Mother Nature throws us a curveball

The view outside my office window this morning

The view outside my office window this morning

JISHOU, HUNAN, CHINA — Classes began last week, and the spring-like temperatures encouraged me to believe I had dodged most of Hunan’s winter.


Temperatures began to fall over the weekend, and when I woke up at 6:30, there was this white stuff falling from the sky. And it was about 33 degrees F out — just a tad colder than it was the night before.

Hunan rarely gets snow, especially in March, so everyone was just a little surprised, and excited. One of my students is from southern China, and this is the first time she has seen snow.

Ever wonder what happens when a stand of bamboo gets covered in wet snow?

Bamboo is both strong and flexible.

Bamboo is both strong and flexible.

This is the road leading down from my apartment building to the main part of campus. It’s lined with stands of bamboo on either side, which usually stand straight and tall. This morning, they were arching over the road. Here’s another view.

Bamboo lane

Bamboo lane

By lunchtime, most of the snow had melted, and spring-like temperatures are supposed to return tomorrow or the day after.

My classes this term are the same as last, Listening Comprehension and Oral English. Not much to report that’s news there.

The university has switched its payroll accounts from China Construction Bank to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which not coincidentally opened a small branch on campus in December. This required a trip to ICBC to open an account and get a new debit card. With the help of a student as interpreter, I also arranged for online banking.

While somewhat of a nuisance, switching to ICBC has come with benefits. It has an English website for all services, unlike Construction Bank, and buying stuff online is much simpler as well. Instead of Construction Bank’s USB dongle with a security certificate hardcoded onto it, ICBC gives you a little keypad that displays a security code to authenticate any online transaction. The CCB arrangement required Internet Explorer. Now I can use any browser. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for me, it makes life just a little easier.

It’s the little things that matter, as they say.

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