#63 Teaching at Taizhou Teachers College-A Special Occasion in China

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May 15th 2007
Published: May 15th 2007
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Birthday Girl ToastsBirthday Girl ToastsBirthday Girl Toasts

Cathy toasts our table, flanked by Gary (left) and Oliver (right)
The significance of a Chinese young person reaching the age of 20 years cannot be underestimated. It is roughly equivalent to the importance that used to be associated with turning 21 years old in the West, only much, much more.

For the young person involved it marks their entry into the adult world and all that that entails. Their dreams of increasing independence are tempered with the realization of the equally increasing responsibilities. Responsibilities such as entering the workforce with a “good” job; finding a suitable partner, getting married and having a family and, of course, providing for their parents and sometimes even their grandparents into their senior years. A heavy burden, indeed.

For their parents it means a huge shift in their perceptions. Their son or daughter is no longer a child and now needs to make a mark in the world and help provide for a brighter future for the whole family. A task made all the more difficult in a country that now is 1.6 billion persons strong and where the majority of families adhere to the One-Child Policy.

In reality, the majority of Chinese young people are studying well into their twenties and
Birthday SmilesBirthday SmilesBirthday Smiles

Mum joins her.
their lives are anything but independent. Every minute of every day, from 6am to lights out at 10.30pm, is accounted for. Personal time is almost non-existent. Couple that with the expectation that they will be well-established and married with a child by about the age of 25! Mixed messages indeed!

So share with me the experience of a number of 20th birthdays. Firstly, my friend Cathy, a student from nearby Taizhou Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine College; secondly some of my own students from Taizhou Teachers College and finally, Hannah, a young Aussie teaching English at a local school in the south of Taizhou.

In addition I wanted to celebrate Stef’s first birthday in China (not her 20th!) and my boss’s daughter Emma’s 18th birthday. We also celebrated her acceptance into the country’s #1 Foreign Language Institute in the country (in Beijing) to major in, of all things, Hungarian!
A very busy month or so!

Additional photos below
Photos: 44, Displayed: 23


Cathy,  Hannah and Penny Cathy,  Hannah and Penny
Cathy, Hannah and Penny

Smiles all round again!
Conny & HannahConny & Hannah
Conny & Hannah

Conny, one of our vivacious Chinese friends joins Hannah for a pre-dinner chat.
Claire & JoeClaire & Joe
Claire & Joe

Joe's Aunt Claire was visiting for a week or so from Canada.
Family FotoFamily Foto
Family Foto

Cathy with her mother, father and younger sister.
Joe, Jeff & TigerJoe, Jeff & Tiger
Joe, Jeff & Tiger

The gents looking dapper! Tiger,of course is on the phone.

Our friend with the local hotpot restaurant that Stef loves so much!
Marg, Kevin & PaulMarg, Kevin & Paul
Marg, Kevin & Paul

My Aussie mate Marg is joined by local teacher Kevin and Paul, an American gent teaching English at the nearby Taizhou Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine College.
Stef & GaryStef & Gary
Stef & Gary

How about a smile, Gary?
Oliver with a sore jawOliver with a sore jaw
Oliver with a sore jaw

Oliver wants to smile, but he had a nasty tumble on his bicycle.
Tiger & Yuan YuanTiger & Yuan Yuan
Tiger & Yuan Yuan

Cool guy Tiger again with lady friend Yuan Yuan
School Buddy Toasts the birthday girl..School Buddy Toasts the birthday girl..
School Buddy Toasts the birthday girl..

I thought at first that this young man was Cathy's younger brother or cousin, but he turned out to be one of her old classmates!
Look at me I'm eating cake with chopsticks!Look at me I'm eating cake with chopsticks!
Look at me I'm eating cake with chopsticks!

Stef insisted I take this picture. The cake is not cut into slices like we do, but is put in the middle of the table for everyone to "dip" into.
So are we!So are we!
So are we!

Penny and Hannah ham it up for the camera!
Tiger tackles the last piece of watermelonTiger tackles the last piece of watermelon
Tiger tackles the last piece of watermelon

Tiger demolishes the artwork!
Ghost Tries to Outdo HimGhost Tries to Outdo Him
Ghost Tries to Outdo Him

Not quite as elegant, Ghost!
KTV crooner....KTV crooner....
KTV crooner....

Yuan Yuan sings one of her favourite Chinese pop songs. KTV is very popular in China, but it is not the same as what we know as karaoke. Each KTV lounge has a number of rooms, varying in size and facilities. Groups of friends then hire the room on an hourly basis. Normally I hate karaoke with a passion, but this was a really fun night!
Tiger sings up a stormTiger sings up a storm
Tiger sings up a storm

Tiger, of course was not to be outdone!
Penny & JeffPenny & Jeff
Penny & Jeff

Doing a duo.......
Cathy & PennyCathy & Penny
Cathy & Penny

Yoi're supposed to look like you're enjoying yourself, Penny!

1st July 2007

Hope you are enjoying your summer travels.
Wonderful photos and great memories. I'm looking forward to more exciting and rewarding adventures with you in the coming school year, and wish you "happy trails" around beautiful and enigmatic China.

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