I know, I know. I’ve had a lot of internet issues and I’ve been very busy finishing up tests and stressing about planning our upcoming trip, so I apologize for slacking. Mainly, the issue has been my internet; I’ve been trying to write a post about the English competition that Alan and I judged for our junior 2 students (it was very entertaining), but my internet wasn’t strong enough to upload videos or pictures, and really, the post is lackluster without them. I have a few others that are half-completed, and I’ll get to those…eventually. When I have time, that is.
This small post is about the time Tyler, Jacqueline and I went and got cupped.
Before our third trip to Beijing, I was struggling a little bit. Giving each of my 750 students an individual Oral English test and having my schedule constantly changed around, not to mention having to surprise-test two of my classes, was wearing me down. I was so looking forward to the excitement of visiting Beijing; the last two times we have gone, it’s been a wonderful, re-energizing experience. I was hoping this would be the same. And in many ways, it was, but I think I hyped it up too much in my head.
Because, being in Beijing couldn’t change the fact that I spent Christmas without my family.
I could write and write about how I feel about being away for Christmas. I wouldn’t even say that Christmas is my favorite holiday, but you don’t realize how warm the Christmas season is until you don’t have one. I didn’t realize all the traditions we have for Christmas and how happy they make me until I looked at the time and realized they were happening without me. It made everything feel cold (literally and metaphorically, because damn, it was cold this weekend). I thought that maybe having Tyler’s family around would make it feel better, but it actually was the opposite. Seeing Tyler be with his family and enjoy the holiday made me so, so sad to be away from mine. Luckily, we kept busy, so I only had a few mopey moments about these feelings.
We did, however, do some pretty cool things this weekend.
I’m entrenched in a battle of teacher’s honor at my school currently. I’ve arguably had a lot of issues teaching my little dumplings over the last 13 weeks, but when I was asked to move up two days of testing to next week- meaning my students would walk in to a surprise exam with no review and no warning- I went all crazy-teacher-warrior. No matter the issues I’ve had, and no matter how unhappy I’ve been at times with my teaching environment, no student deserves that. So maybe, just maybe, I like my students more than I thought.
In honor of this realization, along with the fact that today is the beginning of my review sessions, marking the beginning of the end of Term 1 at Shijiazhuang Foreign Language school, I have decided to share with you the strangest/funniest things that have happened in my classroom thus far.
This weekend, we made our second (much anticipated) trip to Beijing, and it couldn’t have come soon enough. Spending Thanksgiving in Shijiazhuang (even with the awesome Western Thanksgiving buffet we found) just wasn’t the same, and that combined with winter finally settling in was making me ache to get out of this city and see something new.
So ready, in fact, that for the first time since coming to China, I packed everything well ahead of time. I had my backpack ready to go before my first class; by 3:00, I wanted to come back to my apartment, grab my bag and leave. That’s exactly what I did. I got on the bus and listened to my iPod for 40 minutes, relaxing and getting excited for our trip to Beijing. But of course….
I feel like I have been preparing myself for this week since I arrived in China. This a deadly month and a half for me; being away for my birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas all very close together is rough. But, after teaching my kids all week about Thanksgiving and how important it is to be thankful, I decided to make a short list. These are the 10 things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving in China.
A note before you begin: this post is long. Really long. I warned you.
So I got the pleasure of spending 4 hours in a Chinese hospital yesterday morning.
I’ve been sick for a while. My first real day of being SICK was on Halloween- that whole week was the worst. I thought I had food poisoning; I had all the normal symptoms of food poisoning. So I decided to wait it out.
But it kept coming back. It was never as bad as that first week… until two nights ago. Yeah, that would be the night of my birthday. All day, I was fine. We went out to dinner, I had a grand old time. But after we got back, I started feeling sick again. Not awful, but definitely not good. I figured I would sleep it off and be feeling a little better by morning. What ensued was a miserable, sleepless night of me feeling like crap. By 7am, when I had only slept in a handful small, 30-minute fits, I texted someone in my foreign affairs office, telling them that I needed someone to go to a doctor with me because I didn’t speak enough Chinese.
I can’t really explain my response to what happened next. I really can’t. Because, a half an hour later, I got a knock on my door, and one of our waibans was standing there, telling me that he was going to take me to the hospital so I could see a doctor. I should have been happy about this.
So, as usual here, my plans got a little messed up. This week, I was planning to teach my Halloween lesson to all of my classes except Thursday’s classes, because we did that lesson last week. But then we found out that the Junior 1 students are using some of our classrooms for their exams, so instead of splitting our classes into two parts, Alan and I co-taught the large class today, and will again tomorrow. But because we were planning on two different lessons and we found out fairly last minute, we just split the lessons in half and taught two mini-lessons. This means that half my classes will not write scary stories.
I’m disappointed because these stories are awesome and I want more.
As promised: scary stories, brought to you by my Thursday classes. I will add more if I get good ones on Friday. I have not edited them for grammar/ spelling; you are reading them just as they are written. I divided them into a few categories.