My inquisitive cousin Bill Warner sent me a list of questions about my life in China. Bill lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which has a strong connection to the Middle Kingdom: Some of the most brilliant students at Harvard and MIT (Bill’s alma mater) are Chinese-Americans.
Here are Bill’s probing questions and my probative answers:
Q: What is your day like? How long do you teach? What do you do before and after teaching? Do you have much free time? What do you do with it?
A: I’ve had a light teaching schedule so far, but that’s going to change next week when the freshmen arrive. (They start a month after the upperclassmen because they’re required to attend a military-like boot camp before beginning classes.) I’ll be teaching a maximum of 20 hours per week, but I won’t know my updated schedule for a few more days. There are no classes this week because of the extended celebration of National Day (marking the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1, 1949), so my friend Damian and I are going to take the high-speed train to Xi’an on Thursday to see the amazing Terracotta Army. I’ve been using my free time to explore Zhengzhou, ride my new bicycle, play basketball, sample Chinese cuisine, get cheap massages, take guitar lessons from my musician neighbor and try to make headway on my list of 100 great books that I promised myself I would read during my stint in China. I just finished Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment,’’ which is like a Russian “Breaking Bad.’’ (Yes, I am obsessed with that show.)