Well the vacation part of China is winding down and, the reason for being here, the school year is gearing up. This past week has been more meetings (can you say information overload???) and time to set up our classrooms and do some other odds and ends. We have talked about planning and luckily there are 4 of us so we can share the workload.
This past week we had “team building day” with sports and games. Our green team came in 4th overall and I guess that is a big improvement from previous years. We played soccer, volleyball, tug-o-war, a minute to win it, carrier (2 people hold ball behind their backs and must carry it without dropping) and balloon race. It was a lot of fun and did “build our team”. The worst part was the weather. It had to be the hottest day yet in Shanghai. I woke up and knew it was bad when I could see the humidity in the air and even though it was clear sky the sun was a little fuzzy orange ball in the sky that you could look at directly and not hurt your eyes. At 6 AM it was 32c and 43c with the humidity! It reached 39 or 40c — so with the humidity it felt like the 50’s! I was as a red as a tomato and I sweated in places I never thought possible… when have your shins sweated??? I played hard though… wanted to do well for the team. Due to the extreme heat they cut the times down and added a creative part so we could work in classrooms for the afternoon.
My classroom is getting ready. I have the class set up, bulletin boards and things in place for the students. Just a few little odds and ends left to do. Monday we will team plan and get the first week organized. Monday and Tuesday new students will visit also.
I am hoping I can get a new computer. My co-teacher and some other people did get new ones and I guess mine is the oldest and most temperamental so it should be replaced. The teacher who had my room last year said the computer is ancient. It takes me forever to do things because often it freezes up and it loves to turn on Chinese… so apparently I am fluent in Chinese and I can write it very well! I keep turning it off, but it turns back on… it’s some sort of translator. I found its easier to type things at home and then e-mail it to myself so I can just print it at school.
Yesterday was a fun day. The school arranged a city tour. We went to a lovely market/bizarre, Yu Yang Garden, with crafts, jewellery, clothes… you name it. Yu Yang Garden is also a garden, but very crowded and we would not have enough time to explore. It was another hot one, so wandering outside was not enjoyable. John and I went to this market when we first arrived and didn’t even know it. We had entered from another location and only saw about 1% of what was there. In the centre there are some traditional Chinese buildings and a pond… it was lovely. We didn’t have enough time for shopping, so we will have to return. It was probably a good thing too since we were going to IKEA later.
Lunch was awesome – a Latina restaurant – the ones that come with meat after meat and you can choose what you would like. I have been to one before and there is one in Niagara Falls. The food was delicious, but with a Chinese twist… they had some unusual meat choices like chicken hearts!
After lunch we went to a museum that holds a scale model of Shanghai… it was massive! It was near impossible to find where we live -so many buildings. A tour came through and the guide lit up the model to show the buildings than dimmed the lights and all the buildings lit up as if it was night. Very impressive!
Our last stop was IKEA and I think that was the biggest hit with everyone. Our apartments are furnished, but people would like a few other creature comforts. Everyone came out with bags and boxes and for a few minutes we didn’t think we would all fit back onto the 2 busses (2 larger mini van style). Some people went over the top and bought chairs, a cot, shelves and small tables! We didn’t go too crazy and bought a few small things for storage, small folding hamper and a drying rack. We managed to fit ourselves and things like a jigsaw back into the vans and we all got home and delivered with the help of the big strong guys (teachers and trailing spouses).
Life is becoming less funny stories and more routine. Patience is important here as things can take a long time and not always run smoothly or like home, so the odd and unusual still pop up from time to time. Stay tuned for more adventures and the first days of school…