14 September 2006

Burnt popcorn and rain ponchos

I have a few random pictures from this week, so I thought I'd post them tonight. School for the most part has been quite good this week. We have a meeting after school tomorrow which I really hope doesn't take too long or get too crazy. English is fun but I need to come up with some better activities because I don't think I'm being as effective as possible. Science was so much fun this week. We're working on classification of things (people, transportation, animals, etc.) and today I had them bring in ten things from home and fill out a chart (size, color, material, hard/soft, purpose of the object). It was great to see what they brought--everything from Shrek figurines to perfume and Korean money to photo albums. I never thought I would enjoy teaching science, but so far, it's been great. It is true that it's not really science, it's like pre-science since we're not doing any experiments or anything anytime in the near future. Social Studies is ok; we finished our maps of China and I must admit, since they were freehand, at least my map doesn't even really resemble China, but it was a nice shot. The class is still 100% in German which, of course, I love. They have both been absent this week, which is frustrating because one absence means half of the class is missing--it makes any sort of instruction impossible. Tomorrow means a spelling test and more capitalization work for English and comparing and contrasting the Chinese provinces for Social Studies.
After school on Monday, we went on the schoolbus with our students. It was fun to see where they all live and to experience the chaos that is riding the schoolbus. After dropping all the kids off, they took us downtown to officially register with the police.

Daniel 'controlling' some of the boys in the back of the bus. There are no normal schoolbusses here, just charter busses.

Lindsey and I enjoying our ride down to the station.

Karri and Megan were definitely taller than the bathroom stalls at the police station. It would certainly make for an awkward situation if the person in the next stall was a stranger!

Gotta love the squatty potty. Just a point of clarification: squatty potties are quite normal in the sense that they flush and are hooked up to modern plumbing, just like western toilets.

My favorite dish here which I probably eat at least three times a week: scrambled eggs and tomatoes or fan bie gi dan.

One of my favorite people ever: the security guard. He speaks little English but is the most smiley person I've ever met. He does so many odd jobs around our school--he delivers our water, plays kickball with us for gym class, and entertains the children during recess. Here he is sporting one of the little girls' purple backpacks.

On our way to school yesterday, Lindsey's peddle just fell off her bike (she's holding it in her hand in the picture). I was riding behind her and watched it happened. As always seems to be the case, some people stopped and helped us, even though the most we could communicate was just showing them the broken peddle. Somehow, despite the humbling and vast communication barrier, things always work out.

It's been raining off and on this week, but this morning was beautiful, so we rode into school. This afternoon was a bit different. The Chinese have these awesome rain ponchos especially for bikes--it even covers my front basket. The ride home today was one of the first times I've felt like I could truly blend in. With the poncho on, no one could notice my light hair or my white arms. It also helps we were all watching the wet road, trying not to crash into each other :)

This is my water cooler, although it's not really a cooler. If I had it plugged in, which I don't, it would make my water boiling hot or lukewarm. Since I don't have it plugged in, it stays at room temperature, which is fine by me.
I drink a lot of water. I always have and I probably always will. I went through this 19 liter bottle in less than two weeks!

So I didn't feel like making dinner tonight and thought I would make some popcorn instead. I was standing right next to the microwave and pulled the popcorn out at the right time even though it was still popping. This was the result. I have never seen such burnt popcorn before it my life. It was black! I'm convinced that my microwave stinks because the rest of the popcorn was fine. Check out the bag too...It says "Hotest Popcorn" on the top and then stuff on the bottom in three language, Chinese, English, and...Spanish?!? I'm not so sure about that one because I have yet to see any people who speak Spanish here, but what do I know?

Well, it's looking like Shanghai this weekend, which I'm super excited about. I just hope that the weather holds up. In anticipation of being gone the whole weekend, I'm going to try and work on my lesson plans for Monday.


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