Friday, November 24

More Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving here is kinda funny, because there are so many nationalities around. Since our office is mostly American (and run by an American), we teach the history and culture of Thanksgiving in our conversation classes. But, that forces British and Canadian (and sometimes New Zealanders or whoever else is teaching in our office) teachers to celebrate our day, which is kind of pompous. Anyway, it's a good holiday with good meaning. I like to be reminded of the roots of it, too.

During the day on Thanksgiving, we taught and then ate in the school cafeteria. We had potatoes in some sort of sauce, a vegetable, fermented bean soup (it's actually really good - like miso), rice, and something else. I forgot. There were four of us who ate lunch together and let ourselves hang around for a while to laugh and enjoy the sunlight in our corner of the cafeteria. We had a group get together and order Beijing duck for Thanksgiving dinner, plus some other popular Chinese foods. Good times. We stayed up "late" (just after midnight) and had a glass of wine with some cheese from Shenyang, while we watched a few episodes of Friends.

Friday was a normally busy day. I went shopping after class with a new teacher and bought five sugar pumpkins (I think that's what they're called...sorta like acorn squash) for decoration for the potluck tonight and for a friend who didn't have time to go downtown. They were mighty heavy to carry back up, but we treated ourselves to a taxi ride to the back door of our dorm.

Today is Saturday. I just finished a conversation on skype with my parents, which was nice. I have to make some food for our Thanksgiving potluck tonight and finish the other preparations for that. It should be fun, I hope.

Thursday, November 23


It's still Thanksgiving Day for most of you folks. It's already the day after for me. We celebrate here by teaching our students what the day is about with a little history, a little grammar about thanks, and usually make something for fun. A lot of us had our elementary students write 50 things they are thankful for as homework. Some of the answers are a little funny. I will share some of them with you.
I'm thankful for...
Chinese are clever.
I wasn't born in the old China.
Lela teaches me the speaking English.
DNA fingerprinting can identify criminals.
my opponent who gives me many revelations.
musicians. They give us invisible wealth.
cosmetics workers. They make women more beautiful.
other peoples smile. They make me feel happy.
for the suffering experience. It made me much stranger. (I'm
pretty sure she meant stronger.)
so many kinds of fruit sold in the world.
for so many handsome boys in the road.
I have a white and good skin.
the milk in the breakfast. It can offer me energy.
turning off the light in 11:30 in the university to save electricity.
making me a common person.
rice and water. Everyday I eat them, but I am never bored at
my parents. You make me short but lovely!
Mao Ze Dong.
Deng Xiao Ping.
short fingers. It can do many things.
my husband. He will marry to me in the future.
to the Thanksgiving Day. It let me know gratitude.

Tuesday, November 21

staring strategy

Yesterday, I went for a walk behind our school because I didn't have time to make it to the gym. I had to cut the walk short because what was a nice, cool, gray afternoon turned quickly into a freezing cold afternoon with pelting rain. Anyhow, there was a couple walking the opposite direction from me that noticed I was different. This happens often, of course. One of the members of the group or couple will attempt to secretly poke or nudge the other person so they can also marvel at this strange fair creature. But it's never so secret.
At that point, I employ one of three strategies, depending on my mood.
1. ignore them
2. look at them with as much interest and astonishment as they are looking at me with
3. stare them down with a big smile to try to embarrass them

Friday, November 17

An Update

I haven't posted in a few weeks because it seems that blogger and China are not on friendly terms again. My lovely sister Laura has agreed to post for me (I am sending this post to her through email)so you out there in cyberspace can know that everything is well here.

A lot has happened, so I'm not sure where I need to start or what I need to tell you. I'll start with tonight and work my way back until I think you're too tired to keep reading. Tonight, two of the girls I study with came over. We had planned to either eat in the cafeteria or order some food, but they surprised me by bringing over bags of groceries from the market. They made a really excellent meal that one of them had learned to cook in her Korean cooking class that they offer to juniors and seniors here at school. I asked for the recipes. I had promised them we would make a cake together, so after dinner, we made some pumpkin bread and they were amazed when it came out. They took the rest home to their roommates. They helped me with some Chinese songs I want to learn. We had a fun night together. Neither of these girls are c's yet, so think of them when you have a chance.

The past two weekends I have had most of the students from my three English conversation classes over for cake and coffee. With most of them we also baked cakes together so they could see how to do it. They really think it's great, and they get super excited when you let them take the extra cake home. So, I've spent the last two weekends cleaning, cooking, washing dishes, and doing it all over again for the next crowd. They come over in groups of six or so because my room here can't hold so many people. It makes it easier to get to know them, too.

Next week is Thanksgiving! I can't believe it's already here. We have some special lessons planned to talk about the meaning of the day in our English conversation classes. On the weekend, we'll have a big dinner for English speakers. I am in charge of planning the order of events plus mixers for that night. I did it last year and said I wasn't going to do it again, but I said yes anyhow. If anybody has some good ideas to send my way in the next few days, I'd appreciate it. (I can still read comments on this blog, because they get emailed to me.)

The weekend after our Thanksgiving dinner (two weeks from now), I'm planning to move to my new apartment. I have been putting it off so that I could have the "coffee houses" here on campus. I've been pretty busy with all that and haven't had a lot of time to get ready to move, but I did get some sheets (you can't really buy Western style sheets here) and curtains made for the new apartment.

I made a decision about next semester. I am going to teach 6-8 hours at the other university in town and study language the rest of the time. I am looking forward to this change, but also starting to feel a little nostalgic already about my time here at YUST. Anyhow, I feel pretty sure I made the right decision for this segment of my life.