So the weather is starting to cool a bit out here and having a hot shower each evening is now routine. It’s actually getting pretty chilly in the evenings and I’m considering the search for some sweat pants. Not for regular use mind you, I don’t want to be renamed Mr. Sweatpants. I can wear a sweater regularly, since it is now time to break out the hoodies, but in the words of led Zeppelin: I come from a land of ice and snow. The students are kinda wussy. It’s maybe 17-19 degrees in the shade during the day and 20 in the sun, so this sea of black hair and pale skin has broken out the big guns and jumped right from no jacket to wool jacket. Even the weather hasn’t really changed. It has just gone down 5 or 6 degrees every couple weeks for the last month.
The only change I’ve made to my clothing roster is…long pants! I walk into class with long pants and a shirt on an my students gasp. It’s like fake butter, they just can’t believe I’m not cold. And they are further baffled when I want to turn on the ceiling fans because I’m, wait for it…HOT! Okay, maybe I’m over dramatizing this. 95% of them have a tenth of the body fat that I do, probably less, and they didn’t grow up in a country that is actually cold. But I still think they could do with some shoring up.
But I think that the school could change things very easily in a small way. More fat in the school meals. There are many differences between schooling in China and Canada, and this is a small one. ALL students each the cafeteria food. This is not a “we could cook something” or we “can go out and get something” situation. The canteen here is literally the cheapest food around and it is still better than some restaurants I’ve tried. On top of that, students can’t have electrical appliances in their rooms for cooking food or even boiling water. They school justifies this by parading the words “safety concerns” which is a bit like saying we don’t want soldiers to have guns because they might hurt someone.
In reality, the concern is money. They don’t want students cooking rice or boiling water for electrical reasons. Each dorm room has 6-8 students. There are 11,000 students. That is somewhere between 1375-1833 dorm rooms. If they are all using rice cookers and kettles, the students are suddenly drawing on a A LOT of power. But I digress.
Add more fat to the food. Making a it a little greasier. Now I’m not talking about throwing tubs of lard at the students, but these meals that the majority of students are eating are constipating and unpleasant. If they cook with a little more oil or butter these students might have a little extra body weight to deal with cold weather. Right now, all of these female students could probably apply to be models if they weren’t so damn short. Seriously, I’ve met three people that are close to my height, maybe two inches shorter at most. Everyone else: not even my shoulders. And it’s the food. They get lots of rice and veges, but the meals are very light on the protein side of things. Cooking with more tofu would help, anything with protein would help. These students have been eating school food since they started school. This isn’t a situation of their family being poor, this is where the schools cut costs.