Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

Thurs. Nov. 17, 2005: Lecturing, ma po tofu

David does the teaching thing, and cooks at Minna’s house

(by David): For some reason, I’ve been sleeping irregularly on this trip. I seem to wake up around 4:30 in the morning. This morning at 7 a.m., I had a Skype call with Simon, who is in L.A. It’s bad enough to have a 7 hour difference to Toronto, but with a 10-hour difference, one window of opportunity was the 7 a.m. call here on Thursday morning in Espoo, while it was moderately late on Wednesday night (9 p.m.) in L.A.

I had done slightly more prep for the “Innovation and Services” lecture of the Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation class than usual — I had a long list of articles for students to pre-read, and this material is a new direction for me. I had to prepare more Powerpoint slides than normal.

Even with slides, though, I really don’t work from a script. This lecture included stories about the car sharing co-ops in Toronto, the skills of taxi drivers in Beijing (for which Adam had to learn to say “Renmin Daxue”), and our plumber Alex as a knowledge worker (since I rely on him for his experience, and was chauffeuring him around while paying him that day, shopping for a toilet). I cringe at the thought of ever being quoted on these lectures, but I still record them to minidisc for transfer to MP3 files anyway, because the stories seem to get the academic ideas across. I’m usually cautioned that Finnish students are the strong, silent types, but they almost always speak up for me in class. (I always get remarks from other instructors, because the students almost always give me applause at the end of the lecture). This class also seemed to have quite a few Chinese students. Annaleena says that they have to fulfill a number of credits, and she teaches classes in English, so this subject is a likely target for foreign students. (English outweighs Finnish as a probable language for foreign students, even on campus)

Minna took me over to her house for the evening. We went grocery shopping — definitely not an abnormal event for me, and an opportunity to get a few unique Finnish products for people back home. Minna still has black beans from my last trip — I bought quite a few packages last time, they’re so cheap in Toronto — as well as soy sauce and oyster sauce, so the meal was ma po tofu, and beef and broccoli with eggplant. At the Big Apple mall in Espoo, there’s two major hypermarkets. I’d forgotten why I shop at one more frequently than the other, but this time bought the super-dense tofu that vegetarians likely use for steak. (The other store sells a brand with Chinese writing on it).

Fatigue is catching up with me. I asked Minna to take me back to the hotel after dinner, and falling asleep on the short 10 minute ride over.

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