At 3pm today I asked JD if he was OK. "I'm very sad," he said, "No one has come to my party". We had invited folk to come anytime after 2.30pm and JD found himself playing alone for longer than he thought! But by 4pm it was buzzing with children and parents and he had a wonderful time. He loved blowing out the candles on his home-made cake, and was suitably bemused when they kept relighting themselves! He had way too many presents as well - some of which remained unopened by the end of the day. His birthday is actually tomorrow but, being a school day, we pretended it was today.
JD's third birthday falls the day after Easter Sunday this year but, since he will be at school all that day, we are having a party for his friends (both children and adults) on Sunday afternoon. Although Christmas gets bigger every year in China, Easter doesn't really get any recognition at all. To spread out the fun a little bit, we allowed JD to open a present two weeks before his birthday and another one week before. He has loved playing with his Thomas the Tank Engine slide set [see photo] and also his new Duplo Lego airport.
JD and I met up with our friends Nancy (Uni colleague), Zaden and Kaiya (her kids) yesterday to explore the forest we found recently some 15 mins bike ride away. According to the guard at the gate of the forest we are not meant to be there, but we've managed to sweet-talk our way in each time so far! JD loves it there - collecting nuts, digging holes, playing with sticks, climbing trees and building mouse houses.
I passed 4000km on my e-bike yesterday, still without any bumps (though I do see 1-2 almost every day!). I'm still a bit mystified by the green button on the right of the handlebar. I've never pressed it and I'm a bit loathe to try. It looks kind of important! Someone said it cuts the engine but, since you have to be moving along to use the engine, I think I'd rather not take the chance. Maybe it's best just left alone!
JD enjoys a variety of bathroom games. He has graduated from simply pouring water from cup to cup. He now uses his little green bath as a boat in the larger adult bath [photo, left] or climbs the rippling waterfall to perch on the side of the bath [photo, right]. Or a dozen other pranks - a bit too confident for his own good sometimes.
A couple of days ago, I was changing the water for our five remaining goldfish by siphoning out the old water before replacing it with a fresh bucketful. Unfortunately, one of the fish got a bit too curious in checking out the the siphoning tube and one of his bulging eyes suddenly got sucked up! He's been swimming around since, one-eyed but seemingly happy enough (if in circles). But this morning he was found floating listlessly and gulping for air, so JD and I said our farewells to "One-eyed" and put him out of his misery. Curiosity, in this case, killed the fish and not the cat.
One of the biggest problems I have with teaching at the University is trying to get the various computers to work. Each lesson I teach is in a different classroom and whilst each has a computer and projector, they don't all work properly and each seems to have its own issues, plus a different control panel. Add the fact that all the switches and buttons are labelled in Chinese and it's really a lottery whether I can get sound and/or vision in any given class. The students don't seem able to help much and when we've finally called out a technician, he either presses a handful of buttons which makes it all work (but leaves without explaining what he did) or he just shrugs and said it's broken. Oh, for a cassette player!
It's the wife's birthday today. How old she is depends on which document you look at, since her ever-loving mother had her birth certificate doctored when Ava was a toddler so that she could dump her at school a year early. Nice. Ava is in Shenzhen on business today, but we've got presents and a card lined up for her when she returns tomorrow. Happy Birthday!
JD had a busy, but thoroughly enjoyable, day yesterday. He spent the morning running wildly around the play centre with his two friends, Kaiya and Zayden, while I chatted with their mum Nancy, a university colleague of mine who I get on very well with. Then lunch at "Old MacDonald's" (as JD calls it) and home for a nap. After waking, we were off to Summer's birthday meal. Summer [centre in photo] is the one year old daughter of Kelly [left in photo], with whom I run the Lattitude training. JD was the most enthusiastic singer of "Happy Birthday" once the cake arrived and is already getting very excited about his own birthday in a couple of weeks. First is Jiajia's birthday tomorrow, though. She's in Shenzhen!
The latest week of Lattitude training course is over and six volunteers flew to their projects today to become Oral English teachers for 5 months. They were a good bunch and managed a 100% attendance rate until the last day, which fell victim to some excessive partying the night before! The picture shows some of their Teaching Practice preparation.
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