Day 9: Saturday September 07 2013

I got mixed up on the time of our first break, and thinking we had gotten through all of the material early I started killing time. It was half an hour after we were supposed to have our break that Vick finally asked “um, Jenn-yfer when are we doing break?” This was my first experience with my G1 class, named “Beyonce class”. Vick had prepared the lesson plan, as I had not been trained to teach the level, but Vick’s version of lesson planning was insanely boring and lacked details. Still I plowed through the material as best I could.

The kids were quiet. It was strange. They all sat at their desks and stared at me, not volunteering answers, not acting out. We went through the vocab, we read the story. They looked bored. It was very easy material and they’d learned to read in kindergarten, but the lesson was designed to make them think not read, and when I asked them the comprehension questions they struggled to come up with answers for even the easiest ones. So I had a lesson that was too easy on one front and too hard on another.

The third hour of material was to be condensed to 30 minutes as a result of my time blunder. The topic was social studies, but it took way too long to teach as the concepts we were supposed to be discussing were way to advanced for the student’s English level. That left us with only 30 minutes again in our last hour before the parents came in for a presentation of what we had learned that day! Hopefully next week will go smoother.

Nate picked up lunch for me which was much appreciated! I had my first demo after lunch. I guess I did a good job because Candy (our supervisor who is taking over for Viv (the one who hired us)) told me the parents signed up and I will be starting a new preK-2 class with them!

Mr Bean class was my last class of the day and I was ready for it to end before it began, but I pulled some reserve energy to be enthusiastic for the class. We did the chicken dance as a party dance (as this was the unit we were learning about) the children thought it was pretty funny. Class went well.

We’d met a girl named Sonya the day before who’d helped us buy apples, and had arranged to meet up today after work. We walked back as the buses were all full. A chinese girl was walking just ahead of us. We were passing a construction sight and a large sheet of metal had been placed across the sidewalk. A cart was sitting on it, but the construction workers were no where to be seen. We followed the girl over the metal slab, but with our combined weight the slight curve in the metal flattened! The cart began to roll! Nate ran to stop it but he couldn’t get it in time. The front wheels rolled into the ditch and it was too heavy to pull out! We weren’t sure what to do. If it we were at home we would obviously search out the owner of the cart, tell them what happened, and apologize, but we knew chinese culture was much different. We had heard rumours that if you hit someone with your car you weren’t supposed to hang around because you could get beaten up by the person’s friends. We took our cues from the girl ahead of us who had already started running off into the crowd, though we felt guilty about leaving.

Sonya had brought a couple of friends along named Yue and Po. After a quick trip up to our apartment to get changed we headed to the basketball court, which was in the same building complex that Katrina lived in! It was already dark when we arrived so aiming was really hard! Soon basketball turned into sitting on the sidelines exchanging English and Chinese words and translating things on Yue or Sonya’s phones that often made no sense. It seemed like the only thing Yue could say in English was “I’m very happy, I’m very happy!” This was how she greeted us upon our meeting, and what she used as an explanation for pretty much anything else. Nate and I hadn’t eaten dinner yet, so when we mentioned going back to our apartment for our wallets Sonya and her friends were quick to tell us (via the poor phone translations I mentioned previously) that as our hosts it was their honour to buy us dinner (and Yue said “I’m very happy”).

Among Nate’s few phrases at this point were “Wo he pijiu” “I drink beer” and “Ni he pijiu ma?” “Do you drink beer”. He had gotten into a habit of using this with everyone he met, so while Yue said “I’m very happy.” Nate said “Ni he pijiu ma?” We ate at a barbecue on the street and Nate finally got to try out one of the tiny stools they have all over the city. He looked like a giant bending over this short table on a stool sized for a kindergartener. We’d seen old men sitting on these stools at tables all over the city playing very intense looking card or tile games. First thing Sonya ordered for us were four large beers. I drank one, and Sonya drank half of one, the rest went to Nate.

Where the BBQ magic happens. The meat was cooked over these long charcoal troughs.

We had skewers of beef and garlic, a large plait of roasted peanuts, a large plate of clams, the food just kept coming and coming! Po had to leave so we said goodbye to him as a giant dish of crayfish arrived at our table! I was surprised how much I liked the sea food, as I am not usually a huge fan of clams and am not particularly fond of lobsters. The sauce they had them in however killed the strong fishy taste. More skewers of mutton were brought out, and we had to tell Sonya to stop ordering food before we burst! It was a feast. Sonya and Yue laughed at Nate’s attempt to clean up the mess when we’d finished eating saying the servers were the ones that clean up.

We met a couple outside Uni-mart on our way home. The man called himself Bruce Lee, and named Nate “Da Shan” (big mountain) the Chinese name of a famous Canadian actor. He offered us some watermelon that he’d just bought, and his wife hurried back into the store to get it cut. We stood on the sidewalk with sticky juice running down our chins, spitting out seeds. The couple lived in the same building complex as us, so after we said goodbye to Sonya and Yue we walked with them up the hill. We stopped in front of our door and said goodbye to our new friends, and then went inside expecting them to continue on their way. They looked confused as they entered the same door! We lived in the same building, just two floors above them.

When we got home we realized Sonya had left her bag of fruit on our table. We texted her to let her know and got this as a reply “Don’t you know that fruit is for you to buy.” with some interpreting we determined that she meant the fruit was a gift for us.

4 thoughts on “Day 9: Saturday September 07 2013

      1. True! I actually went to China with unsolved chronic stomach bloating and acid reflux, and haven’t had close to the same problems with it since.


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