Greetings friends and family,
Breakfast today was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and the last of the three peaches I bought one my trek to bad food on Monday.
The skit was performed and went well. The secret agents interviewed Mr. Sheep today. Emily called out Mr. Sheep by singing Rama-lama-ding-dong, and then, to my surprise, the sheep appeared with a guitar. It looked awesome. At some point, though perhaps not till I get home, I will upload the video I have taken using my camera.
Directly after I took the young group out to play. David, who usually is in charge of recreation, was having an issue with his ā yí (阿姨), which translates correctly as aunt, or a term of address for a woman of similar age to one’s parent, but has come to mean also housekeeper. Thus David was not there, and I was elected (shanghaied) to fill his position.
So I trooped outside with eight little kids whose English is as good as my Chinese. I attempted to explain Duck, Duck, Goose to them. I failed. Fortunately, an actual Chinese teacher followed us out and translated for me. Even then, the first two times “Goose” was called, everyone scattered and ran. They got it after it was explained again, but some of them still didn’t get the idea of running straight around the circle. We had some pretty crazy chases take place.
And then, when it was time to go in, they kids took off and sprinted back inside. And I thought to myself, “They sprinted out like this, too. Well ahead of any supervising adult.” Child safety here is not a foreign concept, but they take a different attitude towards. I’m thinking also that Shenyang is safer, in general, than say, New York. Or Kansas City.
On the topic, it is not uncommon to see a child, more than a toddler, but still very young, riding in what would seem to be a precarious position on a bicycle, perched behind the parent on the platform where one would, in America, tie books or a backpack. Or, on a motor scooter, standing on the floor of it, holding on to the parent. They’re perfectly safe, unless an accident were to occur, which seem to be extremely rare in spite of the chaos.
For the older kids’ recreation, we just walked around the park near the training center. They didn’t want to run; it was hot out. The park is extensive and a very pretty area. While walking I asked most of them one-on-one where they got their English names. Parents and teachers for the most part, one got her name from a cousin.
When Benny got to the training center, he brought me a phone! He had a Chinese friend of his, a university student, buy the sim-card, which I got and paid him for last night at English Corner, but the phone he had bought wouldn’t charge. So I guess he lent me his old phone, and I put my sim-card in it and I have a phone! Huzzah!
This evening after dinner I went over the Karamitros’s, watched It Happened One Night, and spent some good time talking with Ruby, Pearl, Luke, and Sarah who also was over at the Karamitros’s.
Day 12 – Thursday
I got up a little earlier this morning and finished writing the script for the Secret Agent Skit, and set out for the training center a little earlier so I could buy breakfast. The lady saw me coming at about fifty meters and was already cooking by the time I reached her portable stand. And today, I decided that I actually did like the… I can’t for the life of me remember what it’s called. I’ve asked people who know four or five times, and they’ve told me four or five times.
The skit went well, except for one hiccup; the carrots Emily was to use to persuade Mr. Rabbit to talk were left in the other room. Nathan went and then brought back only one, but he solved the problem by breaking it in half.
I spent a lot of the day in the class room helping kids. One little fellow, I wonder how much he is getting out of the camp. His parents had him placed in the advanced course, but he should be at the moderate level, if not the low. He’s a good student, but some of the vocabulary we’re using is way beyond him. For instance, matching the words Timid and Shy as synonyms. Neither he nor the other boy understood. I finally went and looked up the Chinese characters for the words. Then they understood.
Observation: The students never set anything on the floor. They almost all have bottle water or pop after lunch, and they set it on their desk. Even when it’s empty. They are constantly bumping the bottles or their desks, and the bottle falls over. The caps are always on, so no spills, but they are constantly catching or retrieving the bottles. And their bags; they never set those on the floor either. They hang them on the chair, or the desk, or set them on the chair beside them, in the chair, right behind them. I watched one girl, her bag slipped from where it hung on the desk, and instead of leaving it there, where an American teenage would have put it in the first place, she picked it up and moved it to the chair beside her. I noticed this a few days ago and have been unable to stop noticing it. It’s maddening. Especially the bottles.
This evening I ate dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Karamitros and Luke. We went to a little Korean grill (cook your own food) not too far from my apartment. Discussion revolved around politics, and we all expressed dismay at Obama’s continued insistence that America is no longer a Christian nation. In three years when the Karamitros’s make their next trip back to America, I hope they have an America to go back to.
Now I’m back at the apartment, attempting to write the script for the last skit. The secret agents will be interviewing a parrot who steals cell-phones. How does one question a parrot? And why one Earth would a parrot steal cell phones? These are questions that no one should ever have to answer, but answer them I will.
Because I must… J