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September 3rd 2008
Published: September 3rd 2008
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It’s been a busy past few days to saw the least.
I’ve barely had time to email much less blog. And when I did, the pictures just wouldn’t upload. So here I am finally.

We’re finishing up in Zhuhai now. I’ve already had my Chinese test, and Monday I had my teaching presentation. It went alright. We’re supposed to act up like real kids do (we’ve had a bit of fun doing that since as kids, none of us ever did that—we were always the goody two shoes studious ones). We accidentally broke the chandelier twice, just to give you an idea. And we had people hiding under desks, stealing the teacher’s stuff, talking on phones, writing inappropriate pictures on the board, lots of note passing, even a fight. Hilarious. Even the critiquers were in on it (in between writing stuff—yes, my teachers were as bad as we were). For me, they didn’t necessarily listen, which was normal for us, but they weren’t disruptive either, which is fantastic. The people before my partner and me weren’t so lucky. Neither was my partner. We were the second to last presentation of the day, too (meaning no one really cared about anything at that point). In case you are wondering, for our topic, we used a CSI theme and staged a mystery. WE didn’t’ kill anyone off, but instead pretended my book was stolen at Starbucks and then made the students the detectives. Then in the process of going thru the lesson, my “students” decided I had been killed (actually, it was my program leader who decided that). Then I pointed out that I had not been killed since I was standing there actually teaching them.

Went out for my birthday on the 1st. We went and did karaoke, which I was hesitant about, but had a blast. It started out with 12 of us and we got our own room. By the end of the night, I’m guessing at least 30 of us were there (one third of the entire group). And yes, I did get up and sing with the group (no solos, I don’t hate anyone that much)! But when people keep refilling your glass, it’s not so bad. They all sang happy birthday in Chinese to me twice, once at midnight and once when the song came up in the order. Definitely a memorable birthday, probably one of the funnest.
I certainly don’t feel 30. And everyone here thinks I’m 24 or something. One guy even said that I couldn’t be 30 since I’m still pretty. I’ll take that as a compliment from a 21 year old.

In other news, when I went shopping with Shayla and 2 others for clothes Sat at the underground mall, I did fairly well. I got a fake pair of black crocs (which are hideous but so practical here and quite comfy) for 18 Yuan (7 Yuan to a dollar). I needed the largest size. Got a prettier pair of black sandals for 140 Yuan ($20, don’t panic) that are fairly comfortable and can go with skirts and pants. Also the largest size. Not as cute as I would normally get, but practical is outranking at the moment. And I’m just happy to be able to find shoes here. I had been told that anything larger than a US 8 ½ would be difficult. Also bartered for a skirt that’s covered in what seems like hand painted peacock feathers and has beading on the feathers for 50 Yuan. She wanted 80 Yuan. I also found bras for 19 Yuan (that’s cheap even for here!) and some “Calvin Klein” one-size-fits-all-Asian-women underwear. I can get it on just fine, but then it only covers about a third of my butt. Oops.

At dinner that night with my friends I was asked by some random Chinese guy if he could take my picture. Usually, they don’t’ ask, they just pretend they’re taking a picture of something else and at the last minute move the camera and take your picture instead. So, since he was polite, I said sure. Then he asked if he could get his picture taken with me and told me I was pretty. How do you say no to that?

Went shopping today too. Got some shirts finally. (Did you notice something was missing from my previous list?) A few were around 30 Yuan (including 2 long sleeved ones), but I did get 3 short-sleeved ones for 10 Yuan a piece! They fit just like my Gap shirts that I lost, which is nice. It’s been fairly difficult shirt shopping. A lot of shirts are too low cut for a teacher to wear or are really expensive or both.

I’ve also managed to replace my travel alarm clock and some of my basic meds. There is no such thing here as Benadryl, for example, and it took 3 employees and a random customer to figure out what I was wanting. And when I was trying to replace my Imodium AD, they thought I wanted something to eat! We got it figured out and then the woman helping me the most was a bit embarrassed. Perhaps I should have used the word “medicine.” Duh. I even managed to get the Chinese form of Advil, but it only comes in a 10 pack.

Been eating a lot of sushi from Jesco and the other day a group of us went out to this dumpling place that’s the size of a garage stall. 3 Yuan a plate! Yep, I ate lunch for 50 cents! And my mouth was so happy! 3 of us shared a table with a Chinese girl and what I thought was her father (but wasn’t). She taught us some Chinese and we helped her with her English. She was amazed to see Americans, 2 Brits, and one Aussie all in one place. If only we’d had the Irish guy with us too! Definitely one of my favorite meals here.

We get our TEFL certificates this afternoon. I mailed my dad the paperwork he needed for my stupid United claim. If I want it there in 15 days, it's affordable. If I want it there in less than a week.... $30. I decided time was worth more than money.

Haven't gotten online for awhile and not sure about access for the next few days. I'll do my best, but don't panic if it takes a while.


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