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!
Another in my occasional series of "Flashbacks" looking back at blog entries made before this Weebly version started.
(Summer 2007) I had a little visitor to the flat today, and a more interesting one than the odd spider, cockroach or gecko. Whilst watching a DVD, a swift flew in through the open kitchen window, across the lounge and straight into a closed window – THUMP! He fluttered around quite a bit until, exhausted, he allowed me to get close enough to grab him and take him to the open window, where he flew off unhurt! There are hundreds of swifts around town at this time of year, especially around the rivers, flying low to catch insects – some just inches off the ground. Great to see, though not particularly welcome during an episode of Dr Who.
[30th May 2018: I was prompted to look up this story by a rather large bird flying into my classroom earlier this week. After trying to fly out through a closed window and thumping its head, it was dazed enough to let me pick it up and take it to an open window whereupon it flew off, seemingly none the worse for wear. Cue a round of applause from my students!]
JD was invited to a free Lego Trial Class yesterday. One of his school friends already attends every Sunday afternoon. The class had five boys in it and a very professional teacher who talked them though the different stages of making a sniper's rifle with the aid of a Powerpoint presentation (not my favourite object for them to be building, but it varies from week to week). JD loved the 1½ hour lesson, and he and his friend especially enjoyed "chasing and killing" me with the guns after class. Unfortunately, the Lego school is a good 30 minutes drive away, which has made us think twice about signing up.
JD and I spent this morning at the Kunming Railway Museum. JD was two years old when we last went and he had no recollection of it. But this time he thoroughly enjoyed seeing everything from the old steam engines to the new high-speed trains. I've been to the museum about half a dozen times and it just gets better every time with new exhibits and more English captions. Shame about the toilets though!!
We moved into our temporary flat eight months ago and renovation work finally started on our old house two months ago. Since then, progress has been slow but steady, monitored daily by Jiajia with her architectural plans, self-bought materials and design ideas in hand.
JD's bedroom will be doubled in size with a new extended balcony, windows will be double-glazed, central heating has been installed, new kitchen and bathrooms fitted, new stairs, extra walk-in storage cupboards and space for a balcony garden. It should be fantastic once finished, but we may be looking at New Year 2019!
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