In Beijing, the classroom my father teaches English in is small and full of chairs with melamine half-desks attached to the arms. Before the second morning class arrives, you can see the Chinese elementary students through the screen of his window, dressed in matching athletic suits, some yellow, some green, some red, as they practice their exercises down in the dirt schoolyard next door.
The white board at the front of the room is dirty. The shadows of words from last week’s classes remain even after my father has wiped the green marker off. On the first day I arrived I could see the outline of these words: “Pantomime” “Phoenix” “Marriage laws” “My son” “Consciousness” and “Craig”.