Bits and Pieces of Our Crazy Lives

bya Gabrielle at 11:57 PM

If I could read this sign, I’d have no problem at all getting around Fuyang on a beggar’s income. It only costs 1 yuan to ride the bus here. That is about 12 cents if you are trying to do the math. Since I don’t understand a lick of written Chinese, I have to jump on a bus and hope that the woman who takes my money can understand enough of my broken Chinese to let me know when I’ve reached my stop. If she doesn’t understand me and no one else happens to be getting on or off when I need to, the bus will just keep on going. I then have to get on another bus to take me back the way I’d come. And that is the very reason I’ve become comfortable riding only 3 of the 9 bus routes in Fuyang. (Huge city, I know . . . hehe.) Every morning I take the number one bus to the other side of town and then get on the number 8 bus that drops me off right in front of school. The bus isn’t very clean and it can be cramped, but it beats paying 7-10 Yuan for a taxi twice a day.

Here is a picture of me trying to teach my students the beautiful sport of baseball. It didn’t go over too well like most of what I teach them. The only thing I think they understood was bat, ball, and run and even those three words vanished from their memory banks once they walked out of my room.  Everything else went in one ear and out the other. So, it made it really difficult to play baseball with them the following week. The one thing they did like was me singing “Take Me Out To The Ball Game.” I never thought I’d sing in front of more than just my shower curtain, but I think it may be the only real way to reach them. Guess I better start voice lessons. Doe a dear . . .

Every fall, the schools in Fuyang have a Sport’s Meeting. That means that the students get a few days off to compete in something that resembles the Olympics on a much smaller scale. Some of the students take it quiet seriously. And some of them are pretty darn good. Ask Phil and he’ll tell you all about it. Heh. But anyways, if you enlarge the picture to the left you’ll find some interesting errors. The first being that Atlanta is the capital of George and that it’s also known as “The City of Tress.” They tried to describe Izzy, the Olympic mascot, but messed up in that department as well. Take a look and you might laugh as hard as I did. Sometimes I worry about the students and who in the world is teaching them English. Their Chinese teacher’s only know so much and some of what they do know is wrong. And so the cycle keeps repeating itself. Foreign teachers are the only real cure. And look who they sent – me. God help them. God help them all.

My school had an English Competition on my birthday and they asked me to be one of the judges. There were about 25 students in it from grades 2 and 3. If they were in middle school back home they would probably be in 7th and 8th grade. A few days before the competition, I had some students read their speeches out to me. They wanted help and advice and I gave them what I could without rewriting their entire speech. There were more errors than there are thorns on a rose bush. And I’m not kidding. The sad part is that a lot of the errors were advice that the their Chinese English teachers gave them. That is the evil cycle I am talking about.

I took a picture of this girl as she preformed her speech. I don’t know who she is. She may be one of my students, but I can’t keep track of them. If you had 700 students, you wouldn’t be able to either! I think I can pick out maybe 4 or 5 students that I know are mine if I see them walking around. The cool thing is that every single one of the students memorized their speech. They didn’t have a single card with them. And some of their speeches were pretty long. A couple had some problems, but for the most part they all did pretty well. One of my students, Grey, got first place, but so did about 5 others. Guess they tied or something. I marked all the students a lot lower than the Chinese teachers did, but that’s because I actually knew what the mistakes were. Alright, gotta go. Have to see what kind of trouble I can get myself into. Fuyang and all of it’s glory awaits!

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