Wednesday, November 30, 2011

snow and stuff

This Tuesday I saw my first snowfall in China and a sharp drop to highs in the low-thirties. Tuesday also seemed to be the day when the students for every class forgot to bring the keys for the outside classrooms. I don't know if it was coincidence or just a convenient way for the kids to gain a little bit more snowball-making time. The snow didn't stay white or powdery for long, but it was a nice change of scenery for a few hours. Here is a picture I took out my window Tuesday morning.

One night last weekend all the other teachers were busy with other stuff and I was was getting super bored (and hungry), so I decided to make somewhat of a legit dinner for myself. So I spent about an hour searching for groceries (its hard to find mayo and mustard here) and another two hours making random dishes that had popped into my head earlier that day. In the end I had a dinner of deviled eggs, carrots (split into quarters and soaked in water, of course), pickled garlic (no idea where that one came from), bread and honey, toast, and pan fried chicken breast. Despite my unorthodox methods of making a lot of the food, dinner didn't turn out too bad. Paprika for the eggs would have been big, but oh well.

I also found some new stuff at the fruit stand the other day. The mini oranges are great. They are only about $1.50 for a bag and they last me a while. Also, it only takes about 15 seconds to skin them, so I can just eat them for breakfast or snack on my way to class. I'm not really sure about the black things, I just bought them because they looked pretty neat (kind of like a demon buffalo skull). Despite looking cool, they turned out to be too much work and not much reward. I had to use a flat head screwdriver to break it open and then to pry the inside out.

Just today I finally managed to find a tutee (I had to verify several times on google that "tutee" is actually an appropriate word for someone that you tutor). She is already accepted to a university in Canada after she graduates and wants to learn some English to prepare for classes there. Her English is good and she is not too shy, so it makes the hour not feel like I am pulling teeth which is nice for a change. I think it will also be good for me because I will have to research news articles and videos (I have tended to neglect the news since I have been here) and give me a different teaching experience.

Tomorrow I am going to try to get a gym membership, set up a bank account, buy a new phone, and meet some new tutees. Should be an interesting day.

Monday, November 14, 2011

more class stuff

I forgot about this story last post. On Friday when I was teaching about family, I had some of the kids tell me if they had aunts, uncles, cousins and which side of the family they were on. One girl was talking about her uncles and she was having a difficult time explaining about one uncle. She started flapping her arms like she was flying. The class and I started laughing and I asked her why her uncle was flying ( I really wasn't thinking), and (as we were still laughing) she managed to explain that "he was die." I felt pretty awful about that, but she seemed to take it pretty well.

This morning in kindergarten, I was teaching the kids about clothing-- pants, shirts, hats, etc. I was trying to explain "put on your ____." and "Take off your _____." I was demonstrating this phrase to them by putting a hat and scarf that I brought on and then taking it off. Then I let them put it on and I would ask them to take it off. Most of the kids are 5 or 6 and just tiny. One little girl asked me if she could put on my coat (I was wearing my blue zip-up hoodie (which is even big on me)), so I let her try it on. The bottom of the jacket dragged on the ground as she tried to walk around ( I really wish I would have had a camera with me) and she could hardly lift her arms because the sleeves were so long. Explaining it doesn't do it any justice, but I thought it was just too funny. Of course I then lost the class for 5 minutes to laughter and giggles.

Tomorrow, I am going to be teaching my students about careers.

Friday, November 11, 2011

this week

Just some little stories from this week.

On Wednesday, a Chinese English teacher, a friend, and I went out to dinner. My friend ordered the two dishes we always order at our favorite restaurant-- fried breaded mushrooms, green beans and eggplant, and our lamb meat skewers. We told the teacher to surprise us with the third dish. We quickly realized our mistake when the waiter brought us a bowl of congealed blood squares and calf stomach lining. After I got over the thought of it, I tried it and it wasn't too bad. She also ordered some chicken heart and stomach bbq skewers which were awful. There are some foods that I just can't understand how Chinese people can eat. Stomach, intestine, cartilage, etc. just doesn't seem like food one can enjoy. However, they do make up for all of that crap with their bbq lamb skewers.

On Monday and Tuesday, another Junior 2 teacher and I each taught for half of the class time. I taught about family and she taught about Halloween. I showed the students pictures of both sides of my family from the beach. As the the students saw the pictures, they let out a collective "WOOOOWWW!!" I thought that was pretty flattering for my family. However, when the other teacher showed the students a picture of Halloween candy, a significantly louder exclamation could be heard. Granted, I should have realized that a good looking family could never stand up against a bucket of candy in a class of 13 year old students.

This morning while I was teaching my third period class, I realized that 11/11/2011 11:11:11 would occur toward the end of my class. At 11:11:01, I turned on the TV which showed my computer's screen saver which displayed the time. We began a ten second countdown and at 11:11:11 everyone let out a huge cheer. It was a fun moment in an otherwise slow day.

One student asked me today if I had a girlfriend, when I responded that I did not. The student said "Well that's good, you get to celebrate Single's Day today." I guess in China, 11/11 is celebrated as Single's Day. I asked the student how I was supposed to celebrate the holiday and he told me that I should drink some wine with my friends (I guess fellow single people?).

Saturday, November 5, 2011


This morning (yeah, I define 12:30 as the morning) I went out to pick some stuff up to eat. A few feet from the school, two guys on bikes ran into each other and one guy hit the ground hard. He laid half in the street for about 20 seconds without moving. I couldn't call 911 and didn't know what to do. I tried to get the attention of the school security guard but he didn't seem to care neither did the other people who saw it and continued on their way. Two kids stood near him playing with their yo-yos and chatting. One man who stopped on his bike finally called the police. The other guy involved in the accident was on his feet and seemed to be defensive about the whole incident (I didn't really see any thing except them fall, so I don't know). After about 5 minutes, the guy on the tried to stand up, the first thing he said was "where am I?". I've only seen a few concussions in my life but I'm pretty sure this guy had one. When the cops showed up they asked him some questions and tried to straighten out his bike. The other guy that was involved left without being asked any questions. It took about 30 mins from the start of the accident for an ambulance to be called. The whole situation made me feel pretty helpless and disgusted by the apathy of those who didn't want to be troubled.