Friday, June 20, 2014

Almost the End! America Fair & 6.5 Work Week

It's funny how I have lived here for a while and almost everyday I learn or experience something new about China or Chinese people. This past week I had a Chinese friend who was having a bad day--so I went to give her a hug. She was SO perplexed by this she didn't know how to give me a hug (this was in public and drew a large scene). A few days later a Chinese coworker told me good news so I went to give her a hug and I think its the first time she has ever hugged someone.

I guess this might be like having someone from France come up to you and kiss you on both cheeks--its a strange invasion of personal space. But hugs are so comforting and standard to American culture...the Chinese are missing out ;)

This week has been a busy struggle! We worked Saturday afternoon and Sunday so it was a longer work week. On top of that we had two BIG storms the last two nights--I live on the 6th floor so my entire apartment shakes with the wind. This is the first time in my life that I don't have a roommates bed to crawl into or someone to cuddle with (mom, dad can i sleep on your floor...? ;) ). I didn't get much sleep.

The next day it was raining in Wanda (the mall nearby)
YIKES--cant be good for their infrastructure...

There were garbage cans all over the mall full of dripping water--the worst part--it was brown. ewwww

Cool mall display

On another note, since China is more into the World Cup, I have gained a much greater interest in understanding and watching the World Cup. I have gained a new respect for watching soccer (its still no football...but definitely more entertaining than baseball--and the guys are prettttty freaking attractive). The US game is on at 6AM here on Monday so I look forward to watching it.

Two interesting articles about the World Cup teams...

What Teams Would Look Like if Immigrants were not allowed to play

What World Cup Teams Can/Cannot Have Sex

I find it interesting that some coaches put such restrictions on their players--do you think it has a large impact on their playing performance?

For current events in my class, one of my students covered the technology used in the World Cup--it was pretty cool to see how important science and technology is to the game and capturing the right images/filming.

Today the students had their America Fair which they have been working on FOREVER--it was a pretty comprehensive research project and showed some of the large differences between American curriculum and the Chinese curriculum. They struggled a lot-- bibliographies, work cited pages, primary and secondary sources, and creating an argument was all foreign to them (not to mention many of the sites with primary resources are blocked by the internet here). I had to step them through each part of the project, which made it really rewarding to see the results today, but ahh I am SO glad it is over with!

Women's Rights

Electricity--these students ALWAYS make the same face in pictures (and then there is Erving on the left who is always smiling)

JFK Conspiracy

Steve Jobs and Apple--these students designed their project as two iphones--the iphone5 and 4s, each with distinctive differences

Qing Dynasty sends students to the US--and Dr. Jerry who is my other history colleague and pretty much organized the whole event

Pearl Harbor

Political Parties

Trying to grade all my projects! These two students are on my debate team and are characters...I can only imagine what i'm laughing about--they researched the Atomic Bomb

Someone had guns on display for The Vietnam War--they didn't stay on display very long

Korean War

This student went way above and beyond the assignment--its always nice to have students exceed your expectations

Planning anything in China is much more difficult than in America, especially because we cant communicate with the majority of the population. The other history teacher, Jerry, organized most of it with the help of one of his students. We (or the students) invited the parents, students from other parts of the school and the press. I had to go around and grade projects the whole time, but it was really nice to see the students parents there--its a little untraditional to work in a school where we do not come into contact with the parents at all.

Only one student introduced me to their parent, but I got a chance to talk with two which was really nice and gave a lot of insight to their children--it has to have a large influence on them if their parent is so invested in their learning and their english ability (this one student's father had near perfect english and knew all about the historical events presented at the fair--we had a nice chat about politics).

Some other pics from the week--

At the mall they always have car displays--this car was 420,000 RMB which is nearly $85,000 (beautiful car but a little above my price range)

Just collecting the trash

Last week was one of my coworkers bdays so we went to Muslim BBQ street for some good beer and BBQ

live entertainment while eating...

The butcher least the meat is fresh?

Felix and his gloves

The food was pretty good--I think just the whole outside picnic (not even picnic) set up made it feel a little dirty. It made me miss Obamas in Shenzhen

Last week one of my coworkers was in Southern China and brought this coffee back from Vietnam--it is made from coffee beans in weasel's poop. yummmm

One of the school clubs last week had a Compare and Contrast between Chinese culture and American culture--so they had Doug cook America food (spaghetti with homemade sauce) and then next to it was Chinese noodles (they also compared university life and music)

Doug was the star of the show

Since there aren't really big parks they have rollerblading lessons in the large spaces in front of malls. These kids were ADORABLE. The little guy on the right could not stay upright. 

Next week I only have TWO classes left--then a ton of grading. With so much free time its almost more lonely and I have been working harder to find ways to entertain myself here. (Hence playing soccer and basketball by myself ha--) Last night a coworker and I went out and tried this new bar/restaurant. It was my first REAL burger in a long time--complete with a lime flavored south american cocktail. Perfect way to end the busy week! 

Time to enjoy the weekend--19 more days until I'm America bound! I have so many doctors appointments and unresolved health issues that I have been putting off (as I just don't trust the healthcare here--the language barrier plays a large role in this--and I have a feeling one of my issues will take follow up appointments--which I wont have time for here) 

I'll miss signs like this...

Day trip to Tai Shan

Since students have testing in our school, we got Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning off last week (back to work Saturday afternoon for a 6.5 work week)

On Thursday I decided to take a trip to a famous mountain that is about an hour away by train.
I decided to wait and buy my tickets at the train station--which was a bad call on my part--I waited forever. 

This couple in front of me was adorable. Here, guys ALWAYS carry their woman's purse. I wonder if they are just that whipped or if it is some kind of statement (she's mine!) 

That's supposed to be a "line"--this is pretty typical in China--lines are distant and foreign 

The slow train that I was on went to Shenzhen! Which has to be about a 30 hour ride

There are sleeper seats (similar to my trip to Qingdao) but many people sit in the main cabin--which has to be so uncomfortable for people traveling 10+ hours

After an hour train and a super enthusiastic cab driver I made it to Mount Tai. Mount Tai is one of the "Five Great Mountains" in China and has over 3000 years of history (70+ Emperors have visited it and many famous people have walked to the top)

"Critical Stone Lot"...??

Chinese people can sleep anywhere

A scholar tree planted during an early dynasty--all together four were planted--only one is still living. 

After about 10 minutes I was already short of breath...


Half way!

I didnt realize there was an "in-bounds"

A view of the top from half way up! The rock seemed to sparkle in the sun 

The typical food that is at snack shops always include tomatoes and cucumber--I was so thirsty that was all I could stomach 

A sign in Chinese, English, Japanese and Korean

These kids walked up with me almost the entire time. After I took one picture i had to take about 50--some people acted as if they had never seen a white person before. 

They wanted one with my sunglasses on (they said it made me look famous...ha)

2 1/2 hours later...the last stretch--pretty much one huge stair master workout 

At the top there was more important sights to see and a little village. There are two hotels at the top but their prices were unreal

UNESCO heritage site

Gorgeous view!

This platform is for viewing the sunrise--maybe if i come back another year and have some friends to go with i will come back and see the sunrise

One of my coworkers was telling me he traveled all the way to the mountain and got there in time to watch the sunrise...but was on the wrong side of the mountain--haha

I couldnt walk anymore, so I took the chairlift down. It stopped about half way then I had to take a bus, the find a taxi to the train station. 

Overall it was an exhausting day but I am glad that I went to go see it--even though it was by myself. It turned out for the best though-I had a lot of time to think and reflect on things. 

On the way home taking the slow train home was extremely frustrating--I was the only foreign person in there and nothing was clearly labeled--they just kept yelling things 

The next day I had a hard time walking!