Thursday, March 10, 2005

vegetables that sing and tell Bible stories

ok, I shall once more attempt this blog entry... i'll start with the most recent news before I return to previous events: I hurt myself!! I was riding my bike, and going a little too fast, and was riding on a curve when suddenly I somehow wiped out.... it was really scary.... I wasn't totally sure what was happening, but I think I kind of went over my bike and then it went over me... I've got some painful road rash on my left elbow and what will be a monster bruise on my leg, but that's all, but if you saw my bike you'd be amazed that I didn't incur further damages: the basket was almost totally imploded in a misshapen heap of wire and when the handlebars of the bike face the right direction, the front wheel is perfectly perpendicular to the rest of the bike... I have no idea how I managed that. Anyways, I called Hope and she came to my rescue along with Mr. Yang who (once again) loaded my bike into the van and then took me to Dr. Su's so I could be bandaged up... sigh....

So thus far today isn't looking a LOT better than yesterday, though I think it will be.
Yesterday was a really stressful day. First I went to Yuli elementary school to view some books they just bought and want us to use to teach when we start working there in 2 weeks.
It was kind of a confusing situation, but a large majority of the books they bought are much too difficult for the students... in fact they'd be too difficult for my Jr. High students. But we found out that the whole collection will be cycled through 10 schools, so there were only two books that whole class sets that we could choose from to use for the first two weeks. I'm afraid the schools may have just wasted a lot of money.... Anyways, we chose some other books for now, and we'll see how it goes.

Since Hope has influenza she didn't go teach at Yuli jr. high yesterday, thus they got the idea that Hope's students should just come into my class. Some of the students were playing a ball game, but I ended up having something like 37 students crammed into this classroom, which I must say is too many. The class didn't go that well. My second class, while better than last week, was still rather discouraging... I did the previously mentioned M&M activity with them and it went ok once I was able to communicate that they couldn't eat them yet! But I don't want to have to bribe these students with candy every week to entice them to learn English... anyways, hopefully things will improve at that school... right now it is my least favorite school to work at...

For supper we had this amazing pesto spaghetti that Peggy made and a yummy salmon soup. The best thing about it was that we were going to have pesto for lunch yesterday but discovered that the sauce Hope bought had gone bad because the seal on the jar was broken. After supper I had a Chinese lesson with Peggy which was really fun... I'm really encouraged at the amount of things I am able to communicate in Chinese now, though still acutely aware that my pronunciation isn't great and i still get the tones wrong a lot... While I was there, who should arrive but the library manager!! He came to tell us that our students were waiting for us at the library (the teacher's class), and could I please come for 20minutes and talk to them/tell them class would start next week. Well if you remember, this is the class we found out about by accident, and presumably still wouldn't know about it except for that event. But we discussed it during our meeting on Tuesday and confirmed that class would start next week, NOT this week. Anyways, the whole situation was rather aggravating for me. I'm sure things will improve, but I'd have to say on whole, yesterday was a bad day.

My classes did go well on Tuesday though, I like kids! The kids from the reading centre remembered me from the kid's rallies, and even knew the song I was going to teach them. It was really exciting. I'm looking forward to teaching there. I found out today that there is another elementary school we might possibly get to teach at! Though we are already quite busy, I must say, I'd much rather teach at elementary schools than Jr. Highs. Not to say all my Jr. High students are really bad... most of them are absolutely great.

So back to the vegetables, hopefully most of you guessed that I was talking about Veggie Tales. We decided that the song "I can be your friend" would be perfect for our Saturday morning English club, and so went on a quest to see if anyone had Veggie Tales movies that we could borrow. Now, imagine trying to explain Veggie Tales to someone who has never heard of them, and whose first language isn't English... they start to wonder if they understood you correctly "Did you say vegetables that tell Bible stories? And they dance and sing?" As you explain it to someone you can't help but laugh when you suddenly become aware of how crazy the concept really sounds....

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