"Starting" tomorrow is Kunming's long-awaited "COP15" Meeting. This huge UN Biodiversity Conference, involving 195 countries, has been the talk of the town here for literally years, having been put back three times due to COVID.
Sadly, it was announced last month that it would now be a "virtual" conference which makes all the money spent on beautification. road repairs, flower-planting and "Welcome!" posters somewhat redundant. They say there will be a second face-to-face Conference here in April next year, but that remains to be seen.
[COP means, "Conference of Parties" - I looked it up!]
JD and I have been knuckling down to some serious Lego building lately.
I started out trying to make a zebra but it very quickly insisted on being a black-and-white bird!
JD was inspired to recreate "Branch", one of the characters in his favourite film - "Trolls". Without any help at all from me, he managed to work out the colours, the pose, the eyes and the hair, all from memory! I only realised how accurate it was when I Googled a picture of the troll in questions. Just forgot the ears!
JiaJia and I challenged JD to an Art Competition last week (to get him off the iPad for an hour or two!). We decided to all draw the same thing (JD chose one of his aeroplane toys) with the best sketch winning a prize [L to R below: Jiajia's, JD's, mine]. Who won, do you think?
JD's schoolteacher is fully aware that Jiajia has a Masters in Art and JD's English is fluent, so she often sends us details of Art/English Competitions for us to enter "for the glory of the school". The painting below was a JJ/JD joint effort for Teacher's Day!
A rare glimpse into Ma's previous life as a professional, and fairly famous, Beijing Opera star in Shanghai.
You'd think she might now enjoy participating in one of the multitude of park-based dancing groups that attract so many old people in Kunming, but she dismisses them as "amateurs" and prefers to spend her time gambling with her mahjong friends.
My University lessons are back in full swing after an unusually long, but very welcome, two month Summer holiday. This was one of my classes earlier this week doing a "Running Dictation" exercise...
The Chinese Government have been rolling out a series of education reforms over recent months to "reduce the burden" on young students in China. These include banning online tutoring with teachers based abroad, removal of western printed textbooks, regulating after-school and weekend training classes and reducing homework and exams in Primary Schools. However, JD's school seem to be largely ignoring the "less work" parts. Completing his daily homework is taking longer than ever. He didn't finish until after after 10pm on Monday/Tuesday, though Wednesday/Thursday were "only" 8.30pm [see below]. Crazy.
As an end-of-holiday treat, Jiajia and I took JD to an indoor skiing centre about 30 minutes drive away. It's JD's third time skiing. He loves it and has been asking us to go again for ages.
After JD made four descents of the beginner's slope without falling over, I took him up to the Intermediate slope. It's a fair bit faster. He got down without falling over but ended up crashing into the cushioned fence at the bottom! He decided to return to the baby slope after that!
The centre isn't cheap (£20 each) and Jiajia had to pay full price even though she only wanted to watch. So we persuaded her to at least have a try. Let's just say it wasn't her strongest showing!!
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