26 September 2007

Deutschland hat gewonnen!

I just got back from the semi-final game of Germany vs. Norway in the Women's World Cup. It was much more exciting today--some excellent soccer was played! The best part was that Germany won 3-0. It could be an interesting final game if the US also win their semi-final match tomorrow.

One of our students got us tickets. We had great seats again on the bottom level, but this time it was front row of the second section up. Aren't our German flag stickers cute?

They announced the attendance was around 54,000. Much better than the 20,000 from Saturday's game. I've read that the stadium holds 60,000.

Riding back in the rain was interesting, but I survived. Only two more days to go until one week of vacation :)

Hooray for great soccer,

23 September 2007

Fall Camp and The World Cup

Currently reading: September 10th Newsweek (US edition)--thanks Mom and Dad!

Currently listening to: Funnel Cloud, Hem

Last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday was our Middle School Fall Camp. We loaded all 100+ middle schoolers into charter buses early Wednesday morning and headed off to a resort near Beijing. I haven't done too much chaperoning since becoming an "adult", but after this week, I'm happy to go back to just merely being a teacher. I had a great cabin of 7th and 8th grade girls. It was a Japanese style resort, so we slept on mats on the floor. The facilities were amazing--it was quite easy to forget that we were 20 minutes from the Beijing airport. The middle school students are all split up into 4 different houses (Harry Potter-like). Each house has house colors, a house cheer and a house name. At Fall Camp all of that is revealed for the current school year. My house is called Hot Stuff, our mascot is a fire-breathing dragon, and our color is red. Every Monday, all the middle school students in our house MUST wear red so that we can continue winning the house competition. Fall Camp is the most intensive part of house competition--we had paddle boat races, go kart races, an Oreo challenge, and even a sand castle contest. The excitement for the week was that our house won Fall Camp!

Fall Camp:

I have seen some interesting things while traveling in this great country--I can now add a truck full of pigs to that list.

The students getting ready for our first house competition: A paddle boat relay.

The beautiful lake that the race was held on.

The resort was so gorgeous that couples were getting their wedding pictures taken there.

The trees at this resort were planted in rows equidistant apart from each other that made for the perfect spider web home. These spiders were huge and all over the place.

Our house's winning sand castle. In case you can't tell, it's a dragon protecting a village and a castle.

House 1 wins the most creative name in my book: The Bubonic Rats. This was their awesome rodent of a sand castle.

A point of clarification because a few people have asked me about this: Our school is about 60% Korean, 40% American, Taiwanese, Malay, Singaporean, Dutch, etc. I teach all Korean students because it is an ESL class, but there are Western students in the school. The Koreans tend to be a bit more nervous about having their pictures taken.
I went swimming with some of the middle school girls at camp. The Chinese always wear swimming caps so we had to buy some before we went in the pool. The girls really wanted to go in spite of not having their bathing suits, so we found whatever would work (PJs aren't the best thing to swim in, just FYI)

Another sweet spider picture.

A tree lined street at the camp.

The Women's World Cup is being held in different cities across China, using Olympic venues to practice for the real deal next summer. The quarter final match of England vs. the USA was held right here in my fair city and so I got a ticket for last night's game. I was a little skeptical when I read my ticket and it said Row 1 because I only paid $12 for it. But it was true, I had a front row ticket on the goal line. The US won 3-0 and I saw all 3 goals scored at that very goal. It was amazing! The whole thing was quite surreal--I rode my bike with a friend, met up with some other co-workers at the grocery store where we parked, walked 10 minutes, and was in my seat 15 minutes later.

The brand new stadium was quite nice.

The stadium is huge and will host some of the soccer events next summer.

The opening introductions--the US was white and England was red.

A great view of crowd and the match.

The zoom on my camera isn't the greatest, but the detail is still pretty amazing.

What a nice action shot!

The US celebrating the second goal that was scored.

The moon was just rising as the game was finishing.

The final score board.

The parents section was up and over one section from me, so all the women came over to wave to their parents after it was finished.

September has been a very busy month. I have one week of teaching to go and then next week is China's National holiday when we have our staff retreat and then our annual teacher conference in Beijing. Please be Thinking of the travel that I will be doing and that the upcoming week off of school would be refreshing and renewing.

For His glory,

16 September 2007

Friendly Faces

2 weeks ago, our friend Keith, from our home fellowship in MI came to visit China! It was fun to see a familiar face for a week. Lots of Catan was played and wonderful goodies were delivered--I now have the new Over the Rhine CD The Trumpet Child--I highly recommend it!
Here's some pictures from his visit:

Keith and the adorable Kennedy girls.

During his visit was Scipmylo--our school's version of field/sports day. FYI-Scipmylo is Olympics spelled backwards. Most of the events were held outside, but there was one indoor event. Here you can see the students making a giant Olympic ring banner with their hand prints.

The teams were made up of kids from every grade. Each team represented a country--my team was Finland. We didn't do so red hot, but it was fun anyway.

Here's a picture from the Closing Ceremony. Each team was either white or blue. The blue team won so now the Elementary School principal has to dress with clothes provided by the Middle School principal.

We took Keith to our local coffee shop for English Corner. At this English Corner, we taught our Chinese friends how to play the card game Spoons.

It was one of the bigger games of Spoons that have ever been played (at least that I've seen!)

On the Saturday of his visit, my roommate Melva, Keith, our local friend Amanda and I went to the Great Wall.

We stopped at a store when I found this flashback from a different era.

Amanda trying on a cute hat.

The four of us at the entrance gate of the wall.

3. Please walk carefully on abrupt slope and dangerous way; Don't run and pushes to pash violently and the laugh and frolic.

If you look carefully in the foothills, you can see part of the wall that is not restored.

The guard house windows frame this picture very nicely.

Another nice view of the rolling mountains.

The beautiful mountains and blue sky! and that famous wall :)

A nice roommate picture of Melva and me.

Keith, Amanda and Melva enjoying the scenery.

Last weekend was an exciting trip to another city in China for a company-wide middle and high school volleyball tournament. I volunteered to help for our school and it was quite the experience. We took an overnight train with about 50 kids to get there on time. The shock of the weekend was seeing that my old school in Wuxi brought a team for the competition. The team consisted of all students that I knew from last year. It was great to see a group of familiar faces. Even some of the coaches of the other teams were people that I had training with this summer in NY. The funny thing of the weekend was that I stepped in to coach the girls' varsity team (just for the tournament!) I played volleyball in high school, but I can't say that I'm an experienced coach. It was an exciting weekend and my team even won the entire thing.

Some great Chinglish at the French grocery store, Carrefour.

So many signs make sense but still are just a bit off.

I don't know about myself, but "have you tried the new life style?"

Saying Plum Candies make me want to say "Hey, So delicious, Let us try it fast."

The most interesting name of candy that I've ever seen.

Next post: I went to the World Cup Quarter final (The US won!) and I survived my first Fall Camp.

Until then,

02 September 2007

Where did August go?

So I'm not entirely sure where the month of August went. Somehow I've been back in China almost a month already. And school is entering its third week. In the midst of all this, I'm alive and loving it. The transition back has been smooth and the start of school hasn't been too overwhelming or paralyzing. The past week was quite full with Open House and other meetings. Open House went great and it was really nice to meet over half of my students' parents. Below is another picture-filled post about my first month. As I was putting together this post, I realized that it doesn't describe life in my new city very well. That will be another post for a later date--familiar places around town. Also, coming up too quickly is Fall Camp and a volleyball chaperoning/coaching trip to another province :)

But for now, this will have to do. A friendly reminder--you can click on any picture to enlarge it.

Part I: Random pictures from the last month--

The day after I arrived the children of our company had a huge water fight in the park outside our housing. It was a great way to cool off!

The beautiful bouquet of flowers that greeted me in my bedroom when I arrived.

One of my priorities was buying a new bike because I had to leave my old bike at my school in Wuxi. This is the bike market where I got my new set of wheels. Sadly, the one picture of my bike was blurry, so just picture an awesome dark green Japanese bike with a cool black basket.

We did get Sara's green Alice (seriously, that's the name--like the brand-- on the bike) fitted with a kid seat for Hannah.

The middle school hall is on the 4th floor and blue is the theme.

One day, I was coming out of school and saw this beautiful flowering bush on the side of the street. I took this picture because naturally beautiful things are hard to come by usually.

Same thing can be said for sunsets--the way the clouds lit up reminded me of sunsets over the mountains. Sunsets over buildings, sunsets over mountains, eh--one in the same, right? ;)

The sweet Kennedy girls out shopping after fellowship a few weeks ago.

To celebrate our first full week of school being finished, a bunch of us went out to an Inner Mongolian restaurant. They had musicians who were playing a 2-stringed instrument--one even came over and serenaded our table later in the evening.

The middle school girls opened their soccer season by playing our in-town rivals on Thursday. Here are some of players during halftime.

We tied 1-1.

After fellowship today, a bunch of us went out to Pizza Hill, a very good restaurant that even delivers to our neighborhood. Delivery takes on a whole new meaning here in China. This is their fleet of electric bikes that deliver pizza throughout the city.

Part II: A month's worth of awesome Chinglish--

From a sack of rice: "It always is a symbol of the best dessert for your own satisfaction."

The packaging from a pillow: "Anti-extruding" and "non-poisonous"
I sure hope pillows are non-poisonous!

The same pillow also apparently is able to "ventilate,moisture-absorbency" and "take in fresh air"
I want some fresh air also ;)

This is the top of my jewelry box, the middle is complete with a nice little angel picture too, just FYI: "Although wegot off to a rocky strart it/sure is nice to haveyou around" Hmm, not sure what that has to do with angels.

This is the packaging from a set of hangers I bought: "Routable hook and haning bar/Widely used in family/Durable plastic/Transform, damage, collect, and keep the function not easily good:" I couldn't have said it better myself ;)

"The quality of the Lilybell Cotton is very meek." Apparently cotton now has the human characteristic of being meek...What else can be meek? Towels? Shirts?

Paper products (journals, etc.) are one of the best sources for Chinglish. I didn't actually buy this notepad, although it claims that you will "enjoy your/writing with ChangJiang products/fair as a star when only/one is shining in the sky." BTW, Chang Jiang is the name for the Yangtze River--which was also the name of my street in my old city.

Somehow all of my 7th graders have great journals--I'm not sure how this happened, but I was humored: "Because it's where the wind stays"

"Commit to memory that an important matter"

Did you know? "People die when they are given the wrong blood type..."

For some reason, I feel that Disney didn't sign off on this notebook. "Feel the weather very cool last night, oneself return without heat/preservation, deliver message for him to tell him, the side of the/weather will is cool tomorrow, noticing the body to wear some" I'm curious what that was trying to say.

From Pizza Hill this afternoon: "Please take care of gout belongings/This premise is kept from the consumtion or pizza hill produsts"
So close to English, but yet, so far...

Pizza Hill's menu--Do you want to try some "ice sweet red-beans"? I know "your first choose of summer, is cool"
The others are just as funny!

Sara came back with this special, special present this afternoon. "Floral water snake bile" is apparently a body spray that repels insects, among other things. I'm not sure how snake bile helps with insects, but who doesn't want some flower water--too funny!

Another full week is ahead. Inservice tomorrow. Staff meeting Tuesday. A friend from MI arrives on Wednesday. Scipmylo (Olympics backwards=Field Day) Thursday. Great Wall on Saturday.

I'm still trying to figure out how to teach on 40 minute periods and what the language levels of my students are. I continue to Ask for patience and strength in the classroom and in my planning.

In the name of Love,