I had class at Yu Dong, and since Hope is sick, I went by myself. I really like my students there, and it's so great to have a smaller number of students for a longer period of time. I've also set up a system now that will benefit those students who want a little extra practice. They all have class notebooks, and I told them that if they write questions to me in English, I'll write them back. Only a few students have the confidence and skill to write me, and it's usually only a couple of sentences. Windy, who is the class leader, and has the best English of those students has written me both times. The first time she wrote "when you first see me, do you feel...." I wrote her back saying that I thought she was really kind and cute. This time she wrote "Are you feel bored in class break? Beacuse no body talk with you, and our English is not good. So, I think you're bored."
This class, though, had an incident that really disturbed me. The students were doing an activity where I had given them each an M&M and in groups they had to answer a question corresponding to whatever color they had. When one of the groups was finished, I went over to them and poured out some candies on one of the desks for the group to share. As I did this the girls in the group (maybe 4 out of 7 people) started laughing hysterically. I had no idea what could have caused such a reaction. I wondered if they were too shy to eat the M&M's in front of me? Or if I had missed something important that had happened. Should I give M&M's to the other groups? Finally I asked the classroom teacher what the problem was. She told me "The desk you put the candies on belongs to the boy they don't like. They don't want to eat them because they touched his desk. They think he's dirty." I felt a mixture of anger and sadness when I heard this. I knew the student was really shy, and often did not have a partner when we did classroom activities. But I thought this was due to his shyness. I had always made an effort to allow him to practice the target language with me while I'm circulating the room. I told the teacher that if that was the case, the boy could eat all of the candy and his group didn't get anymore. I distributed the rest M&M's to the other groups. But the sad look on this boy's face just made me want to cry.
Saturday morning we had English Club, which went pretty well, the group's pretty small, but most of them came last semester, so are a little more comfortable with us, and the class format.
Afterward I went for breakfast with Michelle and then had a few hours before our adult class. This class went quite well, and it was really nice to have the smaller number! We had about 15 students, though 25 were registered. The overall level of this class is a little higher, and we even had time to break into two groups. I have the intermediate students for this time period, and I know I'm really going to enjoy getting to know them better. After class, I had yet another request for one on one tutoring which I had to turn down. Now I have read in this culture that you are never supposed to say "no" so I've probably been offending people left and right, but
1. We're not really supposed to take individual students, and we're not allowed to accept money
2. I don't want to do a 1 on 1 class with a male
3. I'm busy, busy, dreadfully busy
Saturday night I decided not to go to Young Holistic, which turned out to be a good thing, because if I had gone, I probably would have had to sing in church with them today! whew.
Instead, I had a late supper and watched Much Ado About Nothing, sooo good.... makes me wish I was back at Briercrest so we could start reading it during "Shakespeare nights" *sniff sniff*
That's today! Church in the morning, which was pretty good. Afterward I was invited to a BBQ with the Buxiban teachers. They are such a fun group! I spent a few hours there with them. This was my second "Taiwanese BBQ" which as far as events go, I can take or leave. It usually consists of: various types of meat cooked over an open fire or hot coals and eaten on a stick or with bread, different vegetables cooked either in tin foil or directly on the grill, at least one kind of soup, and some sort of fruit. The two Canadians David (who works at the buxiban) and Jen (who arrived last week) were there. When I came home I took a nap, and then went out to eat hot pot. I was going to go to this one restaurant where I have a copy of the menu with the main dishes translated, but it was really busy, and I decided I wasn't in the mood for a noisy, crowded restaurant experience (which is the norm here!) and went to another place that was almost empty, which was quite peaceful and relaxing. As the great book I just finished River Town puts it, "The best aspect of eating hot pot was that it took so long - it was a slow, lazy meal," perfect for a cold night in a quiet restaurant. Now I'm listening to Cold Play, does it get any more mellow than this?
Oh a few words about this book. It's about an American who lived in China for two years, and I've found it to be a great read! Anyone who has spent time in Asia as a foreigner should read it! Anyways, there were so many experiences he had that I could relate to, and some that made me laugh out loud at the striking similarity. At the same time there are many differences, and I am very thankful to be on this side of the Strait, where there is so much freedom. I can't imagine what it would be like to have the police burst into my room in the middle of the night, though I've heard stories about that both from this book and Taiwanese who have lived in China. I'm thankful for freedom of speech and religion, and for the life that I have here in Taiwan.