Wednesday, August 25, 2010

random adventures

I know it's been a few days, but I've been too tired at night to write anything, so now this will be a compilation of hilarious things that have happened over the past few days and school stories because I got to observe a Scholastic kindergarten the past 3 days (and those kids are AFREAKINDORABLE!)

This morning, Adam and I walked to the bus stop to catch the bus to work (my training is a few stops from the hospital). While waiting, another bus came and a biker pulled up right next to the entrance, blocking the people from getting on. I thought this was strange, but maybe he wanted to be the first because he had to bring his bike along? Nope, too logical. The guy simply wanted to stop traffic on a veeerrrrry jammed street to yell at the bus driver. It was very funny to see him screeching, the bus driver waving his arms, and the orange-clad woman (whose job is to shoo people on the bus from the stop) waving that orange flag and trying to manage all of the people and chaos. Our bus pulled behind, but we couldn't get on because the biker had stopped all flowing traffic in the bus lane. We finally got on, thinking nothing could get crazier at 8am, when a van started yelling at OUR bus driver!! I think our bus had pulled out a little too closely or something. So the van sped way up, cut off the bus so we had to stop, and a little man got out yelling and screaming. He stomped over to the front of the bus, where he and the driver argued back and forth. It honestly sounded like being in one of my mom's soap operas. Then the back-of-the-bus lady pushed her way up front (remember: this is rush hour), presumably to argue on behalf of the bus. The little van man finally walked off when our bus driver decided he had to have the last word. Big mistake--another few minutes of gesturing and shouting. Adam and I could not believe that this happened twice in one morning. Where ARE we??

Another big adventure for today: I experienced my first squat toilet! My training is at an RYB (aka Scholastic) Play Center, which is kind of like a Gymboree. I really had to use the bathroom at one point, and my options were 2 little training pottys or 2 squat toilets. Had the bathroom been empty, you know what I would have done... ;) However, there were other people, so I took some toilet paper from the training area (thank goodness!) and popped a squat. On a porcelain "toilet." Very interesting experience. For those of you who have this in your future, I would recommend holding your nose and making sure that you don't touch any part of that pot. The strangest thing to me was that you flush!! I kind of figured that it would all sit in the bottom together instead of drain into a pipe, but it's like a flat western toilet.

After work, Adam and I relaxed with slices of dragon fruit (see below) and MOCKINGJAY while the laundry was running. We were so proud because the first time we did laundry, there were some problems. We thought we figured it out because the washing machine ran, but when it was done, all of the clothes were soaking wet. We proceeded to ring them all out in the sink, hang them to dry, and then remove the remaining water from the machine with a cup. It was actually really funny and something neither of us ever expected to do! The landlord helped us out and we thought things were ok, but today we put too much in (that's what happens after 2 weeks of dirty clothes!) and had to do the same thing. Adam was the hanger (I can't reach...), and I was the ringer. As a reward for all of that hard work, we gave ourselves a few more minutes to read (side note: Adam is already finished!!!) before going to dinner.

I haven't posted anything about this, but I have spent 3 days observing 2 classes at one of the Scholastic kindergartens, and I really really liked it. The kids all have semi-ridiculous English names, chosen by their parents. The first day, a girl came up to me and said "Hello. My name is Mavis. What is your name?" There was even an Aristotle in one of the classes!! The younger kids are just so little (older 2s and 3s) and absolutely adorable. They are a little hard to understand, well-behaved, cuddly, and so eager to learn. Along with the English curriculum, they are doing a lot of fine motor work because they are so young. One of the little boys, Leo, sporadically growed Daaaaaafaneeeee in a deep throaty voice throughout the 2 hours (their teacher is Dafne, but the kids tend to add an extra vowel between each consonant sound, as that is how the Chinese language sounds work). The older kids needed much more differentiation, as some of them are young 4s and the others are older 5s. They were less cuddly but more playful and really liked individual and small group work. There were lots of songs and books in both classes with repetition and movement. I'm really excited to learn the age group and get started with my own kids, though I know it will be a challenge. I will probably enlist the help of some of my preschool teaching friends and relatives...(hint hint:)  The kids as a whole were much more independent and meticulous than in the West, as is probably expected. They could do a lot more for themselves than I would expect from a kid at home, and they took care to notice every detail. The kids put the tops on every marker, swept under the sand table, and constantly picked up and moved their own small chairs.  It was very interesting to note such cultural differences and expectations. I start with my own class on September 1st!

It's time to read more Katniss Everdeen :) Enjoy the pictures!

Supermarket exploring!
FINALLY, here are a few pictures that have been missing: 
(the one to the right is a Hutong, or an old alleyway that used to be reserved for the elite) 

A fruit truck on the side of the road--they are everywhere!
Side of the drum tower.

In front of Houhai Lake in the center of Beijing.
Chinese pinkberry. Adam tried, but didn't like it so much.

Cutting a dragon fruit in the kitchen.
A dragon fruit looks bright on the outside, has the consistency of watermelon, but just tastes like sweet water. It's tasty!

1 comment:

  1. I liked the bus story, but my favorite was the squat toilet! I hope you have it figured out before Courtney gets there. Do you think they get stopped up? Maybe she should pack her own plunger. The apartment looks very liveable; enjoy it before you move back to your NY cubbyhole. :) Love you Can't wait to hear more adventures