I apologize for not writing this last week. I must honestly confess that last week, for whatever reason, left me feeling stretched and a bit out of sorts each night, even though there was nothing wrong with each day. After I finished writing the skit script for the next day, I was never in a mood to write a journal entry and in fact, highly averse to the idea. I realize now I should have reached out for prayers sooner, but by the end of the week I did connect with Nathan, who is a Bible teacher, and togeteher we rooted out my misgivings and worries.
This week I have the kids all to myself every afternoon, and on Wednesday I’ll have them all day. The teachers from the International School of China here in Shenyang that were helping with the camp have started in-service, and school starts this Thursday for them. They are sorely missed, but the camp is adequately covered, if me in charge of 13 kids can be considered adequate.
My first afternoon on my own with the kids went pretty well I think. Let's see what did we do... We started learning the song "There's a Hole in the Bucket," listening to the version with Harry Belafonte. I was surprised how amusing they found the song. They understood exactly what was happening, the fact that the song went around in a circle. We listened to it twice and then I went through it line by line with them and explained for those that needed it. I've typed up the lyrics and we'll work on it tomorrow, dividing up with boys on Henry's part and girls on Liza's part.
Then we wrote a story. They came up with ideas and then I wrote them out as correct sentences, and adding a few new words. We ended up with Crazy the rabbit and Alfredo the dog robbing a bank, but the dynamite they used burned up all the money, so instead they tried to get away with the gold, but the gold slowed them down and the cops caught them. Actually, here, I'll attach the document if you want to take a look. Halfway through we went back and read it, one line to a kid. Then we went back and read the whole thing again in the same fashion when we finished.
The new teacher, Ann Viditech (spelled that wrong), who is here just for this last week, did a good job with the kids, especially coming in without really knowing what to expect. I once again got the feeling that these kids are more advanced than they let on. Sometimes it is difficult to tell if they are listening to whoever is teaching. And they get so loud! It's a Chinese thing, but if there was one thing I could break them of, it would be yelling like that. Geez.
This last weekend I got and went shopping on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday I went back to Wu Ai (Five Loves) with Ruby. That place is just awesome. Hundreds and hundreds, if not a few thousand little stores in each building. I’m serious. Most of the stores don’t take up more floor space that a king size bed, and there are rows and rows. And the bargaining, that’s fun.
On Sunday, I went with Benny to Tai Yuan, a bit pricier, but with different kinds of items available for purchase, and more assurance of quality. I got to do a little bargaining of my own when we went through The Underground, a long, two-level strip of small clothing stores.
What’s interesting to note is that the teachers at the International School are paid the same wages, in American dollars, that teacher would get at a school in America. Now, when that translates to RMBs, it multiplies by a little more than 6.5, but each kuai (the Chinese dollar equivalent) has a buying power (depending on where you shop) that a dollar has in America, if not better. So, a shirt that costs 30 dollars in America, will cost 30 kuai in Shenyang. But those 30 kuai only equal about 5 dollars. What I’m getting at is that these teachers, here doing a great work, are reaping a well deserved reward. Nathan has said it’s a fair trade-off for living on the other side of the world from home. It’s really helping many of the young teachers to pay off their student loans.
As I am writing to some of my former teaches, I would like to say that I would welcome some ideas for activities to do with the kids. They’ve been at the same routine for three weeks and are ready for a change.
Thank you all for your continued support. I would hazard to guess that your prayers for my well being were heard and thus I was kept on track and moved to seek Nathan’s counsel last week when I was out of sorts.
Because I must…