Published: April 1st 2012April 1st 2012
Making a spectacle...
One of Mike's students on the school excursion
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…..I am honoured. Miss Piggy phones especially to tell me about her new boyfriend, who has now been introduced to her family. He is from Taizhou, a city of about 5 million an hour to the east of Yangzhou by train. It's close to her home, the satellite town of Jiangyan. She'll continue to work in Suzhou for the rest of this year but she sounds pretty serious about putting her faux wedding & the preceding year & a half in the remote mountain farmhouse in Guizhou behind her. She sounds very happy. “I am honoured because you are my foreign friend, so I phone tell you”. Well I'm honoured to be held in such high esteem & of course she is honoured that I am honoured, etc... I expect I'll meet them both before long.....
…..as if that's not enough I'm honoured again when my friend Dr. Wei turns up at Gloria Jean's Friday night gig & stays long enough to give me her good news. She's pregnant & the baby is due in September. I have been nominated as his or her English teacher already!....
…..little irritations abound of course, the
This is how it's done
more so when, because of the language barrier, we are often in the dark as to why things are the way they are & there appears to be no way through or around them. China holds a grudge against Google so, if you're searching Google for say, some innocuous pictures for a lesson, you can find it suddenly timed out & unavailable. It will reset itself later but could lock up again at any time, or a site you're looking at will suddenly flick to a Chinese search engine. Not Road Rage but Superhighway Rage.....
…..I could mention that, because the hot water is not on 24 hours a day each time the pump is switched off it forms air locks in the pipes so on turning the tap on for the first time results in a vigorous spurt which, if you happen to be dressed at the time, gives a passable impression of severe incontinence. I could mention it but I won't.....
.....foreign teachers are invited to a lecture & demonstration of acupuncture & moxibustion, (cupping), at Subei hospital. The lecturer quickly realises his lecture & powerpoint show is whistling rapidly above the nodding heads of the
A visiting Israeli doctor has a go
assembled audience but he recovers his composure when we get to the practical demonstrations, on either brave, or just plain stupid, volunteers. I'm still not sure how many meridians are involved, exactly what "Qi" energy is, other than, "too complex to explain" & am still unclear as to the benefits of having raw circular marks left on your skin after the application of hot air in a jar, or bamboo tube. It appears to be fun for the applicator if not the (is this a word?), applicee.....
….the Grade 7, 8 & 9 school excursion falls on the weekend we have to work, (to compensate for next week's Qing Ming or Tomb Sweeping Holiday). Mike & I get transported on one of a fleet of buses taking around 1,000 students to Joyland, a fairly cheesy amusement park in Changzhou, about two & a half hours away south of Yangzhou. It's an absolutely beautiful day, sunny, clear, (for eastern China), blue sky, over 20C. There are some pretty cool rides but long queues. I'm not prepared to wait an hour to get on the roller coaster. We amuse & are amused by some kids from another school as we wait
Margaret, (Gr.8 English teacher), Chen Bei,(librarian) and Chance
to go on a sort of fantasy flight simulator in a big geodesic dome.....
…..among the tacky & cheesy paraphernalia there are some really great, often simple ideas, including a fountain on flat paving which forms a water fence around you in various configurations. You have to try to get in & out without getting wet. (See photos)......
….the kids arrive back at the school absolutely bowed down under the weight of inflatable hammers, plastic swords, clear bags of coloured silicone & other necessities.....
…..my friend Wenyi, (who I met on the train to Harbin early in 2010 & stayed in touch with ever since), should arrive tomorrow from Nantong to stay in Yangzhou for the Qing Ming Festival. She'll stay with her surrogate “sister”, Shen Yue. We'll probably round up a group to go for dinner tomorrow night & she's keen to make a day trip to Nanjing on Tuesday. Looks as though this fantastic weather might hold out. Fingers crossed.....
…..I don't know whether this really is a Chinese story but it's a good one. Thanks very much to my friend Jo in the UK for passing it on. Chinese Story....
elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water..
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments but the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.
'I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.'
The old woman smiled, 'Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path,
but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known
Mike in THE sunhat
School excursion to Joyland
about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.'
Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make
our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them. SO, to all of my cracked pot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!
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