JD's current dream career is to be a civil pilot. So it was with great enthusiasm that he attended a half-day "training course" in avionics, courtesy of one of Jiajia's VIP bank accounts. He had safety lectures (including trying on a life jacket and an inflatable slide), made a wooden fighter jet, won a toy glider and - his favourite - helped fly a passenger jet in a professional simulator! He was so excited!
Kunming is known as the "Spring City" with temperate weather all year. round. As such, snowfall is a once-in-a-decade surprise.
But yesterday, as I battled to work on my e-bike, Jiajia and JD were out enjoying the white stuff - snowball fights and a snowman.
JD hasn't really seen snow in Kunming before and I haven't seen this much in all my 15 years here. It's due to start disappearing today, although the unusually cold temperatures (-2ºC) will be here for a few more days yet.
With COVID still making it tricky to leave Kunming, let alone visit other Provinces or countries, we once again spent our Winter holiday in and around the city.
We passed the time with optician/dental check-ups, trips to the countryside, Lego builds, lay-ins, shopping and meals out with friends. Plus plenty of holiday homework for JD. Now it's time to start thinking about our return to school and University.
We went fossil hunting again earlier this week, with the family of one of JD's old school friends. We found about 20 small fossils (trilobites and similar), 2-3 of which were worth displaying. Great fun, as ever.
Afterwards, we had a little picnic up the hill - egg rolls, crisps and some fruit.
Finally, a forty minute mountain drive home, past the Bamboo Temple, and it was time for a shower!
We spent today driving to, and climbing up, QiPan Mountain in the west of Kunming, with a Chinese family we know well. It was a winding drive and a foresty walk - an hour each. "QiPan" translates as "chess board" for reason which aren't immediately obvious - maybe the many statues placed on a flat area of land?
I teach five private lessons each week, 90 minutes each - some to kids, some to adults. One of these is to a young couple, in their home. Last week JD joined me as they had cooked dinner for us and invited JD to play with their 4-year old son, called Paipai (pronounced "pie-pie"). JD had a sort-out of his bedroom beforehand and brought a bag of unwanted "baby toys" to pass on. The dinner was a tasty mix of Western and Chinese food and the lesson afterwards went well.
I've not built Lego Technic before, but this Christmas gift promised a huge remote-controlled forklift truck, so I gave it a go.
Ten hours later I finally finished it. There were some significant delays when all the functions worked except for reversing. I had to pull half the truck apart in order to spot, and then insert, a tiny missing cog from way inside! JD is enjoying playing with it, now that it works.
I think though that, overall, I prefer classic Lego. It's more reusable and instantly recognizable as Lego. Plus, I'm no engineer!
Yesterday was the start of the Year of the Tiger. The previous night was full of the usual noisy fireworks. JD had already stocked up and has been setting some of his fireworks off over recent nights. He actually got quite badly burnt on his finger last week when another child ran past waving a sparkler too carelessly. But undeterred, he was out on New Year's eve disposing of the remainder of his gunpowder stash.
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