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Published: November 25th 2008
It has been an interesting first part of the school year here on the other side of the globe. We have only got to the middle of November and the staff is turning into a war zone. It all began with Nancy breaking her leg! Since then we have had at least one person seriously ill with an infection who missed a couple of weeks of school. I had a short five day bout with the flu but only missed one day of school. Other teaches have been battling various degrees of illness, all unrelated to China. This weekend two teachers had to have emergency operations, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday for different reasons. The only family one has here is the school staff so we all took turns at the hospital over the weekend watching over her for the first couple of days. There is no food in the hospital and it is expected that relatives will supply a lot of the nourishment and care that is needed. Some of the more lucky caregivers got to see the bits and pieces removed during surgery as apparently it is all brought out on a silver platter to show
what has been done! I was later told that I missed a great photo op!
Needless to say, we have had some rearranging of staff. Getting a substitute teacher to China for a few weeks within a few days is not something that is possible. The paperwork alone would kill the idea pretty fast. To make it even more interesting, this week is the week we have two inspectors here from BC doing a school accreditation. Because we are an offshore school, we need to be checked out each year to be sure we are all being good little boys and girls and doing what we are supposed to be doing as far as the BC curriculum, etc, is concerned.
Other than that, life is still good. I am bombing to school at a brisk 40 km/h on the scooter to work every day which tells you something about the climate. I pass many people on bicycles and on foot and jockey for position with other scooters along the way. China is an early morning place and by the time I leave at 7:00, the bicycle lanes are bustling with activity. It is getting quite chilly at night
but still nice during the day. I "scooted" down to McDonalds tonite for a couple of take out meals and they were still warm when I got home so I guess it can't be too bad yet. It is so much fun not having to worry about things like red lights, double lines and one way streets. It just doesn't matter. As long as I keep watcing around me, I can just keep trucking forward wherever I feel the urge to go. I still won't go in front of moving vehicles moving onto the road from sidestreets but they always slow down and expect me to. My courage is getting better as I putt around the area more and more. It really would be a long riding season here if we had a motorcycle. It is still being worked on but with everything else going on, the license process is taking awhile.
Last weekend I went to Compute City and picked up a couple of small items. Either I haven’t been shopping for computer stuff for awhile or things are getting a lot cheaper. I paid less than a total of $10 Canadian for a 4 Gb memory stick
and a 4 Gb card for my camera. We hear that there are many jobs being lost in China but you wouldn’t guess the economy is slowing down when you take one trip to any mall or store around here. You can see from the pictures that Computer city was packed, as always, and there was lots of money changing hands. I would love to know how much business that city block does each day. I suppose with 10 million people to draw from, if only 5-10% are shopping till they drop, that is still quite a few customers!!
And I have also included a couple of short videos of some of the kids dancing at a school talent show. They love to dance and you can see from the videos that some of them are pretty incredible. Break dancing is a big thing here and many of them are great dancers. Even though there are no music or art classes in the school, there are some very talented students. During the lunch break and after school, you can often here students playing the piano or other instruments in various rooms of the school. And many are very talented
at drawing as can be seen by various stuff posted around the school.
Tonight, I got back a little late since I am helping out some students with a little private cooking club. A small group (5 or 6) who are interested in cooking got permission from the cafeteria director and the principal to use a small part of the cafeteria kitchen once a week to cook. Each week they buy groceries and then march into the back room kitchen to whip up a few dishes for themselves. They needed a teacher supervisor to complete the process and asked yours truly. So, once a week I go and watch them cook and get to pig out on the results. My kind of supervising. I bring along my little notebook and try to take notes on what they are doing but it is a little difficult since none of them know the English words for half the stuff they are using. Chinese cooking lessons don't get much more authentic than this!!
Well, that is about it for now. There is probably a lot more I could write about but I am probably becoming part of the scenery around here
and no longer noticing stuff that I would have a few months ago.
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