Having been evaluated one-to-one last week [see above] and found to have good enough rhythm and body control, JD joined his first 1½ dance class the other day [in green, below]. To his surprise, his American friend Zayden also came along [left of JD, below] and together they learned the dance moves quickly. JD loved the experience and can't wait to return on Sunday evening.
A couple of firsts for JD this week. His first game of Monopoly (we played with a fake set Jiajia had bought off the internet - a mixture of French streets, Chinglish chance cards and American money!) JD won. Then an afternoon at a KTV (Karaoke singing) organised by JD's favourite Kindergarten teacher for him and 5 of his classmates. After a shy start, he was soon blasting out various Chinese songs he'd learned at school, while I was pressured into a version of "You are my Sunshine"! And later this week, JD is going to try out for a Dance Class!
I was back teaching at Robert's School yesterday. A while ago, the school landed a large contract to give three months' training to 100+ civil servants and then found themselves very short of foreign teachers. So, after some desperate begging, I finally agreed to help them with 1½ hours a week for three months. My 25 students today had a higher level of English than I expected and managed to keep up well with the opening class on the topic of "Greetings and Self-introductions". 11 more lessons to go!
Parents were invited to sit in on the last after-school Art lesson of the term, last week. So I sat next to JD as the teacher showed them step-by-step how to make an "Autumn Starry Night" picture. We originally booked JD into these twice-weekly classes because there was one day each week when I had to teach late at my University and wouldn't have been able to pick JD up at the normal time. However, we've been surprised at just how well-prepared and enjoyable the class have been, and JD is always excited to stay behind for his class. JD's finished picture is below...
I had arranged to meet a colleague at my University Library coffee shop the other day but, arriving too early, I looked around for somewhere to kill 15 minutes. I spotted a doorway marked "Ethnic Minority Accounting Museum". Walking in, I found a collection of darkened rooms. A receptionist suddenly appeared, clearly surprised to receive a visitor, and happily turned on all the lights for me. The exhibition was based around the ways that ethnic groups in China have recorded trade deals and wealth through the ages. It had a pleasing amount of English labelling, one of which claimed to show the "largest metal coin in the world" [see above]. Not easy on the pocket or purse, I suspect! There was surprisingly little Chinglish to amuse me, but one sign did catch my eye [see below].
Wonder if you can guess what "are for vehicles" and "are for pets" on this sign, spotted today. Answer below...
JD's Kindergarten teachers often post photos of the class doing various activities on the Chinese equivalent of Facebook. Jiajia and I were rather thrown to see this one recently though, with the class seemingly praying (in an enthusiastically atheist country, no less!). We asked JD about it later and he said he couldn't really remember but he thought it was about asking Buddha for something!?
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.
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.
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