to teach. We were told to review their old words (which went great) and two sentences (which did not work at all). We had to use games that the students had already played, so a lot of them didn’t want to pay attention and ended up being way more rowdy than usual.
This week started with more work on my research paper. On Tuesday night, I met with my friend Binny to help her with her final project for a film and media class. She’s creating a documentary on dance, and it’s based around me and Kanae (one of the upperclassmen in 525). I kinda hate being on film, so I was pretty nervous, but I had a lot of fun talking about dance with her. We talked about my history in dance, my dance “process”, my attitudes and feelings about dance, and some of my favorite pieces. Kanae ended up being a bit late for her interview, so I stayed after my interview to keep her company and chill for a while. As the week drew to a close, I was still working on my paper, waiting to hear from my professor, and planning a trip to Hong Kong with the other girl in my building. By Friday, I had finished the research and made pretty good progress on writing the paper, so I gave myself a day in the city on Saturday.
So Saturday I took a much needed break…since I’m working on a paper instead of in the lab, I’m spending a lot of time alone in my room. Which leads to bouts of intense productivity broken by periods of just zero motivation. So for a change of scenery, I planned a little day out in the neighborhood around the Shaanxi Road metro exit of Line 1. My first stop was a little kitschy little store inside a huge luxury mall, which was a little odd but still a pretty rad stop. Next, I headed a few blocks out to a cafe I had seen highlighted on one of my favorite Shanghai/expat-in-Shanghai websites. On the way, I had the strangest encounter with a monk of some sort. I didn’t realize until I was passing by him that he was trying to give out little cards. I tried to keep walking, but he basically dropped one on the papers I was carrying. I stopped to give him a small donation, which he responded to by giving me a little buddhist prayer bracelet. As I tried to walk away again, he tried to stop me again for a larger donation. At this point, I was feeling pretty uncomfortable with the whole situation and I was noticing that at least one person was stopped on the sidewalk nearby watching, so I got away and sort of speed-walked down the road. Still a bit weirded out, I found the cafe – after entering through what looked like a funky furniture store, the cafe was outdoors in a little hidden garden which probably looks even more gorgeous when all the flowers are blooming. I ordered a lemon tea and a hazelnut cake (as recommended) before heading back out to wander around a little more. My last planned stop was a little flower shop, well known for it’s gorgeous faux flowers…so I bought a faux rose to fuel my rose addiction.
I didn’t have to teach on Sunday (Monday was a day off for the Dragon Boat Festival – a national holiday), but it still ended up being really hectic. It turned out that I had a lot to do to finish my report draft, and it had to be e-mailed to my professor in the evening. Turns out, when your report has over 30 different equations, formatting can be a bit tricky and time consuming. Plus, I realized that I had lost one of my minor “fluff” sources, so I spent a good deal of time checking my browser history for it before deciding to just go back into my paper and pull all the little facts that came from it. I did finish though. The draft made it to my professor, and I could relax on Monday (even though I couldn’t go out to celebrate the day off).
Until Next Time,
Again, I don’t have many pictures from this week. I’ve got a couple blog-y food pictures from the cafe, but that’s literally it.
A giant mug of some delicious tea