Monday, July 17, 2006


It's Monday evening...I was DREADING school today after traveling with 1.3 billion Chinese on the train this weekend and after my miserable Friday, but actually it went really well. I taught them "I am sick, tired, thirsty, hungry, freezing..." We had the same schedule today, but who knows about tomorrow! I am getting some emails from other ACT members teaching in other cities and the consensus is that "This is China!" In keeping with our theme from today, I have a sore throat and a cough; after school I went to the massage place (where we got foot massages) and asked them for a half an hour massage, pointing to my neck to my back. That worked; it was shiatsu massage in a cedar smelling room and it cost me $3. I just want to be alone tonight, so I am here sending pictures and will go back to a Korean restaurant where I asked if they served "Bi Bim Bop" and they said yes!
My flash cards rule! And Kathy from Norway suggested "Around the World" with them and they loved it. I think that this week I will get into the swing...too bad they weren't organized to begin with, but hey, it's China!
Some more details about the school: classrooms are very bare bones and supplies are limited. They have chalk, a blackboard and little wooden desks with wooden chairs (no backs). On each stair there is an engraved date, when the building of the school was completed; ours was completed 1996.8 (August of 1996).
Everything is learned by rote memory...we have seen a few teachers hit students with rulers, but for the most part, if some of them are not writing things down (mostly boys) the teachers are not too concerned. After lunch, all of the kids and teachers put their heads down for a "rest." The bathrooms smell terrible in the afternoon when it is hot...and I have heard that there are no toilets, but rather you squat over a hole. Fortunately, I can hold it a long time...I use the toilet in the hotel in the morning and then not again until about 4:30, at the end of our day. Between 11:15 and 1:15 we have a break where we can do whatever we want: eat the cafeteria food, go back to the hotel, email in the computer lab upstairs (where hotmail does not work) or hang out with the TA's in the break room. They are nice and giggly and fascinated with American culture. Sometimes Miguel brings his guitar to teach them songs, or they just flirt with him. He is the only one with a male assistant, Gary. The other day he went home with Gary and met his girlfriend; he says she is very controlling. We are all trying to think of how to tell him he has a billion women to choose from...why her? All the TA's like him too. We are planning to see their college after school on Thursday.
I brought my laptop with a couple of powerpoints showing Seattle and my friends, family and students. Things they were impressed with: Devon's braces, Nolan eating watermelon, Megan doing the splits on the trampoline (wowwww!) and anyone who looks a bit Chinese: Preston Bhang, Claire Zwaschka, Ida Keeley. They were amazed over Sue Stangl being a firefighter.
Well, that's all I have energy for. Keep the messages coming and thank you!


Dad said...

We certainly enjoy your blog, Marjie. Also, we're happy that you have decided to come home even though the massages are so great.

Anonymous said...

It was very clever and great therapy for you to teach all of the "I am hungry, thirsty, tired, etc." stuff to the munchkins! Good thinkin-Lincoln! Maybe I can surprise both of us and finally get this comment to post! lovalovau-Jaci