Wednesday, December 22, 2010

a day in Bengbu with Tina and Nathan

After reminding Nathan that he’d told us he was going to take us in to town to buy paintbrushes we rushed out to the street to hail a taxi. We had such a fun afternoon. We went to the paint shop. We bought some paints, paintbrushes, and stamps that Nathan is going to carve our Chinese names into. Then we walked around the streets of the city. We were in an area that we hadn’t been to before. We took lots of pictures. Nathan was so sweet and carried all our things for us. He is such a sweetheart. It just warms my heart being around him. He’s so thoughtful and such a gentlemen. He makes me happy. We have wanted to find sweet potatoes on the street and finally with two weeks left we found them! They were so yummy. We ate them as we walked through the shopping center. Then we went to Joymart to buy the ingredients for dumplings. Nathan and Tina were going to teach us how to make dumplings that night for dinner. Joymart was all decorated for Christmas. It was so fun! The meat section of the market was my favorite, NOT! It was so gross. First off I felt like I was at a pet shop because there were frogs, turtles, snakes, fish…and much more in tanks. You could pick out the animals you wanted to eat. None of the meat was packaged. It was all just sitting out. You choose what you want and put it in a bag. There were hearts, livers, kidneys, intestines, tongue…much more. I lost my appetite but was so intrigued. We had a great time. After the store we went to the train station to pick up Nathan’s brother. He was visiting Bengbu for a few days before he heads back to his University. He’s so cute. We named him Scott. When we had picked him up we walked to the bus station. We had no idea that this bus station even existed and we’ve been here for 4 months. It was great. Only 4 kuai to ride on the big nice bus and it took us straight to Mayflora. We didn’t have to get off once. It was amazing! I wish we had found out about this sooner. Tina, Nathan, and Chad had to go to a meeting so after there meeting they were going to come up and teach us to make dumplings. It was so much fun! They are the best little cooks. Nathan is such a gentlemen. We had such a fun time preparing and cooking the meal. And especially eating! Halfway through Nathan, Chad, and Tina had to go to there meeting so Scott, Rachel, Cam, and I finished making the dumplings and we taught Scott some English. He named us Teacher 1, Teacher 2, and Teacher 3. He was darling. When the others came back they were starving. It took a little while for the dumplings to cook so they were scrounging around trying to find things to eat. Chad was squeezing honey on to a spoon and eating that while Tina was sneaking some of Hailee’s cereal. When she realized it wasn’t ours she felt bad and we gave her one of our bananas. Poor little thing was starving. It was such a fun day with our friends! I made the best friends in China and will miss them dearly!

i love my kids!

Seeing my ELE kids makes me happy. Trevor always breaks out in song. Austin is so sweet and always smiles. Blake tells me he loves me and blows me kisses. Becky gives me big hugs. Gary has the cutest smile and always runs up for a hug. Michael, Ryan, and Jordan do that stanky leg and the jerk. The biggest grin appears on Joni’s face each time I enter the room. Mason answers every question I ask. Jacob has the best pronunciation. Nena is so sweet. Rick is kind of clueless but always so kind a loving. Halle always fills in the activities and gets 100 percent. Kristin remembers well and is pretty shy but darling. Whitney is quiet and always behaves. At first whenever I’d say Michael’s name everyone would laugh. I asked Mary why they always would laugh and she said it was because of Michael Jackson. It was hilarious. Each time they leave class and come back they stay by the door and say “may I come in.” and wait for me to respond before they step through the doorway. How polite. When class is over I never have to erase the board. That is the student’s job. They come up and tidy up the front of the room and clear off the board for me.

getting a taxi with mary

We made Mary promise to pretend like she only spoke English the whole time so that we would pay the driver by the meter and not a set price. We sang Christmas Carols to her. She wanted to learn so we taught her jingle bells and Rudolf the red nose reindeer. She sang along and was just a few seconds behind on each word. Mary is adorable. One day on the way back from Mayflora we made Mary promise to sit in the backseat and pretend like she didn’t know Chinese. If she talked the taxi drivers would try and make us pay more for the ride but since us Americans couldn’t communicate with them we would just pay by the meter and it was a lot cheaper. Mary didn’t know that this was possible so whenever she got a taxi for us we ended up paying twice the amount.

rach's b-day

Made and ate 21 things in 21 hours (while watching a whole season of Pretty Little Liars) because she’s 21! I HAD WAY TOO MUCH FOOD. 

wǒ xiǎng nǐ

My Chinese friends warm my heart. I’m going to truly miss them. Nathan, Chad, Tina, Jamie, Mary, China teacher, ELE teacher, body builder, neighbor, Head Master, break dancer, PE teacher, Head Master (emmy's dad)...

taming the wild beast who turned out to be a beauty

I love Austin. I love walking in to class and hearing from the front of the room “Good morning Teacher Michelle” and when I look up I see a HUGE smile beaming from the little 5 year olds face. He’s darling. Austin has come a long way. I remember the first time I met the little one. It was a frustrating day. Austin didn’t want to listen and if you asked him to do something he’d lie on the ground and be limp as a rag doll. For the first month of teaching I taught pre-language
 so when I was done teaching that I went and helped out in the other classes. I usually stayed in with the youngest children and helped each teacher when them. Austin was in this class. This is how our bonding began. Austin was a little trouble maker. He’d always get kicked out in to the hall and thrown into the “chockey.” I couldn’t watch sometimes when the Chinese teachers would take him out and hit him. It was so sad. Sometimes I’d sneak out and visit Austin in the hallway. We became good friends. I had to let him know that I wasn’t going to hurt him. I treated him with extra kindness and he started doing the same to me. When we’d go back in to class and the teachers would seat him around the table he’d insist that I sat next to him. One day Austin discovered that I had a scar on my knee. He pulled up his left pant leg and showed me that he too had a scar on his knee. Then he went on pointing to many other matching scars we had. He was darling. We communicate by using charades and speaking the little of each others languages we know. After National Holiday when Hannah did not return back to Bengbu to teach with us I took over her class. I got to call eight darling little students MY students! Austin was one of them. Our bond has continued to grow since. Austin always sits in the chair closest to mine at the table. He is so helpful and kind and hardly ever misbehaves now. He is the best little English speaker in our class and does Up on the Housetop absolutely perfect! He is darling. We’re the best little friends. Since the weather has gotten colder here in Bengbu I’ve been freezing! My little students are bundled up in 15 layers and are stifling hot and no matter how many layers I wear I’m still freezing. Sweet little Austin warms my hands each day. And lately he lets me put my freezing hands on the back of his neck to warm them up. Each day at the end of class he makes sure to give me a big hug and says “I’ll see you tomorrow.” I’m sure going to miss this little boy of mine! Wo Ai Ni Austin!

silly little children

The floor in the gym had just been re “painted” I guess you could say. And while practicing for the Christmas program the children found bugs that had been sprayed over. They were these disgusting centipede bugs and other random spiders and bugs that now there skeletons now all over the floor. The kids loved picking at them...gross!

Failing the Christmas program…we’ve been practicing for months.

We’ve failed the Christmas program. The poor little children have been practicing Up on The House Top and Once There Was a Snowman for hours each day for the past month. They have started to get bad at it because they’ve done it so much! It’s making me nervous that I’m never going to want to hear these songs again because I’ve been singing them so much. We had to practice really hard so that we could perform our show for the head master and he would let us know if he liked it or not. This past week we performed it for him and he did not like it. He wanted it changed. He said it was too messy and he didn’t like all the transitions. It has been really tricky for us to get 50 little 3-7 year olds to stay in straight lines and obey us when they don’t have a clue what we are saying. The next day in class we completely changed the program. We aren’t failing the Christmas program after all. The head master loves it now!

train ride home from beijing

I've been kissed by Chinese boys ha ha

We met met Chinese soldiers that were in the airforce. Hung out with them all night. Rach and one got married. We sang Christmas Carols to them and they recorded us. We took lots of pictures with each of them. Vien spoke English and would translate back and forth for us. Her friend is in Utah as an international student at the U. I gave them my little passport pictures and they had me sign my autograph on the back and they each put them in there wallet. When we arrived in Bengbu the soldiers helped us unload our 12 bags from the train and ta ta. We never saw them again...traveling soldiers.