I enjoyed watching this YouTube video today - a visitor to Kunming enjoying the sights, smells and tastes of a wet market close to where we live.
I've spent this week watching and grading my students' final exam - a role-play set in a restaurant (a total of 45 of them!). Some of the more memorable storylines included a spy [see above], a proposal of marriage [see below], a beggar refusing to pay, food poisoning and discrimination against a lesbian couple!! I just need to hand in the paperwork and my Winter holiday begins.
No complaints here
Come on, Santa!
I am currently enduring chants of "Come one, Santa" from "Crayon Tree Kindergarten" which is overlooked by our flat. It's been going for 40 minutes already! Must be Christmas Day.
We celebrated Christmas a day earlier than most, since Monday is a normal working day here and JD will be at school. On Saturday, Jiajia attempted her first Christmas dinner and, despite limited ingredients and a tiny oven, we had a fantastic roast chicken with all the trimmings [see above]. That evening, JD made sure to leave out a stocking, biscuits, milk and a carrot for Santa and his crew [below left] before heading to bed. We were amazed he managed to stay awake until 8.00am this morning at which point the present-opening began. JD and I then enjoyed a day of making Lego models [bottom right], as well as various more festive activities. There's nothing like a kid around to make for a great Christmas atmosphere.
JD is getting increasingly excited about the prospect of Christmas, as the pile of presents slowly grows and the advent calendar chocolates get eaten up. We are planning to have Christmas lunch (or our limited version of it) on Saturday and hang up JD's stocking that evening. Then Sunday can be our Christmas Day (JD is at school on Monday) with the present opening and a hotpot with friends in the evening. At least the bitterly cold weather here gives things a Christmassy feel!
Caked in sweat
Write right? Carrot cannot.
Ever been 'ad?
Fish 'n (chocolate) chips
We had fun last weekend, visiting a countryside village with JD's Kindergarten friends. First, we spent a few hours fishing. I only caught a minnow and JD only caught a couple of dead fish floating on the water! But the other parents had better luck and we finished with three large fish which were cooked up for lunch.
After lunch, we went to a small bakery and had a go at making and decorating our own biscuits. JD had watched a film called, "How the Grinch stole Christmas" last week and, when the biscuits came out of the oven, we were shocked to see that one of them looked spookily like the Grinch! See what you think...
Yesterday afternoon I was one of six foreign teachers from my University visiting a Primary School in the countryside. We represented six different countries and had been asked to give short talks to about 100 students about some aspect of our respective country's culture. I was asked to go first, and gave a ten minute Powerpoint presentation about London, complete with actions for the kids to copy for each place I talked about (cheering for Wembley Stadium, waving for the Queen, monkey impression for London Zoo, hands together praying for St. Paul's Cathedral, etc). The kids loved it and, being first, they were very focused and enthusiastic. Unfortunately, their attention wavered as the other teachers did their talks, some of which lasted up to 30 minutes or were far too complicated or wordy for the 8-11 year olds.
Outside class, the students were very outgoing and active (after a few minutes of shyness) especially when I taught them some simple magic tricks - my usual ice-breaker. It was a fun trip.
We've all been frustrated by traffic jams, but I've never considered painting new signs on the road, as this quick-thinking Chinese commuter did recently! Unfortunately he was caught on CCTV and fined. His new traffic signs have since been scrubbed off.
Circus in tent
JD and I went to the circus again last weekend, this time with Jiajia and Ma-in-law in tow. At one point in the performance JD blew a kiss to one of the East European dancers and was rewarded with a big kiss blown back, After the show ended, he insisted on running over to get a hug from "his blue lady"! She seemed happy to oblige. What a flirt!
Sue the zoo
When a first ever zoo opened in Yulin, Guangxi Province, last week, residents flocked the see the "rare and exotic animals" advertised.
They were disappointed, to say the least, to just find some chickens, a couple of geese, a tortoise in a glass tank and six inflatable penguins!
Chinese zoos are not known for their animal care or suitable animal environments, but this one went too far and customers who bought tickets are now looking to sue!
JD was delighted to receive not one, but two, advent calendars this year. A fun one to teach you how to say "Hello" in multiple languages from our UK friends, Jo and family, and then a more religious and chocolatey one from my parents. He's more excited about Christmas this year than ever before. We even made home-made decorations the other day, having packed our normal ones away before the move to our current small flat.
Paul Hider lives and works in Kunming (SW China) and regularly updates this blog about his life there.
Past blog entries