Its cold and damp and all you want to do is snuggle up in your bed. It was cold in Canada (most days between -5c and -10), and damp, but I don’t know how it can be damper here in Shanghai. We left Shanghai with +13-16c Dec 22 and returned to -4 – +4c… but it goes right through you and it feels colder than home. I think it makes things worse when you don’t have central heating, so even inside you are cold. We bought a small heater and it has helped tremendously. My worries of “snow suit” jammies has been realized… yes it is THAT cold. No wonder they have toilet seat warmers! At least my classroom is warm… we get the sun all day, so often it is too hot. When you go into the hall you need a jacket though, as there is no heating and it is somewhat open to the elements. It is always to extremes…. Well we can take comfort in the fact that even the fancy, expensive houses and apartments are no warmer than ours! One of the parents was saying they have huge windows and a fantastic view, but no curtains… which help insulate the apartment and keep out a lot of the cold.
Thursday this week we had a break from the dampness and it was actually quite warm… I knew there was a change in temperature when I went outside for duty and saw the kids coats littering the playground and the teachers moving freely with a spring in their step instead of the shivering tight posture they usually exhibit in the attempt the maintain body heat as they stand on duty.
Blues also hit us in another way as we returned from Canada. We went shopping before Christmas, a busy time when stores are crowded and people are in a hurry. People always tried to give you that personal buffer and apologize even if they got too close. Soon as we returned to China, we felt like human pinballs as we were bumped and pushed from side to side as almost no one honours personal space. If they want something there is no waiting patiently… they push past you and hurry on their way. I couldn’t believe how something so trivial made such a big deal… and if not careful it can consume you and make you bitter. So as the old saying goes if you can’t beat ’em join ’em. So I had to just hunker down and put my final destination in my sights and just go. I am not as bad as the locals and I avoid people when I can, but if someone bumps me first I bump them back. First time I did it I left horrible, but they expect it and don’t even bat an eye! So survival of the fittest is a part of daily life… when you have over 20 million people in a city (close to the population of ALL OF Canada!!!) you better get your elbows up and head down, or you will never get anywhere.
Sorry for the long delay between posts… this was a busy week with printing reports and getting new plans ready for the new units, and getting the children’s portfolios ready… I guess it is busier than normal because Chinese New Year break is so close. In 2 weeks we are off for 12 days! We hope to get away somewhere, but our Ayi (maid) quit without notice, so now we do not have someone to look in on the cat. A few teachers may be staying around, so if they can look in on Holly we will go away for a week or so.
Stay tuned… next I will tell you about our Chinese New Year Celebrations at school…