Luho Dstrict, Women's Day, hiking, plans for next weekend
So remember how I said I was staying on campus last weekend? Didn’t happen…But we didn’t go far. We went to Luohu District in Shenzhen. We took the bus and spent the day there. I wanted to back home that same day, but ended up spending a night at a hotel instead. We went back Sunday. Luohu is a commercial area, much like Coco Park. Only a bit more expensive. But then again it was better. A lot of foreigners seem to go there too. We had our fair share of fun and headed back to the hotel to sleep. Then went back to the school Sunday afternoon. The bus was packed (it usually is) and I had to sit on the floor at the very front of the bus for half an hour (it felt like ages), the bus ride was a little over an hour.
When we got back, I set to work in my room. I chose ‘Travel’ as my topic and might stick with it for another week. It's a broad theme and can easily be used in all of my classes. I didn’t get to do everything I had planned. The classes varied a lot again this week, I’ve started writing comments on each class’ performance each lesson. It helps me remember how they respond to different things. How they behave and keeps me on track of which lessons I've had with them. Hopefully it will be useful for planning future lessons.
Tuesday (08.03.11) was Women’s Day. I didn’t really realize this until I woke up and noticed the date on my phone. I was planning on wishing all the female teachers Happy Women’s Day, because for some reason I thought they didn’t celebrate it. Boy, was I wrong.... They love women here! When I walked to school I saw a group of people outside the canteen. I had already had breakfast in my room, so I was going straight to the office. The people were giving each other flowers, I had no idea what this was all about. I thought someone won a prize or something. I just smiled at them and they stared at me while I passed by. When I arrived at the office I received one of the flowers they handed out by the canteen and they wished me a “Happy Women’s Day!”. Students approached me in my office and tried to say this in English, but a teacher translated it for me. When I went to my first class the entire class said “Happy Women’s Day!” to my surprise.
Later that day, one of the female teachers invited me to join them for a hike in the mountains by the school. Apparently, this is an annual ritual. Every year on March 8th, all the female teachers climb the mountain. I said yes immediately, forgetting that I had a lesson when the hike was taking place. She told me that my lesson was moved from 5th period to 6th period. The 6th period lessons start 15.30. Our hike started 14.30. I was nervous about making it back in time for my lesson, but trusted the other teachers plan. It had just rained (I’d almost forgotten what rain was) the previous night, so the air was humid. It was a bit colder than usual, but we got pretty warm from hiking, so it was OK. When the hour hand on my watch crept closer to 15.00 I started feeling the urge to go back, in order to make it on time. I turned around, going back the same way. One of the Chinese English teacher (a young one, actually able to speak English) stopped me and asked why I was going back. I explained my situation to her. She encouraged me to continue, telling me that it might be faster to keep walking towards the top, since we were walking around. She stressed “I think”, though. Which made me a little insecure. Because she had never participated before either, she's a new teacher and started teaching at the school a week before me.
Despite the fact that I was worried, I kept on walking. I tried to enjoy the beautiful sights, but the pressure on being back on time ruined the experience a little. When we were almost back, it was 15.30 and I felt devastated. I missed my lesson! They’ve told me numerous times how important it is to be on time and I always am, I felt like I’d let them down. At the bottom of the last hill there was a van and some people. “Great!” I thought. “They are driving us back so we can have our lessons!” This was not right. The principle was there, she cheered me on (I was walking by myself, in front of the others at this point) I felt awkward, I didn’t realize this was a race! Which made sense in retrospect, when a bunch of teachers started running at the very beginning… She gave me a note with a bunch of Chinese characters on it and pushed me towards the van. Someone in the van took the note and gave me two big, industrial sized bottles of shampoo/shower cream. Then they all smiled and cheered as if I’d won a marathon. I was frankly too stressed out to sense anything of this and hurried off towards campus. I didn’t even stop by my room to clean myself up. I went straight to the school, dressed in a hoodie (which needs washing) and running shoes. I went to the classroom,but didn’t enter. Because guess what? There was a teacher there already. Gee. I guess all that stress was for nothing, eh? This annoyed me, but I went back to the office anyway. Which was a good, because here they told me that my lesson was now moved to 7th period. I guess everyone's lessons were moved because the hike took longer than expected. The lessons going on while we were hiking, were taken over by all the male teachers. I stayed in office until 7th period, when I went downstairs to teach 1A. I went back to my room and I finished the Powerpoint I was using in the 4th Grade class the following morning and went to bed early. Exhausted after a busy day at OEC.
I think I’ll meet up with everyone today (Thursday), we're discussing the plans for the weekend = Mark and a Jeppe’s birthdays. They probably have an idea where they want to go. On Tuesday I went to the big supermarket/Ren Ren Le 30 min away from here (by bus). Amanda was already there with german Aline. I did some much needed food shopping and met them at U.B.C Coffeeshop (which has the most amusing neon sign (“Coffee & tea, steak” ) We didn’t eat there, but just sitting there is nice (the chairs are so comfortable!) We discussed what we’re getting the guys for their birthdays, we still have to talk about it with Nick. We might get something from all of us, maybe a voucher or something. We have a few ideas, the problems lies in making these things happen and explaining what we want to Chinese people. But I think it will work out fine.
Now it's time to head back to school for my 11.05 1B lesson (my last lesson today).
I hope that all of you back home are doing fine and that Spring is around the bend.
Please, leave me comments if you feel like it!