Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Frisbees and International Relations

Last night Amy, Karis, Miguel, Jess and I went down to the water with a frisbee. Everyone was playing carnival games and dancing and playing badminton as usual so it was a bit difficult to create a space. However, we were successful and in not more than five minutes a crowd of about 100 people gathered around the Americans and their funny throwing thing (none of my students, and apparently not many Chinese, have ever seen a frisbee before!) After a few minutes, we began to ask kids who were watching on the sidelines to throw by gesturing toward them with the frisbee; the first five literally recoiled from the offer and ran away! But then a ten or eleven year old stepped out and made it known that he was ready to try. He became permanent in our throwing group and then more people started to get involved. In about twenty minutes, we had eight others in our group, including a Pakistani robed in gold, an Indian man robed in white and a couple of punk rock teenagers. Everyone was laughing and having such a great time; especially watching Amy with her antics. Every time the frisbee went outside the circle, a little Chinese boy (about two years old...he had probably just learned to walk) would run with all of his might to fetch it and bring it back to Amy. None of us wanted to break the spell but when we did turn to go, we all waved goodbye and received a hearty wave from the crowd. We decided that that ten year old will be an ambassador someday.

The clams were fantastic last night and will go back tonight; I have lured Kim to come with me.

Today was fun...the kids were fun. One of my fourth graders asked me such an interesting question (through Sunny) "How can you graduate from university and not know Chinese?" What an honest question...one I didn't quite know how to answer. My third graders have invited me to a birthday party tomorrow so I am looking forward to that, and my fifth graders put on skits today for the class. They are so cute, I got them on video. The really smart girls (who "worship" me, can you tell I really enjoy writing that?) performed a whole skit with an investigative reporter and everything. Tomorrow I am going to have them write ten sentences about themselves to be video taped and sent back to America...if they do the sentences, they can enter a drawing for prizes, consisting of the things I brought from home and do not know what to do with-

All in all I have mixed emotions about leaving now. I feel I am just starting to make some progress, but would I stay? NO! Do I love China? Well, I like China, but I think the main word I would use to describe my feeling about it is CONFUSION, or Confucian, whatever.

I was actually heading for the dirty cafe so that I could send some pictures but it had huge padlocks on the doors and a sign in Chinese...who knows what happened, but I don't know if I will be able to send from this clean cafe, which doesn't seem very clean now because the guy across from me is spitting on the floor about every five minutes. It's really disgusting!

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