JD's favourite place to play this holiday - a public park with sandpits, swings, slides and lot of grassy areas, ten minutes e-bike drive from our house. He's even made friends with some of the kids who live in the surrounding flats, organising various sand-based projects!
Last week saw Kunming's worst violence since the 2014 Railway Station terrorist attack. A crazy guy in his 50s stabbed students as they left school, killing two and holding one hostage. Police eventually shot him dead. it was the High School to which JD's Primary School is attached and the school gates where it happened are 200m from Jiajia's store. All very unexpected and seemingly pointless.
We spent a fun day yesterday at "Yunnan Colourful Paradise" - the biggest theme park in Yunnan, an hour's drive away. Joining us were JD's best school friend GuoDingEr and her parents. Together, we went on some rides, watched some shows, saw a big parade and ate some snacks. The day ended with a spectacular water display and firework show. As you can see below, I am not a fan of scary rides and regret being pressured into two of them! Nightmare! JD had a blast, though.
JD and I climbed a mountain near Kunming today for vegetarian lunch in the temple and some spring water.
JD's Primary School held their "End of Term Closing Ceremony" this morning and JD had a nice surprise, winning an award for "Most Improved Student" in his class! Admittedly this represents improving from last place to "5th from last" (in written Chinese anyhow, with a score of 85%), but all his other exam grades were 95-100% and he has indeed worked very hard this term. It's nice to have that recognised.
JD's Primary School have been ramping up the homework these last two weeks in preparation for the upcoming end-of-term exams. We pay for an "after-school club" to pick him up from school each day at 3.30pm and then one of their teachers goes through his homework, corrections and review with him until it's all finished. They also feed him. At first he managed to finish everything by about 7pm but more recently it's sipped to 8pm or 9pm and this week he hasn't left before 10pm. I get him home for a quick shower and then straight to bed, poor kid.
JD and I visited Kunming's Zoological Museum last weekend. When JD was 4-5 years old we bought an annual family pass for a couple of years, so we've visited the museum 20-30 times before, but not for a couple of years. There were a few changes this time. Some things we had fond memories of had disappeared (the interactive computer games, the snack area etc) but there were also some fun new exhibits, such as the tank full of stick insects [see right] and a stuffed "lion catches zebra" display [see below]. All good fun.
JD wanted to try out his air-powered rocket (Christmas gift) somewhere with a big open space, so this weekend we headed for a couple of nearby University running tracks. Unfortunately, guards are still stopping non-University personnel from entering (COVID hangover) and so we ended up at a public play area. It actually turned out to be a much better option.
JD doesn't have any close friends living near us and his schoolfriends are often too busy with extra-curricular classes to play much (as is JD a lot of the time). Thankfully, he is very outgoing and can quickly make temporary friends in a public setting such as this and play nicely with strangers, despite knowing that he may never see them again!
It took me about 5 hours but I've finally completed my main Christmas present - a Star Wars AT-AT Walker. Over 1400 pieces. Fully functional.
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