Friday, 20 March 2009

Little of this, little of that

Sorry for the lack of posts, I've been busy. I have less classes this half and only teach four days a week. However, I seem to be much more busy with lesson plans. History of the English language is time consuming, but it's getting better. I love both of my classes (I teach them each 2 days a week). Out of 30 juniors, 28 of them signed up for my elective class, which makes me happy. I have 25 sophomores and they're just as sweet. They draw little pictures for me on their essays-it's cute.

I had a good, but quiet birthday. I didn't tell most of my students because I worried they would invite me out to dinner and I've vowed not to eat anymore Chinese food...ever. Plus, I gave up almost all the foods I love (pop, fried foods, and chocolate) for Lent, so we waited to celebrate the Sunday after. It was a dessert and pop party-I had been craving my chocolate chip/peanut butter bars with ice cream and they were yummy. I invited the American teachers and some of my IELTS students. I, somehow, didn't get any pictures of the people, but I've posted pictures of the gorgeous birthday cake the university gave me and my teapot. Katie and Curtis took me about to Outback Steakhouse (in Beijing)-it was delicious. Thanks to the "Chicken on the Barbie," I amazingly have learned to love pepper. Josh and Justin know me well-Josh bought me Louis Vuitton bag and Justin a clutch. JinJing gave me a beautiful plaque and Lindsey made yummy brownies that Garfield and I ate after the party.

I'm getting to that point that I love my students/friends, I love the university I work for, and I love the fresh fruit selections, but that's pretty much all I love, especially regarding Baoding. I'm very, very, very tired of being stared at every time I leave my apartment. It's so annoying!! The other day, I was walking to the copy place and this man (probably in his 50s), rode his bike right beside me just so he could stare at me. I said hello and how are you (in Chinese) and smiled, but he wouldn't respond and just kept constantly staring. How rude is that? It took ALL that I had NOT to push him over. I did tell him to stop it (in Chinese) and cut him off, so he had to stop riding or fall over. Sadly, that's just one instance, on a daily basis I'm laughed at, pointed at, followed, and constantly stared at just because I'm white. It drives me absolutely insane! I was talking to my friend, Garfield (that's her English name :) and she's from North China and Katie has been to South China and both have said people don't stare there and they don't stare in Beijing. Garfield called people in Baoding "uncivilized." I agree, but it makes me curious as to why they stare more in Baoding?

I'm also tired of the "egg line." I'm not a big fan of eggs in general, but they're pretty much my only source of protein here, so I eat them. Anyway, at the grocery store, you have to stand in the "egg line," which can usually be pretty long unless you go during nap time. After lunch, many Chinese take naps, which is the time I like to go out-less people to stare at me. Anyway, I went Friday at 1pm and the egg line was massive! Why weren't they all napping? I can't depend on them to do anything they're supposed to, so I didn't get eggs. Every time I buy them off the streets, I get at least one bloody egg, which freaks me out and I can't eat eggs for a week. So, what this boils down to is that I miss Dillons and Walmart, where I can walk up to the cooler and pick up a dozen eggs.

Even with the "annoyances"-my time is going by fast, I can't believe I've already been back over a month. A few weeks ago, I made the announcement to my IELTS students that I was only back for about 3 months and I could see Peter calculating in his head and he said "Three months, that's not long enough"- it just broke my heart. I'm really going to miss all of them. I'm hoping my IELTS students will be going to graduate school in England next year and I can go visit them.

My birthday cake-I'm not sure why they put glasses on it-maybe because I'm a teacher? They were made of chocolate, so I ate them.

The beautiful flowers my IELTS students gave me.

I technically collect teapots, but I only have four since I'm so picky about the ones I like. This is a gift from Shannon and Steven and it's a cool teapot-it is painted with the Terracotta Warriors from Xi'an.