There's a whole lot of painting going on at the moment. Our neighbourhood is having a makeover, the road markings are being repainted and various public buildings are being spruced up - wonder what's about to happen?
This is a common sight in China - a senior citizen rummages through a rubbish bin in the hope of finding some cardboard or plastic to sell on to the recyclers. But it's not a sign of poverty - the money they get is trivial. It's more of a hobby, and a competitive one at that since some OAPs roam the local neighborhoods to pilfer the best rubbish on offer, even if they don't live there. Sad really.
JD goes to "basketball practice" every Sunday morning. JD's teacher made it clear that joining the club was technically "voluntary" but that all the class were really expected to sign up. Bizarrely, though he's been 12 times so far, he has yet to touch a basketball!? It's an odd school.
While waiting for him last week, I noticed these wires which run up the walls, but made a wild outward bend for no apparent reason. Strange.
And I wonder if the rounded columns sandwiched between the square pillar sections are an earthquake-dampening measure?
Sometimes the Chinese education system drives me crazy!
What exactly is the diagnostic value of JD's English exam today when 32 of the 45 students scored over 98% and nearly everybody got over 90% (JD got 100%)? Surely an exam like that is simply too easy?
And why did we get a text from JD's teacher last week saying he "needs to work harder on his Maths" because he 'only' scored 98% on that test?
And maybe I should give his teacher my own grade for texting today's homework through at 8pm? She won't be getting 100% from me!
Green Lake is a nice park in the centre of Kunming. It's biggest claim to fame is when, every Winter, hundreds of gulls fly there from Siberia to take advantage of our city's warmer weather. Flocks of them arrive within a few days of each other. Last weekend - nothing. This Sunday - swarming with the winged Russians! And to meet them, hundreds of locals throwing pellets into the lake or holding up bread rolls for the gulls to pluck from their hands while flying past. Great fun.
This has been a very stressful week as JD is doing mid-term exams and the teachers have been putting a lot of pressure on the students and parents to prepare their child to pass the tests. JD has been doing 3-4 hours of review at home every evening (even over the weekend) and getting very sleepy (and grumpy) as a result. This was how we found him between homework and shower the other evening...!
I'd like to say it has all gone smoothly, but we've had our share of tears, tantrums and toy-throwing (...and that's just the wife!). The Primary School concentrate on three subjects: JD's English is great, his Maths is OK but his Chinese is weak. Many other students in his class started doing after-school Chinese language classes over a year ago in Kindergarten and, of course, JD only has one Chinese parent. So we were pleased and relieved to hear JD got 97% in his Chinese exam yesterday. He was still only mid-class, but it was a lot better than the 77% he got two weeks ago. English last week was 100%. The Maths exam is today. Fingers crossed...
JD goes to a two hour "basketball" club at his school every Sunday morning (not that they've ever touched a basketball in two months - it's all been running races and jumping up stairs!?). While he does that, I usually walk a couple of laps around Green Lake listening to podcasts, before treating myself to a coffee. Today, I saw arrows had suddenly appeared on the pavement surrounding the lake, showing in which direction people were supposed to walk. This "control the population" is something i really dislike about China, so I deliberately walked in the opposite direction. Actually, it turned out about half the pedestrians were ignoring the instructions - something I really like about the Chinese!
We celebrated our Halloween a little late this year due to exams. We invited our American family friends over and played a variety of scary and silly games such as "Get the chocolate out of the flour" game [JD lost - see above], "Crisps on a string" [see below], Pass-the-Parcel, "Treasure Hunt", "Guess the crisp flavour" and a "Feely Box". JD dressed as a fish(?!), while I was Spiderman. Our guests were a witch and a Ninja! All good, but not clean, fun!
Another in my occasional series of "Flashbacks" looking back at blog entries made before this Weebly version started.
I was asked to stay around Robert's School throughout the weekend to lend a hand with any areas that were short-staffed. That proved easier said than done, as my “sword through the torso” fancy dress had students screaming, running and even crying, wherever I went! After a while Robert just suggested I wander around causing panic and mayhem (or words to that effect). No sooner said than done!
For my own classes I’d put together a few little games. One was a snake which had swallowed the class. the only escape was for the students to move back through the snake’s body with the aid of a large dice and Halloween questions if they landed on certain spots. The other game was a version of “pin the tail on the donkey”, but with Dracula’s facial features. Hilarity ensued! But boy, a weekend like this does leave one exhausted. By the end, my limping and groaning was no longer just being put on for frightening effect!
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