Friday, June 25, 2010

Loving Lychee

The parents of two of our dorm students brought us a parting gift on Thursday when they picked their kids up -- a HUGE box of ripe lychee.  (I don't know if they realized, we'd be leaving China ourselves 36 hours later)  Even though our kids have told us how good it is, I had yet to try eating lychee.  I didn't even know how to go about eating it and had to have our student show me how.  Basically, you just peel off the outer skin and pop the whole thing in your mouth and enjoy one of the juiciest, sweetest fruits I have ever tasted!  Just mind the small pit in the middle ;-)

I'm eating as many as I can before we head to the airport in three hours!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I married a soccer player

As some of you may know, it's World Cup season which means A LOT of soccer in a very short period of time. Four years ago, Jason was chasing the games through Germany and backpacking around Europe. We met two weeks later at Peace Corps orientation and here we are ... watching the World Cup from Shanghai. I watch about 1 1/2 games each night and then fumble around, completely disoriented when Jason's alarm goes off for the 2:30 am match. I have yet to actually watch one of the late matches ... poor Jason.
Our school had a World Cup day on Tuesday which was topped off with a staff vs. student soccer game. It was my first time getting to watch Jason play in a semi-real game. While watching him, I was reminded how I would have never imagined that I would be married to a soccer player.  In high school & college, soccer players always seemed to be some of the cutest boys around and quite unattainable for someone like me.  And yet here I am, the very proud wife of a very cute soccer player :)
Jason's jersey was a gift from the boys teams that he helped coach this Spring.  They could never remember his last name which resulted in being called "Schtuff" which I think is a compliment considering the other two coaches ended up with "Romeo" & "Juliet!"

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Last Hurrah!

We took our kids on our final dorm outing this weekend.  Feeling a bit worn down from things over the past few weeks, it was a stretch for us to really feel motivated to want to do something nice.  But, we rallied and were able to have a nice evening together; stopping at the lovely Lost Heaven for dinner and then on to a very, very large video arcade where they ran around for two hours shooting things, driving race cars and being kids.  Only one of the nine kids we took out will be returning to stay at the dorm next year, so it was fun to have a farewell party.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Teenagers will be ... well, teenagers

Jason and I are rapidly approaching our summer break (officially: 7 days and 14 hours until we depart our house for our journey back to the U.S.) and during the past few weeks, our students have been letting us know in not so subtle ways that they too are ready for a break.
Two weeks ago, an actual physical fight broke out between two of our 15 year old students (a boy and a girl). Posessions were broken and the boy ended up with at least 20 scratches on his arms. Lovely.
Last week, Jason notices that our 17 year old student needs to spray cologne before allowing Jason to enter his room. Just a little suspicious. Next morning, we do a thorough room check and find cigar trimmings in the trash and a full can of beer in the drawer. The student's father flies into town to have a "chat" with him the next day. The very next night, the student is supposed to be sleeping at a friends house, but is instead picked up from a bar on suspicion of using drugs -- not too bright since we're in CHINA where this is grounds for deportation or worse!
And finally this past Monday I simply remind our set twins of a dorm rule they failed to follow and they've basically not talked to me since...
So, we've been busy playing peacemaker and investigator and fighting off colds which hasn't left much time for fun exploration.  But, I do have two fun pictures scenes to share of Shanghai life...
We know when we see fruit being pulled around the city in carts like these that they are officially "in season."  Yum, it's cherry season.
We stumbled across this row of bird cages when walking through Old Shanghai and it just struck me as beautiful.  The people of Shanghai love their birds so much, they bring the cages to the parks in the morning so that the birds can socialize with each other (& so can the owners).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Is it worthwhile?

For the past few months, I have been helping teach English at a school for the children of migrant workers.  China does not provide social services such as school, healthcare, retirement, etc to its citizens if they have moved out of their own province.  Schools like these are set up in an effort to provide an education to these children who are living so far from their home. 

I've been a bit skeptical at whether the students will actually benefit from learning English, but I have enjoyed going and seeing another facet of ife in Shanghai. 

Recently, I remembered something from Peace Corps ... that often what a volunteer does will only affect one or two people; and that is considered a victory.  It has changed my perspective on what we do with these kids, made me feel excited that perhaps it will be possible to make a positive impact on one of these.  And in the meantime, I will just enjoy being with them and seeing their beautiful faces.

Singing Old MacDonald (with hand motions) with our 3rd grade class.
The young man above here, was burned on his arm with boiling water when he was two...

At lunchtime, the student all go wash their bowls that they must bring with them to school.  Many students are also employed to help carrying large bowls and pots of food to the various classrooms.

Once they are done eating, many of the students come to our room to play games or shyly observe us.

Since this was our last week, all of the 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th graders were in one room to watch The Sound of Music.  It was very sweet to hear them all sing along to Edelweiss.
With my small group of fifth graders ...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Becoming Guitar Heroes

Our friends, Ed & Natalie brought their Wii with them to China and recently found some knock-off games and guitars.  This is the result ...

Since I have very little eye-hand coordination and about zero rhythm, this wasn't exactly my strong suit, but we did have a good time.

George wasn't sure what in the world was going on.