Edit Blog Post
Published: June 10th 2009
Sorry for the gap in posts. I have no excuse since I’m not super busy. But I’ll make one up. It’s too hot here to type or come up with cohesive thoughts of what to type. For the majority of my life I’ve been convinced I’m more of a hot-weather person and that I don’t fit in with Washington weather. Then I moved to an area of China with a sub-tropical climate. Now I fully believe I’m a cool-weather person and miss Washington temperatures dearly. It’s been over 80 degrees here since the middle of May. Now I’m sure some of you are envious but let me explain what hot weather is like here. There’s never blue sky. There’s never a clear view of the sun. You can’t see the tops of 15-story buildings. They’re all sucked into a haze of smog. This smog holds in the heat 24-hours a day so night temperatures don’t get much lower than daytime temperatures. All of this results in a constant sticky/dirty feeling that makes me want to shower every hour. And the pool has yet to open. So we took matters into our own hands and bought out own kiddy pool. We’ve
set it up in the bathroom. It was the most convenient place since we don’t have the means to fill it up in any other room of the condo. We have to walk through the pool to get to the toilet but it’s worth it.
China celebrated Children’s Day two weeks ago so our school planed a special event. We invited all of the students to join us at McDonalds to learn how to make hamburgers. It turned out to be exactly like a McDonalds birthday party. They kids sang some songs, played some games, took a tour of the kitchen (which Bob and I were not allowed to do for some reason) and then built their own hamburger. They were each brought a tray with a deconstructed burger on it - bun, meat patty and lettuce. Some of the younger kids didn’t quite understand the concept and ended up eating it deconstructed - nibble the bun, bite the meat and then, of course, drop it all on the floor. It was a pretty hilarious celebration.
The kids in Bob’s classes love him. They see him and yell his name, but the Chinese struggle with pronouncing some (OK
most) Western names, including Bob. So “Bob” turns into “Boba” which is really funny when a swarm of kids start yelling his name.
The kids are really what makes this job enjoyable. Sometimes it’s the things they do wrong that make it so funny. For example, one of my three-year-old students came to class this past weekend having learned a new English word I didn’t teach him. We teach one new word each class as well as review all the previous words we’ve learned. He continued to repeat this outside-of-class word after everything we learned in class so it sounded something like this, “Train, pee pee! Bus, pee pee! Bicycle, pee pee! Doll, pee pee!” And so on. The TA was able to explain to him in Chinese that wasn’t acceptable. I thought the whole thing was hilarious and didn’t really attempt to put a stop to it.
We somehow ended up waking up at 5 am one day last week and decided to go see what Yangzhou looked like at dawn. What we found were tons of old people walking around. The most shocking and entertaining were the old men walking around yelling; just one giant yell
that lasted a few seconds. Over and over. Later we asked the people at school why they were doing this and apparently it’s believed to give you energy for the day. We also stumble across a giant field with nothing but the remains of torn down housing, restaurants and shops. We know this because we found piles of clothes, pillows, shoes and other items found in a house. We also found what appeared to be public baths as well as piles of dishes and chopsticks, which we assumed were from a restaurant. We have no idea why this was all town down but it looked fairly recent since most of the colors on the clothing hadn't faded. It was odd to be walking around in the rubble of someone's old home. Sadly, I have a suspicion that the people who abandoned those homes didn't intend to do so but were forced to. I'll probably never find out for sure though.
We’ve started teaching at a kindergarten in Yangzhou. We arrive there at 8 am in time to greet the students as they arrive at school. I noticed that once the children say, “Good morning” to me at the front
gate, they proceed on to two women seating at the entrance of the school right behind me. The first woman looks in their mouth and once the kids gets the OK from her, moves on to the next woman who sprays something in their mouth. I didn’t get the chance to ask what they were exactly looking for or what they were spraying, but these were undoubtedly health checks. I saw a few children get returned to their parents while everyone felt the kids forehead. And then a child arrived on the back of his mom’s scooter, as most did. He hopped off the scooter, took a few steps and puked all over the sidewalk, steps away from the entrance to school. He then put on his backpack and walked into school to pass the health check and proceed on to his classroom. Did I miss something? Kids are getting sent away for a possible fever but the kid who chucks right in front of school in plain sight of everyone gets the OK to come to school. Oh, China. The land where nothing makes sense and logic is out the window.
Tot: 2.026s; Tpl: 0.067s; cc: 17; qc: 94; dbt: 0.0511s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.5mb