My Students

I’ve decided to post some pictures of my students online. I wish this represented everyone, but many students were absent on the first class after midterms. Thank-you Shengda for showing so much love in the classroom. I hope you will visit often to read my blog and improve your English! And don’t forget to contact me if you are interested in participating in our English debates. My husband and I want to organize a debating competition on campus. My email is glenis@interconnex.org

Dragon Gate

We have a Chinese teacher. She took us to her home this week-end. Her mom is amazing and cooked us our first dumplings in China, (with no eggs) along with three other delicious meals. I made French toast for them both.

I do not know our Chinese teacher’s Chinese name. We call her Daisy. Nor do I know her mother’s name. How terrible is it that I don’t know their name? Most people have an English name in our school. When I tried to do a roll call in my first class all my students laughed at me. Speaking Chinese is a bit like speaking Vulcan. It is not the sort of thing you can rush into. Daisy is one of Lester’s students.

Daisy took us to her hometown, Luoyang. First we visited the Horse and Chariot Pits from an Emperor of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty. Then we saw the Longmem Grottoes. Longmen means Dragon Gate and is one of the possible locations of this mythical gate. The legend refers to a carp that saw the top of a mountain and decided he was going to reach it. He swam upstream, climbing rapids and waterfalls, letting nothing get in the way of his determination. When the carp finally reached the top he found the mythical “Dragon Gate” and, when he jumped over it, he turned into a dragon. Several waterfalls and cataracts in China are believed to be the location of the “Dragon Gate” and the Dragon Gate legend is often used as an allegory for the drive and effort needed to overcome obstacles and achieve success in life.

Learning to speak Chinese is my newest challenge. China has a lot still to teach us.

Happy Halloween

"Darkness!"
Charlie Murphy and Mini-me

What do a couple of warm blooded West Indians do on the first of November in China? Run around the Shengda campus spooking their students.

You see, Lester and I are from the Caribbean. We don’t really do Halloween. I like to play dress-up, but only for a long, all day gyrating session, namely carnival. We usually save dressing up for a hot sweaty day in summer where scanty clothing is appropriate, and the costume comes in a far third after the music and the dancing.

We definitely had our doubts when the other foreign teachers from the states invited us to the annual Halloween party and insisted that we dress-up. I had managed to live for 12 years in the US and never once wear a real costume for Halloween. But, peer pressure got the better of us. Plus we made a monetary contribution to the event at the request of the organizer. Funny how things get serious as soon as there is money involved.

Watch out for the Butcher...
Watch out for the Butcher...

On the eve of the party, one of the teachers came out to the bar dressed as a pig. Rumor has it that he paid 500 RNB for the costume. Yup. The heat was definitely on.

... tried to warn you.
... tried to warn you.

In the end Lester and I were very proud of our costumes. Alemayehu and Lester where collectively “Darkness”, and I was a… well I’m still not sure who or what I was, but my makeup was pretty effective.

Voodoo Chinese Queen?!?
Voodoo Chinese Queen?!?

The best part of the night was the walk outside the campus with the whole crew. A goblin, a gansta (with a real gun 🙂 a butcher, (with a real knife) a pig, a vampire, a sexy-ass pirate, oh and a Hawaiian boy-girl thingee. Creepy.

The Whole Crew
The Whole Crew

The whole scary crew left the sanctity of the Foreign Teachers Apartment and approached the unassuming students, under the cover of night. Havoc ensued. Kids were, shall we say, startled? It was a riot. When was the last time you were really scared in a haunted house? Even in the Caribbean we would have a haunted house here and there. I don’t think they have that in China.

Yeah. We thoroughly enjoyed our Halloween night. And just think, there were no tricks involved. Lord bless the Chinese for sponsoring a night of good clean fun… Well almost. I left the party when the goblin attacked the Hawaiian boy-chick.

Watch where you point that gun son.
Watch where you point that gun son.
Johnny Depp step aside for the sexiest pirate EVER! With his Vampire lover :)
Johnny Depp step aside for the sexiest pirate EVER! With his Vampire lover 🙂

On a Quest for Pampers

Our First Walk Around

Ok, so we have a roof over our heads, basic amenities taken care of and we are waiting until after the next holiday to start work. We are feeling confident about teaching at Shengda College. On our first morning here while trying to overcome jet-lag, we were awakened by the sound of students marching in time. Apparently, “Right Left, Right” is a universal soldier song. We soon found out that all freshman have to march for two weeks straight at the start of their four years. That’s good news as far as I’m concerned, cause I’m figuring discipline will not be an issue in the classroom.

At this moment, about a week since we have arrived, we are pretty much settled in. Our only concerns consist of eating, and securing whatever little things we need to be comfortable at home. Most things are easy to come by. After all this is ground zero for that “Made in China” sticker that is on everything sold in the US. And the food, incidently, is great! So good in fact that I’m saving the pictures, videos and details for a later blog entry.

Dorm Living with Flair

But there is a secret about China, at least rural China where we are, that I’ve got to let you in on. All the babies and toddlers wear clothes with a hole at the butt. The little pants and overalls that they wear are made exposing their behinds. You can just imagine my surprise when I first saw this.

Everywhere that Lester and I go, we attract attention. Everyone wants to see the baby. We are among the first Black people that they have seen, and Mayehu is definately the first Black baby. They all want to touch his skin. Well Lester has been loving the attention, he loved to carry Mayehu around even in NY, and now all the Chinese mothers gather around with their babies. Except, we can always see they little behinds. Today in the supermarket, there was one little fat baby siting in the shopping cart with his little weaner jutting out between the cold metal bars.

Smile Mayehu!

Haha. It was pretty funny. Potty training is a whole other experience in China. In fact, I’m guessing it doesn’t even exist. When the babies have to go, they just go, and if mom is quick enough to catch it good for her! She’ll just hold him or her over the edge of the pavement to finish the job. The mothers hold wash clothes over the hole for the smaller babies, and when the toddlers stand-up or run around you can’t really tell there is a hole, which is only apparent when they squat.

So there is no need for pampers, hence our dilemma. I’ve been thinking about it though, and they probably think we are being very unsanitary by forcing the baby to wear his pee around with him. Haha. And I have to admit, as a new mother, I’m am not looking forward to potty training.

Turns out that the pampers were not as hard to find as we had imagined. We were able to get some at the main supermarket that we’ve been buying our household goods and groceries.

The next problem is finding pants, with no holes. hmmm