Thursday, March 29, 2007

Easily Amused

This is very silly but I found it amusing...these are the kind of things I do on the internet when I am procrastinating planning curriculum.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Reports of my Death have been Greatly Exaggerated

Before you read this post, you may want to read this bit in italics, The Cliff's Notes. Lots of stuff has happened to me in the last couple months, and I know I get confused, so I know you may be also. Once upon a time, Christense had winter vacation. It was freezing in Wuhan, so she went to Hainan, an island province of China in the South China Sea, to eat pineapple and study Chinese. She really like Haikou city, and made lots of friends there, including a nice boy names Peter. Christense decided she wanted to return to teach there. So she went back to her job in Wuhan, but kept looking for a job in Haikou.

So, I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Haikou. I heard about a job opening at a language school, and I flew down to check it out. It's called Hainan Snow Foreign Language College.

new school 9

I like to pretend they hung that banner out for me, even though they didn't. It's a three year language college. Most of the students seem to be local girls. They are very lively and eager to learn and practice English. Because one of their teachers was out of town, I even got to teach a few classes, so I really got a feel for the school. Look closely at the chalkboard in the background of this picture, and you'll see I was teaching them the chart-topping American hit, "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands."

New school 1

Contract negotiations went very quickly, as they agreed to give me the same terms as my contract in Wuhan. That's good, because I've never negotiated anything in my life, but I know I have a good Wuhan contract. The school is run by a Chinese man called Mr. Snow and his son, and they seem very kind and accomodating. The school is right in the neighborhood where I stayed last time in Haikou, and close to everything I need. Also, in case I need a clearer sign, a new Friend's Waffle stand opened a block from the school.

Friends waffle

Friend's Waffle is owned by a Korean brother and sister. We all know I don't really like waffles, but they do something to these! They don't put on syrup (though they have it) but instead they put on apple jelly and butter and fold it in half. Over the course of my time in Haikou I've become addicted. I could go for one now!


Here's a picture of Peter, just because. We went out and had street food: goose neck, spicy noodles, oysters, grilled eggplant, chocolate popcorn. And waffles!

haikou family

This is my last night in Haikou with some friends. This trip was very refreshing. So I'll finish the school year in Wuhan, and then return to Haikou to get my visa. Then I'll be in the US for July and August, and finally move to Haikou to teach starting in September. Yahoo!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Daylight Savings Time

I've never really understood daylight savings time. Isn't there the same space of time between sunrise and sunset, whether the sun rises at 5am or 6am? I've never felt very passionate opposition to it, though, just a sort of vague confusion. Here's a quote my dad sent me that makes me feel better:

"I don't really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves."

--Robertson Davies, The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, 1947, XIX, Sunday.

However, in honor of my confusion, I have given you on my sidebar a couple clocks, with local time in China and in Portland, which I will probably have to reset next weekend. In China, not only do we have no daylight savings time, but no time zones at all! So, after DST, count forward 3 hours, and switch am to pm to figure out what time it is in China. No worries!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Everyday Chinese: Lesson Two

"Mei shi de."

I just learned this phrase today from a podcast I got from Though the Chinese themselves often render this phrase in English "no problem," I was beyond thrilled to learn that it literally means (are you ready?) "It ain't no thing." Ha!