Friday, April 18, 2008

Having Fun like Crazy

With Mom and Dad here, excitement has abounded. A few nights ago we had dinner with my Chinese family and their friends. Mom held up the conversation and charmed them all, so we planned to hang out with them again last night. Thursday night I went to a birthday party at an Indian place. Yesterday we did so much that by nine at night we were all exhausted.

First, in the morning I didn't have class because there was an athletic event going on that they wanted us to attend. I didn't really understand the significance of it until we were already part of it, but the opening ceremony that we had to march is a huge deal to colleges in China. I took video of it the whole time and will shortly be posting it to YouTube, where you can get the condensed version.

After we stood on the field for a few hours, we took a bus back to our campus (we were at the new campus, which is far away), and then I ate lunch with Dad. Then my Chinese mom picked the three of us up and we went to go teach.

We were assigned three classes of 5-6 year olds. The problem with doing kids that old (I know, thinking that 5-6 year olds is old is crazy) is that they've learned so many words the teachers can't keep track. We were assigned to teach the kids the body parts so they could sing "Head, shoulders, knees, and toes." They already knew those words, though, so we had to make stuff up on the spot. I was glad that as we were coming in to the class, I predicted it to Mom, though.

Mom used to be a teacher, though, so she knew all the techniques to make the kids pay attention, laugh, and learn. Tina, the girl who helps me, was so impressed that she got Mom's email address so she could ask her about her teaching methods later.

Since there were three foreigners yesterday, they had to take lots of pictures next to the graduating kindergarten kids. Then we had tea with the principal, then we were off with my Chinese mom to have Chengdu specialties.

We drove for quite a long time, since there was bad traffic. Mom talked to Mrs. Xiong herself while Dad and I talked to Tina. She speaks a little English, since she's an English teacher at the kindergarten, so it was a strange mix of Chinese and English. If felt weird to have her there because then Mom and Dad and I couldn't talk in English without her hearing some of what we were saying. Finally we came to this place that's kinda like a Chinese mall. Mom and Dad were amazed at the affluence of the plaza, since when they were here, Chinese people couldn't afford to go to them.

We ate spicy food and tried to make conversation with everyone there. Then, karaoke was on the docket, but Dad said he was too tired. We had already driven out to a nearby town to teach, worked our way through Friday night traffic, and had dinner--all in Chinese. I stood in a field all morning, so I wasn't far behind them in feeling exhausted. Mom and Dad collapsed and I recovered from thinking for so long in Chinese.

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