JD's best friend is a classmate called GuoDingGe, or "DingDing" for short. We've been helping look after her a bit recently as her parents are dealing with the death of her Grandfather a few days ago.
DingDIng and JD share similar interests and sense of humour. She is a little more sensible than JD, but he brings out the "silly" in her - so it's a nice mix and they love spending time together. They've spent 3-4 days playing together in the current holiday including sleepovers in a den they built in JD's bedroom!
Mid-Autumn Festival and Chinese National Day fall in the same week this year (the former being linked to moon phases). This means everyone gets an 8-day holiday (minus all the catch-up days before and after). JD is very excited at being off school for so long, especially as it coincides with his half-birthday!
The main tradition for Mid-Autumn Festival is eating little round pies, with various sweet or savoury fillings, and gazing at the full moon. We'll spend our holiday in and around Kunming with plans for a fishing trip with friends, spending vouchers at a huge all-you-can-eat buffet, R/C boat racing and a yard sale of JD's unwanted toys.
JD spent his May Day holiday at a fishing pond yesterday, trying out all the fishing gear he's been buying with Christmas, Birthday and Chinese New Year money over recent months. I'm not sure where he gets his enthusiasm for angling from - certainly not from Jiajia or me!
JD has been maturing quite a lot in recent months. He seems to struggle a little less at school - finding ways to avoid the boredom and do enough to pass his exams (just). His class won the Year 4 Basketball Competition - JD was just cheering - AND the Year 4 Ethnic Dancing Competition (both out of 10 class teams). JD was one of the dancers.
JD's free time has been dominated by fish recently. His two aquariums teem with fish, big and small. But with 1-2 dying every day, we wonder how long it will be before he packs in that hobby! He also has aspirations to be an angler. He bought his third rod and line last week. I get really proud when I see him confidently interacting with "strangers" such as shopkeepers and neighbourhood folk with great confidence and politeness. And all in fluent Chinese, too!
Last week, JD and his class spent many, many hours taking part in a basketball competition between the ten classes in his year. The teachers take it very seriously with girls, boys and mixed teams, and live-streamed matches. By the end, JD's "Class #7" were unbeaten and destroyed their opponents in the final, 21 v 5. JD didn't play at all, but was awarded "No.1 Supporter" for his enthusiastic chanting and encouragement. As a reward, the students in "Class #7" had no homework to do last weekend. JD got home by 7pm on Friday and slept until noon on Saturday - a well-deserved rest!
After school last Friday, Jiajia and I drove JD (and Ma) to a very posh 5* hotel near DianChi lake for a gourmet meal, courtesy of a free £100 VIP voucher from Jiajia's bank, and in celebration of JD's 10th Birthday! Ma hated it (of course), but JD loved it, chatting to our personal chef and experiencing Japanese WagYu beef, New Zealand lamb, squid, etc - all perfectly cooked in front of us.
The next morning, I was woken at 1am by flashing bedroom lights and spooky noises. I later realised it was April Fools Day and my scallywag son never misses the chance for a prank!
JD's holiday homework and review papers have been ramping up this week as he's back to school next week and looking at taking his end-of-term exams, which were postponed from last semester due to the COVID school closure.
He goes to a private homework class most days and Jiajia gives him extra help where she can. JD only has about a year of Chinese education to go, so it's important to take this opportunity to make his reading and writing as solid as possible before our move to the UK next year.
Last night, as I was going to sleep, JD told me that he was planning a prank or two for me today. I didn't really take a lot of notice as I was sleepy. But this morning, when I got up my slippers had disappeared. When I switched my computer on I found the desktop background had been changed! I made myself a coffee but after a sip I realised that the milk had garlic powder in it! I grabbed my water bottle to wash out the taste and found it contained salt water.
An alarm went off behind my computer. This drew my attention to one of the photos on the wall in the office which now had my head 5x bigger on it. I've been well and truly tricked this morning with no real guarantee I've found them all! Now, do I prank him or spank him in revenge?
JD was invited to "Makino Play Park" the other day by a couple of his classmates. It was a 1½ drive into the countryside - a camping and animal petting area near a large lake.
Half of the park seemed to be still under construction, but JD and his friends enjoyed feeding and playing with the emus, donkeys, llamas, chickens, pigs and - especially - the rabbits.
One of JD's Christmas presents was a Lego typewriter. He started it by himself, but struggled a little when the various moving parts and gears needed to be constructed. So we decided to finish it together.
JD and I went to the cinema to watch "Avatar 2" this afternoon. We took our masks just in case, but in fact there was only one other person in the theatre with us!
As expected, the film was a visual feast. Not much story, to be fair, but the world-building was exceptional and the final hour was non-stop action. JD and I loved it, and the 3¼ hours felt more like ....3 hours.
JD is keeping track of the number of days to Christmas with a self-made Post-it Advent Calendar! It has no chocolates or nativity pictures, but at least he gets to rip something off each morning and savour the countdown! He has already opened one present, actually, since we are all in quarantine with COVID - using his spare time throughout each day to construct a huge Lego aircraft!
With JD's Primary School having been closed for a month now, his schoolwork is all assigned, handed-in and marked online. Up until last week, he has done this though the day at "Cleaner School" - his after-school club attended by 5-10 students, usually just to do homework but now doing classwork through the day too.
But with COVID ripping through the population now, since the removal of pandemic restrictions, "Cleaner School" has closed down too. JD has had COVID this last week but is now back to 90% health and so the schoolwork continues. Jiajia has to do the Chinese and Maths with him (90% of the total) while I pitch in with English and "generally keeping everyone less stressed"!! The holidays can't come quickly enough!
Past blog entries