So yesterday June asked me if I was happy here. I was a bit surprised at the question and answered her honestly. Some good days, some bad. Some good classes, some bad. I am missing home but doing alright. She said that she hoped I was happy because she wanted me to stay here. I really didn't know how to respond, but it made me feel good that someone wants me to stay here.
Watching "A Knight's Tale" in class is going great. The kids laugh and gasp and I can tell from what I understand when they are talking to each other during the movie, they are talking ABOUT the movie. Yesterday I had all of class 2, but since class C hadn't even seen the beginning of the movie, we had to do something else. The teachers said to just keep an eye on them and let them study, but I asked what they wanted to do. Study? Talk quietly while I played music? Do review for MY midterm? Play a game? The vote was a clear "let's play a game". You know, if I had midterms all day I would jump on the chance to play a game last period of the day too. We played 7-up for a bit. Then one of the more responsible students asked if we could do a little review. I went over what they needed to do for my midterm again. Then we played another game until the end of class. It was like "hot potato" where we passed around a tennis ball until the music stopped and then that person had to get in front of the class and sing a song. This game was entirely their idea. And I say "WE passed" because after I stopped the music on the first round the students asked me to play too while the first "it" took my place as music stopper.
Part of me worries that they see me too much as the "fun teacher", but I haven't had any real problems with discipline in Class 2. I suppose I don't mind the "goofball" labeling if it means they are comfortable enough around me to open up and speak English. Better than a classroom full of perfect angels scared out of their minds to open their mouths lest they make a mistake.
Anyway, I decided to go to Johnny Moo's for dinner last night. I continue to enjoy any excuse to bike around. I also decided while I was out that I should get myself a coat. I thought I would be ok without one, but it has been surprisingly cold here lately. And I guess in an effort to save energy, the school hasn't turned on the heat in the high school building. Since the middle of the school is open (remember the mini forest in the middle of the building?) I guess that makes sense. Plus, part of me still wants to go to Harbin for the ice festival and I am sure as hell not going that far north without a decent winter coat!
I checked Carrefour first just in case I could find something half-way decent in my size since I knew it would be cheaper. Now, I could have found something that fit me, but I like my winter coats to be a little big on me so I can bulk up layers underneath just in case. After some searching I gave up and headed to Decathlon. They cater to the westerners that live in the area so they have larger sizes.
I found the perfect coat about three aisles in. It's one of those layer coats with the fleece inner coat and the waterproof outer coat. I figured it was perfect. Three coats in one, plus it's just like my winter coat at home. The fleece coat is warm enough for now, but if it gets colder I can put the top coat back on. Plus, Shanghai can get very wet so it's nice that I now have a waterproof jacket. Here is a picture of me wearing just the fleece coat. The top coat looks exactly the same: solid black.
The brand name is Quechua. When I first saw it I assumed it was a Chinese brand name. Turns out "Quechua" is the name of a native American language in South America. Am I a dork for finding this interesting?
Also at Decathlon I bought a pair of convertible mittens, or hobo gloves, or "fingerless gloves that have a mitten top you can flip back", or whatever you want to call them. I know, I know, I can knit them myself. But I'm cold NOW. And the gloves were cheap enough that buying the yarn and material to line them would probably cost about the same.
No, a glove!Plans are in the works on multiple sides for visitingness. It occurred to me this weekend that Paul and Kyle are heading back to the US in mid December and I still haven't headed out to Nanjing. Then Charlotte sent me a message asking when I wanted to go somewhere during a weekend trip (we had discussed before heading out to some nearby places during the weekend, like Suzhou). Perfect! I contacted Benno and asked when a good weekend to come down (up? left? right?) was. So far the plan is to leave Friday the 28th on the train and stay until Sunday. There is a hostel right across the street from the college they are studying at. Sweetness!
Also, D'Arcy, who is teaching in Japan, is making her plans to come visit me during her vacation. Super awesome! Of course March seems like a million years away. Damn you D'Arcy for being so on top of things.
I suppose that's all for now. I still haven't washed my dishes from the big medieval cooking party on Sunday (eww gross!) so I think tonight will be house keeping time. Plus I should run to Carrefour for some basic shopping. TP, juice, laundry detergent and other stuffs. I am becoming a master of riding my bike with a ton of stuff. Ok, ok, I might not be as good as this guy:
(PS: seeing people with this much stuff on their bike is not out of the ordinary) I can, however, ride my bike with the front basket full and a huge bag of stuff hanging off of either handle bar. The only problem is taking turns too fast and the bag whaps the front wheel and makes an uncomfortable noise.
Umm...I was supposed to be wrapping this post up and I got distracted.