Back on Canadian soil… does it feel familiar? the same? different? Yes to all of the above. Everything seems to be the same, not much has changed other than a few businesses being closed. It is unsettling that so many places have closed up shop in a way… maybe because of the huge economic growth we experience in China it feels weird?
We planned to come “home” to be here in time for my parents anniversary (June 29th) and for me to visit my old school where I went for teacher’s college, volunteered a million and one hours as well as worked. We told everyone we would be home this coming weekend, so it would be a surprise. First we surprised my parents… we called just before we got to their house to be sure they were home. We surprised them a bit, but my mom can’t avoid the call display so she figured something was up. We thought call display wouldn’t show our names since we have the lowest possible mobile phone package. Oh well they were still surprised.
I also surprised my old school… I arrived with coffee since I had planned to meet up with some of the staff for coffee when I came back. Marcy was really surprised. It was funny to see the reaction from certain kids. Marcy said do you remember this lady ? and some kids were like ‘not so much’. Ug! blow to the ego…. I am that forgettable???? Hee hee. Others who were the least likely to remember (always in their own world and not paying attention to much) came running with hugs and hellos. Others were like…. you look familiar… do I know you? Once they heard my name (as others shouted it out) they remembered. Many of them knew I was in China and a bit confused how I was back. The class I spent the most time with through teacher’s college, volunteer hours and work greeted me with “Hey it’s our favourite teacher!” Ahhh…. ego restored – hee hee. I went in twice to the school and visited with the staff, children and a few parents that happened to be there. It was great to see everyone again. They of course wanted to know what China is like as many had the same image I had before going. One of the students gathered all the children on the carpet so I could teach them words in Chinese. Too funny – me speak Chinese? I am surrounded by English for much of my day in my little Western bubble, so I have a few words in my vocabulary. Luckily they were 4 and 5 years old and happy with Ni Hao!
Since I am talking about surprises… one big surprise we have had is the weather! Yesterday it started out as 10*c! YIKES…. it warmed up later to about 21, which is still cool for this time of year. I shouldn’t complain since my brother did warn me it was cool. I figured cool was light sweater (jumper) not jacket! My dad even said he is finding it cold and was going to unpack the snow shovel! OK now that is just ridiculous… if it gets that cold I think I will faint. I guess it could be worse as I will be returning to the sweltering heat of Shanghai in a few weeks. It is just hard to adjust since we have been wearing summer wear since April/May and I haven’t needed a jacket for weeks.
One other surprise is the blue sky…. we have seen blue sky, fluffy white clouds and beautiful sunsets everyday. Yesterday started out cloudy looked like it may rain, but the sun made an appearance a few hours later. In Shanghai blue sky is rare. There is always full cloud cover or smog which is the most common and blue sky is rare.
From the last post I talked about the things we missed from home… blue sky should have been on the list! As to the other items…. we had our Swiss Chalet chicken with fresh-cut fries…. and Tim Horton’s coffee. Oh how sweet it is! Nothing smells funny or has that Chinese spice smell that over powers everything. People stop and wait for you to cross the street, don’t beep every few seconds and stop at red lights! I forgot how crossing the street isn’t a run for your life and pedestrians come first. We went out for dinner last night and we noticed how expensive things were! Service was slow so luckily they gave us desserts for free. I went to the mall the other day and was shocked by some of the prices there too. All made in China and maybe a third more of the price we can buy it for in China. I did buy some books and that was a good deal…. buy 3 and get 1 free. I now have a few books to hold me over for the year. I want to head to the used bookshop next and grab a few more.
I wasn’t sure if I would have a lot to say and have enough for a post while here… the unusual is common place in Shanghai, but the most bizarre thing I ever saw was right in front of my parents house yesterday! Driving down my parents street we saw a ‘blue guy’. Now my parents live in a small town and Blue Man Group is not playing anywhere close… maybe a Blue Man went awol? This young guy was on a bike just standing there… watching cars go by and occasionally doing the hand gesture to get cars to honk (the one kids do to get truckers to honk the big horns). He was wearing a thin spandex suit from head to toe…. the weird thing was it also covered his face, so he had no features visible. Luckily he was also wearing long basketball shorts. It was even more bizarre because he was so thin… looked like a cartoon figure. He stayed there for over half an hour… He rode by us and I tried to get a photo (seeing is believing!) but he was too fast and then just disappeared down the road. It was just creepy. I thought we had seen it all living in China, but this takes the cake!
Stay tuned (maybe the Blue Man will return?) for more adventures… Canadian this time.