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Published: November 28th 2009
Yep, student art show, Shanghai Art Gallery, Beijing Opera, and Bernstein's restaurant. Even the food this month was artistically presented.
Well, once again, it has been a long time since I wrote anything in here. It has been a crazy few weeks. Hard to believe it has been almost a month since Halloween. In that little period, we have had a university recruitment day with over 40 North American universities (mostly Canadian) setting up for a couple of days to recruit our Grade 12 students for next year, a wonderful student art show, a five day trip to a Math conference in Shanghai and a performance by the Beijing Opera at Maple Leaf. Not to mention numerous parties along the way! And the weather was on a good streak until today. Up into the high teens this past week but now raining and miserable. But me and the "babes" are still riding to school every day so life ain't that bad...
Yes, forty universities made the trek to Maple Leaf school a couple of weeks ago. They spent two days talking to our Grade 11's and 12's. It is very likely that most of our 75 grade 12 students
will get early conditional acceptance into university since most of them have overall A averages. They depend on this early acceptance since it takes several months to get their visas together to study overseas. Most will end up going to Canada. It is exciting for our kids to actually talk to university representatives in person and get the scoop on the various places. Maple Leaf is getting a good name in Canada and most of the graduates from other Maple Leaf schools go on to be pretty successful in their studies. This will be the first graduating class from this campus so time will tell how they do.
The students in art class have been studying abstract expressionism for several weeks and put together a great art show at the same time. Not only were the paintings very impressive but the students' comments on their work was great. Each one stood by their painting and was more than willing to talk about what it represented. For many, it was their first work, which was incredible considering the size of most of the pieces. Yesterday, nine of them were auctioned off to the teachers. Most of the money went to
Tom and Bryn
Somewhere under the makeup and the costumes are Tom and Bryn, two of our staff members. Hard to believe!!
a charitable cause and the rest went to buying new art supplies.
Last Wednesday, Nancy and I headed to Shanghai for a few days. I was invited as the representative of our school to a Math Conference that was hosted by Texas Instruments and was one of several guest speakers. It was much more formal than any of us expected. Many well known Chinese math professors were present as well as a few representatives from the Education Department of the Government. Those of us who attended expected it to be a group of teachers sitting around in a class discussing teaching successes, etc. But as with everything Chinese, it was a big deal with a large stage, huge screens on either side, a banner that covered the back, TV crews, crazy. But we all rose to the occasion and did our little presentations. The second day was an introduction by TI to their latest and greatest next generation of calculator, or I should say handheld computer! We all got a free one to take home, which was great.
Nancy trucked around shopping while I was at the conference. On Saturday, we got to look around the main city
centre but that was about all we had time for. We spent some time at the Shanghai Art Gallery, which had a lot of great paintings on display. Of course, much of the first floor was revolutionary art from the Mao era but the rest was a mixture of contemporary paintings by a variety of modern artists. It is pretty tough to see a city of 20 million in one day! There were many other galleries and museums to look at but we just didnt have time. Texas Instruments covered our four night stay at the hotel as well as most of the meals...even after the conference was over. Because the event took place in a local high school, the location was out of the main centre a bit so nobody spoke English at the hotel. I realized my Chinese is coming along when I was able to get a taxi to the subway station, take the metro to the train station, and get a train ticket to the airport, asking directions and getting help the whole way by only talking Chinese. Despite the large number of people in Shanghai that speak English, we didn't run across any that day.
The bullet train to the airport was pretty incredible, a 7 minute trip at over 300 km/hour.
Shanghai was a mixture of old and new wherever you looked. After more than two years in China, many sights are becoming "old hat". I need to give my head a shake more often and start taking more pics of things that we are starting to take for granted...the incredible street food, the variety of colorful stuff and foods in the local markets, women sitting behind tons of live chickens and small birds for sale, and more kinds of two-wheeled vehicles than you can imagine.
Anti-fur people and vegetarians can skip to the next paragraph. A couple of weeks ago the weather was very cold and word on the street was that there was a Tibetan blanket booth set up on the street a short distance from where we live. We went and checked it out and ended up coming home with a beautiful "blanket" of fur (I believe it is wolf) on one sde and fabric on the other. It is queen-size and the warmest covering we have ever had on a bed. Our friend purchased a blanket of wool
on one side and a beautiful design on fabiric on the other. So much for the cold winter nights.
This week, the Beijing Opera made an appearance at our local school theatre. I don't know how it came about but we ended up having a two hour show at the school for free. A lot of great acrobatics, some singing and dancing, wonderful costumes and very interesting music. They played to a full-house of teachers and students along with a few other guests. Two of the teachers were invited to get made up and dressed up in costume for a little PR. It was lots of fun.
Wuhan has many great places to eat and last night we made the one hour trip downtown to yet another place that we had never been to before. Bernstein's was by far the best western restaurant we have been to yet in the city. The food was great, the presentation was beautiful and the prices were reasonable. It was birthday time for one of the teachers and every birthday is another chance to eat or party. Tonight we are off to an American Thanksgiving dinner at the Aloha restaurant, another of
our favorite places. A rare chance to have full turkey dinner with all the trimmings.
For the winter break..four or five weeks in January and February...we are off to Sanya for a week and then to Thailand for a month or so. In a nutshell, tropical beaches to avoid the one month of coldest weather here. It will be fun to see another country and also get back to Sanya for another stay. We loved our holiday there last year. Anyway, that is about it for now. Life is very busy but we are loving it all.
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