restaurant signs I spotted last week.
Cometh the exams - cometh the cheats! Unfortunately Chinese students are infamous for their plagiarism and cheating. I was recently involved in marking 300 online essays. By the end, 25% were proven to have been, in part at least, copied and pasted off the internet. Today's exam went a little sour when I spotted a student peeking into her glasses case a little too often. When I crept up behind her and grabbed it, I found a "model essay" which she had printed out on tiny sheets to copy. Oddly, despite being generally better than the boys at English, it seems to be girls who cheat the most. I think the boys are just too lazy to even bother with cheating!
My University Department met last week to discuss this week's exams and review the term. Thankfully my boss, DingWen [right] doesn't see the need for unnecessary formal get-togethers and so this was our second and last of the semester! When I started at CaiDa University we have five foreign teachers in our department. Only Tom and I are left and, rather annoyingly, our weekly hours have risen accordingly. But it's still a nice enough place to work.
JD and I enjoyed a very relaxed and, in many ways, un-Chinese wedding last Saturday. My old friend Lilly Pu married Cedic - a French guy - in a lovely restaurant next to the Green Lake. We arrived at 2pm as instructed and I was pleasantly surprised to find my British work colleague Tom and his Chinese fiancé there too. Neither of us realised we both knew Lilly. It was good to have an extended chat with him as we usually only meet briefly for work maters. Nice guy. JD soon made friends with 2-3 Chinese children and spent the afternoon running around and playing with his toys. Later, there was a short ceremony, some very nice food, and the wedding cake.
What to do with a five-year old on a rainy day, with JiaJia in Shenzhen? Cooking! So JD and I planned what we'd need for our "dream meal", got our umbrellas out and headed to the market. JD can interact with the locals more fluently than I can these day (embarrassing!) so he did most of the bargaining. Then home for an hour of food preparation and 45 minutes of cooking. Voila! Lasagne, peas and corn, mushrooms, fresh home-made bread, gravy and orange juice. Very tasty. Well done, son!
It gets busy at my University in the last 2-3 weeks of the term, but a friend begged me to try and find some time before the Summer holidays to train some new Chinese teachers of English at "Sophia Training School" - a small language school in the south of Kunming. So I've managed to squeeze in six hours of teacher-training this week amongst my usual 14 University lessons. It's a small but very friendly bunch of teachers who have quickly got over any shyness, and seem to be following the training well and picking things up very quickly.
With our favourite forest retreat closed over the Winter and Spring (for fear of forest fires ...too many "f"s there!!), JD has had to be content with making indoor dens under the dining table!
But yesterday, JD and I decide to see if our "secret forest" had reopened and, if so, check on the state of our den there. To our delight the barrier was up and the den proved to be in great condition. JD even managed to scale the den walls to add extra bark to the roof.
JD enjoyed another free trial class yesterday, this time in computer programming. He spent an hour learning to code alongside a couple of other 5 year-olds and, oddly, a ten year-old. It was quite demanding for a youngster (angle degrees, X/Y coordinates etc) but he followed the teacher really well and thoroughly enjoyed it. He was chuffed with his certificate afterwards too.
Yesterday was Children's Day in China and JD's class was one of twenty performances from his Kindergarten in a 2½ hour dance spectacular in a large Kunming theatre. JD's year focused on Ethnic Minority dances with JD's class choosing the Dai tribe - girls dressed as peacocks and boys banging drums. Only one parent was allowed to attend from each family and I chose the short straw!
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