Well, here we are, firmly entrenched in school duties. It seems like so long ago that our biggest decision of the day was whether to eat at the restaurant, or at the beach! It’s only through sheer luck that we returned from that paradise……and the fact that we are actually employed in China, and must therefore show up for work! Thailand was such a magical place for us; I miss the people (so much friendlier!) and the warmth (even though we got a sunburn!). Bruce has already fed you all the juicy details about our trip so I will not bore you with more. However, I am so happy we got a chance to go there, since I am not sure I would want to make a 22 hour flight(s) to get there from Vancouver! I like the idea of being so brown – I finally look healthy for a change! Here, if you have brown skin, you are considered poor because you must have had to work in the fields all day. They even have whitening cream at the drugstores to help get rid of that brown skin! The kids at school laughed at us when we showed them how happy we were to be a darker colour! Oh, and one lady on a bicycle was staring at us so much that she almost crashed her bike into the light at the crosswalk. No exaggeration, for real! Glad to be part of the entertainment for people in China!
Speaking of school, we have started our extra classes. The students in these classes are from the school, who want to learn English, but were unable to get into our BC program. They are older, and the 2 classes I have are much bigger than our regular classes – 24 and 29 versus 17! I was pretty much shaking in my boots the first day! Thank goodness, all of them- EXCEPT one student- want English names! Today I made place cards they will put on their desks so that I know who they are, and made enough for Bruce’s and Brent’s 3 classes as well – 180 of them! We only see each class once per week, for 40 minutes, so I’m not sure how much they will get out of this, but we’ll see! At least there are no report cards involved 🙂
Our other students were slow to get going after the long holiday, not surprisingly. We instituted new rules for them: absolutely NO Chinese in class, at any time, without permission from the teachers. We have 5 levels of discipline, and we have caught quite a few of them, but most are at level 1 or 2. When they get to level 4, that involves a call home, plus removal from class, or group, etc. It’s an uphill battle, especially when their Chinese teachers, who are supposed to be teaching them English, speak Chinese to them when they come into the class. I have tried to casually suggest that we need more support from them, but we are not getting very far. I invited the Chinese teachers over for an appie party to broach the subject with them, along with our own teachers, to show a united front, so to speak, but as I said, we haven’t had much luck with them! However, they did enjoy the food I made – all Canadian…..no goose feet or 40 day-old eggs! My question would then be……”why, when they take us out for dinner, do they serve us the craziest food things?” Even some of the Chinese teachers don’t eat the stuff!!! I’m pretty sure they just want to see how adventurous we will be….and then they want to see our reaction to the taste! We have another inspection to go through coming up at the end of March……which means another school admin dinner. Yay. Enough said!
We ventured out the other day since it was such a warm one. We are heading into our warmer weather but it’s up and down all the time. Saturday was 27C, shorts and t-shirts, and then Sunday we were back to being cold, with Monday even colder! Anyway, we went to the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, a beautifully designed building with 3 floors of exhibits and a 4th floor convention centre. We enjoyed the animal exhibit – think Night at the Museum where all the animals come alive at night – because they were very lifelike. However, they were covered in a boatload of dust, and some of the trees were grey instead of green due to the amount of dust on the leaves! About half of the exhibits in the robot section were not working, and quite a few of the experiments were, as the signs put it, “resting at the moment”. A little disappointing to say the least. They have this beautiful building, and all these scientists on their board, but the place hasn’t been updated or really taken care of in years! However, just like at home, all exhibits end with a gift shop!
We are looking forward to having Boyd and Mary-Anne visit us next month for 2 weeks! We are excited to show them around, and to take them to our favourite restaurants! Start the countdown! I’m not sure 2 weeks is enough time, though!
I am including some pictures from the Science and Technology Museum. I don’t think you can see the dust, so enjoy!
Miss you all, as always!
Someone is about to become dinner!You called??They are becoming famous for their signs. Gotta love the translations!Looking down from the 3rd floor to the outside.A sculpture in the plaza. Kind of scary-looking, but amazing at the same time!