I found butter!!!!!
This week is Mid-Autumn Festival! Sunday was National Day, and then this whole week is the festival, which means no school! About 80% of the students went home or on a trip somewhere. Its nice to be on campus when its so empty. I thought about travelling somewhere, but I am still in the middle of getting registered as a resident of Dalian, so its better to stay in town, which is fine because its giving me time to explore the city.
As much as I love Chinese food, last week I started craving western food. I had gotten pasta and a bag of hunts tomato sauce, but I didn’t have any spices or anything, and I was really bread and butter so last Wednesday, which is the day I’m finished teaching class at 10 AM, I went into the city on a mission to find butter!
I should mention that I have also started getting brave enough to take the bus by myself!! I’m getting quite oriented with my city, and if I get lost, I know how to flag down a taxi driver and get home. ( It sounds like Gong yaaay da schwaaay).
Anyways, back to the butter. I recently learned that milk has only been something you can get in China in the last 20 years, and I figured out that getting butter at a normal super market was impossible. I looked online and saw that there was a Carrefour ( the French version of Walmart) downtown where I know the bus routes. So I hopped on the bus and went! Not only did I find quite a nice selection of butter, but I also found peanut butter, jelly, and some spices for my tomato sauce!!! It was a good trip, and even though things like butter are something we don’t really think about back home, its quite comforting being able to taste something that tastes like home!
I have been meeting more and more westerners, and Sunday I met a middle-aged lady that is living here teaching English for something different. She took me to a place called Brooklyn Bar that serves delicious pizza!!!!! We had pizza, salad, and cheese sticks, and it was delicious! Not that I don’t love the Chinese food I’m finding, but its nice to eat something I’m used to.
I do have some Chinese food that i love though. Don’t ask me what its called, because other than the chicken fried rice, I really have no idea!! But there are a lot of food vendors on campus for the students, and I have a few that frequent! My byoza (steamed buns) lady always sees me and smiles and says Ni hao ma? ( how are you?) while she pulls out my beef steamed buns and passes them to me. One time I tried to order pork for something different, and she looked at me very strangely and said in Chinese ( I’m guessing on the translation, but I picked out the words No, You, and Beef) No, you the eat the beef ones! it was a long sentence, but she focused on no, and beef, and kept pointing at me, so I think she has decided that beef Byoza are what’s best for me!!
On the teaching front, classes have been going well! Since it was the week before break, we did Show and Tell week, and it was a great success! most students brought something that means a lot to them, and the ones that forgot something talked about something that was their favorite. While I saw a lot of key chains and cell phones over the week, everything was extremely meaningful. Those that showed cell phones did so because they bought it themselves with the salary from their first job, or a sibling bought it for them. I had some very creative presentations as well. One student taught us the method for solving a Rubix Cube, and said its something he loves to flip around because his dad got it for him. Another girl forgot to bring something, and proceeded to talk for 5 minutes about how much she loved potatoes. Even though she had forgotten to bring something, she talked the most of the entire class! Another kid, one of my few boys in my classes, brought up the other 3 boys in the class and said that his roommates meant a lot to him because even though they had only been living together a month, they meant a lot to him because he knows they will be friends forever.
All of my students took the presentations really seriously, and while I got to see more into what they care a lot, they got to see that they could talk for an extended amount of time in English! These first few weeks I have been trying to build their confidence, and after the break we will work more on correct language and speaking.
My show and tell item was my amazingly vibrant quilt that my mommy made me!!! Every girl in my classes took pictures of it when I held it up! My other item I showed was a photo book that my best friend made for me, and I think showing my students both of these items helped them build their confidence and trust.
Speaking classes are different than any other type of class, and I really can tell that these students are so used to being reprimanded for anything other than perfection that they are afraid to speak unless you show them it is ok. Once I realized that, I have been making an effort to show my students that i really want to be there, and really want to help them, and it has made them all more responsive and talkative!!
The weather is getting colder, and I’m getting excited to see what winter brings!!!!
Lots of Love from the land of the Mid-Autumn Festival!!!