Friday, September 12, 2014

Quiet Week


            I don’t really have much to say this week sadly and not much in the way of pictures either.  It didn't help that this week was pretty busy as well with sports, committees and school activities getting into full swing.  It wasn’t all bad and I do have some little tidbits to share with you.

            I finally made it to the bank and finalized my banking situation after a fashion.  It was on the way back that I began to feel like a secret agent man, with 6 different IDs, NJ driver’s license, PA driver’s license, US Passport, Mongolia alien registration card, and my school ID.  The four different currencies in my wallet didn’t help either, American, Mongolian, Chinese, and Japanese.  Now Patty, Colleen, and Brian can probably explain that this isn’t a secret agent man thing but a now your living overseas thing.  Now on the topic on currency the Mongolian currency (tugrik) is all paper.  The current exchange rate is around 1800 to 1900 to the American dollar.  So far I’ve used 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20, and 10.  Apparently there are 5 and 1 tugrik notes, but I have yet to actually see them.  One of my fellow teachers has stated that he is using the notes 1 tugrik notes to wallpaper the bathroom in his house in California.  Now of course this means that a big stack of bills that would make any gambler jealous might only be worth a few dollars.  I used a stack of 100, 50, 20, and 10 tugrik notes to pay for lunch and it looked like I had a thick role in my pocket.  In case you’re wondering lunch is 4000 Mongolian (around 2.20 American).

Mongolian currency

            This week was also the yearly ritual of Beat the Teacher night, sorry I meant Meet the Teacher Night, or as my school calls it Curriculum night.  We had a rather low turnout which from what I've been told is fairly typical.  I had 8 parents stop by over the course of the night and the entire event went well.  It was a little awkward with the two parents who couldn't speak English, but the kids were there to translate so I managed.  I did enjoy the free dinner though.  The big low of the night was when I knocked my laptop off the desk breaking the power cord and wrecking one of my USB ports.  (I got a replacement charger from the school)  The rest of the computer is working fine though and I am really glad I spent the extra money for a solid state hard drive.  It fact the entire setup is working great, my little mini projector is a champ running through the entire day except for the last few minutes of my sixth grade class occasionally.  It’s the best 300 bucks I ever spent, I don’t know what I would do without the little guy.

            Now if I can just figure out where to get a Nintendo Wii controller and hook it up to the computer.  No, not for games but there is a way to make a poor man’s smart board with it.  While I've taught with a smart board before I can get by without it, but it would be cool to mess around with on occasion, Diagramming slides, interactive web games, labeling diagrams, etc.

            Cross country is in full swing and the team is actually pretty big around 25 kids across the middle and upper schools.  I know it’s nothing compared to some of the teams I've coached in the past, Moorestown, CBA, but the entire secondary school is only 220 kids.  That means we have ten percent of the student body on the team.  That kind of size is unheard of in the States.

            I took my ninth graders outside for a lab this week and the only word I got from the administration was to take pictures of the kids doing science for the website.  The last time I tried that in NJ I got the third degree.  I’m taking the same class off campus to a river next week and all I needed was an extra chaperone.  Wooohoooo we are doing science now kiddies.

            I have a long weekend of grading and a few errands ahead of me so I am posting this early.  If anything exciting happens in the city tomorrow, I will let you know.

Send Cookies, or muffins, or scones, or …. Well you’ll figure it out

PS- Oh I almost forgot my latest cooking experiment.

            1.5 cups of Thai long grain rice
            1 can of canned beef
            1 cup frozen vegetables
            A bunch of water
            A dash of milk
            Garlic powder
            Cayenne pepper
            Deli mustard

            Throw everything in a pot and boil until cooked.  Well it took an hour and the results were well I don’t think Arbie would eat it.  The rice was still under cooked, the meat disintegrated, and the vegetables the less said the better.  I don’t understand though rice is a starch and pasta is a starch.  When I do the same thing with pasta it works pretty good and only takes 10-15 minutes tops.  So I had cereal instead, I mean that is impossible to mess up.

PPS- Send muffins, aaahhhh muffins