Wednesday, August 02, 2006

About to Rock Around Beijing

Last night Kim and I walked around the lake and I was able to persuade her down Stir Fry Street, even though her feet were killing her. Took her to my Stir Fry Guy and bragged to her that he "got me." "He will know just what I mean." Well, I was a bit too bold...I had dreamt up a concoction in my mind and it involved long necked clams, eggplant, greens and noodles. I thought My Stir Fry Guy understood my pointing and nodding perfectly, but what ended up on our little plastic table was an order of clams (delicious), an order of noodles with eggplant (delicious) and an order of greens with eggs (greasy). That's what I get for showing off, but at least they were all good mistakes and Kim was impressed anyway. She got NOODLES WITH VEGETABLES and that was all she cared about.

As we sat at the table, a cute girl with a guitar came to our table with a song list and well, you know, how can you resist those eyes? (musicians wander along Stir Fry Street only on certain nights and we can't figure out the pattern...) We agreed to some entertainment from her and she proceeded to play a song on the saddest sounding guitar you have ever heard - it was a similar sound to strumming a piece of wood. Nevertheless, word got around that the Meguoren (Americans) were paying for entertainment and I am not exaggerating when I say that we suddenly had a line of beggars and musicians waiting at our table. We agreed to one man who had a two stringed sitar looking instrument and his music was beautiful with a little Jimi Hendrix jamming thrown in. The entire time he played (about ten minutes in all), a little boy stood by our table holding his guitar and clearing his voice quite loudly. We were so amused. Then a gust of wind came and blew about ten dollars off of our table and he heroic-ly ran after it and brought it back (we have discovered that this is a very honest culture). So what could we do but pay him for some music. His guitar was worse than the girl's, but we enjoyed our evening immensely. I especially enjoyed Kim's enjoyment of it; she had not explored the street much and she loved it. As we sat there I felt so happy and satisfied. Me on Stir Fry Street, almost done with my responsibilities and heading for the Great Wall = Happiness.

I have to say a word about how much my brother rules...most of you know this, but not only did he set up my glob and has been of the utmost importance in his role of maintaining it and posting my pictures (remember, I have not seen it since I left US soil...) but he found the greatest Canon camera for me before I left and I have loved it. I have taken many videos...of stir fry street, my walk in the morning by the canal, crossing the street, the kids saying "We Feel Awesome, Oh we feel so AWESOME, UGH!!" and skits and the musicians last night, etc, etc. He also urged me to buy an extra battery and that has saved me on about five occasions. Imagine being at the wall and running out of battery... Plus I have my laptop here, so I have been organizing pictures as I go. Today I showed all of my kids a slide show of them during the past four weeks and they loved it.

I attended the third grade party today and what a treat. They seated me as the guest of honor and we played games and different kids performed for Nancy, who turned ten today. Larry did a trick with string, Oliver did a magic trick, Jeremy did the splits, two boys did a dialogue (tradition in China, to do a dialogue with advertisement slogans), five girls played "Jingle Bells" on the flute (I taught the teacher the song because she is a music teacher and she kept them singing it), we sang Happy Birthday in both English and Chinese and opened presents and had cake. I was very honored to be invited and the kids were so much fun. It was good to see them outside of classwork.

By the way, there is a bit of a performer in me and it has really come out here in China. I teach the kids songs almost every day and I choreograph most of them. For example, today we were learning time so I taught them "Rock Around the Clock." We start out with one hand straight up, like the long hand on the twelve, and one hand as the one, then change it to five oclock and then nine oclock, then we spin our hands in a big circle to "Rock Around the Clock." I was doing this in front of the mirror at about 11 last night to put it all together. I am someone else here!

Well, off to Noodle Street tonight... I think, I will give my Stir Fry Guy a break.


Dad said...

Your blog is such a delight, Marjie. It sounds like you've fallen in love with "your" kids (and stir fry street).

Preston said...

Reminds me of the famous Chinese fund raising event held here in the ID. It involved stir fry and it was billed as a "wok"-a-thon...

Barb said...

Marjie - such a gift you have for writing! I have enjoyed reading about your journey. What an experience you have had!
See you soon - back at SLHS!