Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Friday, April 04, 2008

Traffic Cop

I guess the stress has made me overly emotional lately. I've started to become a vigilante.

In front of Aiden's school there's a very busy intersection that the kids have to cross. In the morning the "Green Moms" guard the crosswalks, but in the afternoon there aren't any guards. The immediate area has three schools very close together (elementary, middle, and high school) so you'd think that drivers would be careful, but they are not. I have already found myself shaking my fist and yelling at people for being careless in the streets around that area. Anyway, yesterday I waiting on the other side of the street (across from the school) as I always do, and watched the crosswalk light turn green and two girls proceed to cross. Then I saw a man, completely oblivious, driving through the intersection -- slowly, but without looking at all. I threw myself in front of the car and he stopped, startled. I started waving my arms, pointing to the two girls and the school. He held up his hand, like "sorry, my bad," but I just swatted my hand at him in disgust and stomped away. There were a few other nannys and moms on the sidewalk, so when I came back later with Aiden some of the kids were saying, "Aiden's mom, you were really angry, huh!" Stuff like that spreads fast.

Then today, I was crossing the street with Max and there was a series of cars parked on the side of the road, and a bunch of people campaigning for one of the candidates (#2, I forgot his name). (We have elections next week, and the candidates line up and blast all sorts of noisy messages all over the place.) I was grumbling to myself because they parked their cars ILLEGALLY on the side of the road, in an area where people often thoughtlessly park, causing all sorts of traffic problems in our already congested area, and making it difficult to walk safely. So I went up to the group of tee-shirted supporters and said, "Why is a law-maker parking ILLEGALLY?" One woman just smiled and said, "I understand." But I was mad, so I went on. "Do you understand that you're making it very difficult for all these people over here [gesturing to all the cars trying to enter that street] by parking there? Do you understand how dangerous that is? This kind of thing makes me angry, really really angry!" She just kept nodding and smiling (a bit nervously) and saying, "I understand, I understand," while backing away from me. I huffed away.

I'm going to start slashing tires next.

Second grade woes, city assholes

I've been writing blog posts in my head but not on the computer lately. Haven't had much time to sit down and type, and the mental piles of post-it notes keep getting mixed up and covered up by new notes.

We're going to Shanghai next week to visit schools, though, so maybe things will calm down after that. Right now Aiden's under a lot of pressure to keep up with this school work (I will have more to say about that later), plus his English, since he has to test in English to enter the new school. That was harder than I anticipated. His speaking and listening ability is fine for everyday life, but his writing is poor, particularly his spelling. But on top of that he had to relearn a lot of skills in English. He does math every day, for instance, but in Korean, so we had to switch him to an English math word problem book. (The English-language workbooks are not as good quality as the Korean ones, I have to say. At least I haven't found one that I really like.) He had to learn vocab like greater than, less than, volume, mass, etc. and all the American units of measurement, as well as American money. That's a lot to cover in a short time. He also had to do a lot more writing. We ended up dropping Chinese, at least for now (he went from 3 classes + home practice everyday to one class a week currently). I decreased his schedule and he's still doing about 3 hours of homework every day. Much of that is his school homework. I will probably write more about this whole thing at some point, but in short, it's been a really stressful few months. And we're only in second grade!

Over at printculture, here's my latest post on City Assholes.