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One Month Off!

Hello Our Friends and Family around the world.

We are now officially into holiday mode.  Holidays started quite abruptly for us as we were not expecting them.  Sounds weird but here’s how it played out. Last week we knew that Monday and Tuesday this week we would have no afternoon classes due to a Science/Technology Fair. That was great. On Tuesday this week we were told by the kids that there were no classes on Wednesday either.  We checked with our Chinese liaison teacher and were informed this was true.  As well there was no school Thursday morning in Block one either.   We returned to the students and explained that due to the schedule we would do our vocab test on Thursday after the assembly.  They explained that they were all going home after the assembly. Again we checked with our School Liaison and were informed that there was now no school all day Thursday. So on Tuesday afternoon we find out our holidays start the next day. Don’t get me wrong, whenever anyone tells me my vacation starts two days early I never complain. But really, we got about two hours notice about this change.  There is something about the power of information and how everyone, no matter how lowly in their position likes to be gatekeepers who allow the information to be trickled out a little at a time.  TIC

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Our classrooms have been updated with new Creme boards (not quite white) and a state of the art 72 inch touch screen computer/TV. It’s lime a giant iPad.

Our Chinese Principal invited us to attend a meeting with the Luwan School Board members.  I gave a short presentation about what we had accomplished this year.  The highlight was the student News broadcast, complete with commercials, which Kim has worked so hard on over the lunch with the students.  After the presentation, Principal Tang took us all out for dinner. Many questionable dishes were served. I tried everything including the soup.  (See picture)  It contained sea horses, squid,  and a chicken foot.  Yum yum!  (Written with the sarcastic font)

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Yes you are looking at chicken foot soup.  Watch carefully for long enough and the foot makes a peace sign.

You may have heard we have had a bit of a smog problem here in China.  Shanghai is not so bad.  The smog level was at 170 pp/million.  The danger zone starts at anything over 75 pp/million.  We stayed in most of the day and relaxed. My asthma does not like this weather and I maxed out my dosage yesterday for the first time in over 10 years.  The last time was a severe allergy attack because I was in a house filled with cats.  I am so glad we leave for Thailand on Monday to give my poor lungs a break.  Incidentally, Bejing had to close the schools for almost a week as smog levels have reached over 830 pp/million.  We are very nervous to visit there this spring.

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The view from our apartment is severely hampered by the smog.  It’s hard to tell, but it is actually a sunny day in this photo.

We have been giving our massage girls English lessons for a month and a bit now.  Their English is really coming along.  I use garage band to make up MP3 versions of the English lessons so they can put on their head phones and practice their English at home.  The transformation from complete non-English into a large number of broken phrases in just over a month is amazing. They listen to these audio files any spare chance they get. I am so impressed with their work ethic.  We did a unit on food and to complete the unit Kim invited them to stay for dinner.  They were so excited and came all dressed up.  When dinner arrived the excitement was tremendous.  Kim served up some peppers stuffed with garlic, onion, pork sausage and chicken, Spanish rice, Tomato & Bocconcini Salad and chocolate dipped strawberries (in season here) for dessert.     The meal was delicious and the girls loved everything and went for seconds.  After dinner they insisted on treating us to a relaxation period.  I was given the royal treatment and received a foot rub, pedicure and a back and neck massage. Heaven!

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We are going out for dinner with friends Terry and Geoff on Saturday night then start Sunday our preparations for Thailand.  We apologize we will not have our computer with us in Thailand which means no phone calls or blog updates for the next two weeks.  While we will be able to use our iPads to get Facebook, we have no way to upload new photos so you must wait until we get back to China. We promise to do an extra long blog with lots of photos at that time.  To all of our friends around the world. Tuin Jia Kwi la.  Happy Chinese New Year!  (Gung Hey Fat Choi BTW is Cantonese)  See you in two weeks!

ImageOur English teachers have their own office located on the top floor of this dark glass fixture on the building.Image

Dong Ling and Geshaukwi toast Kim with some mango juice just before dinner.

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Although hard to see in this picture, this girl has on very high skinny heels and is able to navigate the cobblestoned streets of Shanghai with no problem.

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Here we have 32 litres of Nanfong Springs bottled water to last us about a week.  All of our water consumption comes out of these bottles.   This includes brushing our teeth, washing vegetables, tea, soup, all cooking and of course drinking water. Kim and I lug four of these home every 3-4 days.  We are getting to be quite buff.  These suckers are heavy.

 

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