Wednesday, 23 December 2009

All I Want For Christmas Is MONKEYS!

Tonight is the night. Very very soon, in fact.

For my lunch break I am going to go back to my apartment and made sure my last few things are package and my clean dishes are put away.

My last class before my short Christmas break starts at 2:25 and ends at 3:20. We will be going over the monthly test and creating our own modern version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas". As soon as the clock reaches 3:20 I am packing up office stuff, grabbing my suitcase and Kelly and I are grabbing a cab to the Maglev.

Our plane leaves at 6pm. The flight should be around 3 hours. Then...SANYA.

I've looked up how to say the name of the place we are staying in Chinese, I looked up about how much the Taxi ride from the airport should be, I've gotten advice from coworkers about what to do and eat...

I've also looked at the weather...Supposed to be up to 79 degrees the next three days...HEAVEN. So far our plan is to spend the first day being lazy bums on the beach or pool side. I've packed "The Southern Vampire" series for a little brain candy vacation reading. Day two, (aka Christmas) we are thinking of doing the touristy stuff, the focus of which is probably going to be "Monkey Island" which is exactly what it sounds like: an island full of monkeys. Day three will be a bit more lazying about before our flight back. Altogether far too short of a vacation, but hopefully an enjoyable one.

My camera is still broken (flash not working) but I think it will be fine in normally light and sunshine which I am hoping to get a lot of in Sanya. I shall try to post something good when I get back.

Happy holidays to everyone!

I send love!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Happy Fruit, Sleeping Worm and Encyclopedia?

In my 11th grade class we are moving forward with creative writing. I decided to have them go over traditional fairy tale stories and then re-write them with a little creativity (ala The True Story of The Big Bad Wolf).

But just talking about some of these stories I have found some differences in the way the stories are told or called. One of my favorites is the different names for the 7 Dwarves from Snow White. I asked my students what they were called in Chinese.

The most normal sounding one was KaiXingGuo, or "Happy Fruit" for Happy.
Instead of Grumpy the have AiShengQi or "Angry".
Doc is given the slightly grander name of WanShiTong or "Encyclopedia".
Bashful's name is somewhat similar...HaiXiuGui or "Blush Ghost" (I think ghost here just means that he blushes a lot, like an Alcohol Ghost is someone that drinks a lot).
Sleepy is KeShuiChong or "Sleeping Worm".
Sneezy has the slightly more viscous name BiTiJing or "Runny Nose".
The last is by far my favorite...and I'm not even sure if it's the same type of character. In stead of Dopey they have DaHuZi which means....*drumroll please* "Big Mustache".

I find this especially funny because in the famous Disney version...Dopey is the only one WITHOUT facial hair.

Anyway, thought you all might enjoy that. Here are a couple more I have heard:

Wolves Are Coming!= The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Little Red Hat= Little Red Riding Hood
Bean Princess= The Princess and The Pea

Time for class now, gotta run.

Much love,

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Stephanie in Shanghai...In Chinese!

This was my homework I did for my first class. I am so happy to be practicing Chinese in a structured environment again, I just want to show it off. I don't feel like translating it though. :-P













I don't think it's any secret that my nick-name Sproffee comes from the combination of Sprite and Coffee. I even created a new Chinese name for myself that combines the first character from the Chinese word for Sprite (XueBi) with the last character that forms the Chinese name for Coffee (KaFei). XueFei. While I was not the creator of either the combined drink or the catchy name for it, I somehow ended up being pegged with the nickname that now even the President of Drew University and many of my Chinese friends call me by.

On a somewhat related and equally bizarre note, I saw a student making his own creation in the library today. I was making copies of a handout for class when I saw one of my 12th grade students pouring a packet of instant oatmeal into a mug. I didn't think anything of it until he opened a packet of instant coffee and dumped it into the same cup. Intrigued I asked him what the heck he was doing and if the combination tasted even somewhat good. His response was rational and made a lot of sense.

"It does taste good, because it tastes like coffee and coffee tastes good. But if you only drink coffee, it doesn't fill you up. This tastes good and afterwards I feel full."

Points to you, Sir. I am actually considering making this myself sometime. Right now the most creative I get is adding a scoop of hot chocolate mix to my coffee in the morning to make a poor man's mocha.

Hooray for culinary adventures?


Saturday, 12 December 2009

Clever girl...

In class we are discussing descriptive writing. I showed my students a picture of my parents cabin and had them describe it. After getting them to say all the usual things (height, color, shape, etc), I tried to get them to think beyond the norm and describe the picture using feelings, similes and imagination. I prompted them with questions like "If you were at this house, what do you think you would hear?"

This happened in class D.

Me: If you were standing here and looking forward, what do you think you would see?

Angela (student): *looks at the picture, then looks at me* A camera.

I nearly tripped I was laughing so hard.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Being Productive

The past few days have been pretty productive.

This picture is from Monday night. It was June's birthday so we went out and had Indian food for dinner. On the left is XuPing (or Shopping), Lotus with her adorable hyperactive son Jason, Me, birthday girl June, Ula and Ned (who looks worried for some reason...)

Yesterday I finally gave up trying to fix my internet for myself (or waiting for divine intervention) and reported that it wasn't working to the school. Good thing. Turns out the problem wasn't my computer or my modem but something with the cable lines. They reset them and now I have internet in my apartment again!

Since I was already talking to the school about repairs I finally decided the light in my bathroom was calling it quits. (It was taking about about 2 minutes to turn on...if ever. Showering in the dark is rather weird). The repair man replaced it and now I can see my teeth when I brush! Whoo!

Lastly and most importantly, I finally got off my lazy butt and went to sign up for Chinese lessons. I had used about ever excuse ever. It's raining, I have dinner plans, I'm tired, there is a school meeting, I have a wine tasting, I gotta do lesson plans....etc. Stephanie and Becky told me where it was and I had a little interview with one of the organizers. She quizzed me in Chinese to see what my level was (Sample question: How do Chinese people celebrate the mid-autumn festival?) I asked if there was a class I could join but it turns out there is really only one other person at the school at my level and he won't be back for more lessons until after Chinese new year. Since I want to brush up my skills before mi madre comes to visit, I signed up for private lessons for the next month. It was pretty pricey, but Becky says it's a good school, it's convenient (literally just down the street) and part of my thinking is that I'll want to work extra hard so it will be worth the price. Wish me luck

I forget if I mentioned in my blog already or not, but Kelly and I are going to Sanya for Christmas break. We already got our plane tickets and are going to reserve our hostel tonight. Sanya is on Hainan island and is supposed to be the Hawaii of China. I am looking forward to a little warmth!

The only thing stopping me from being super productive lately is It's addicting and I need to stop reading it.

That's all for now.

Much love,

Tuesday, 1 December 2009


I have been very busy at work and the internet hasn't worked in my apartment for about a week...that makes it incredible hard to post.

So let me give you all a quick update on the last week or so.

-My bike got stolen. I am thoroughly crushed. Friday night I had dinner with Lotus and then went shopping. By the time I went outside it was gone. I had it locked and right by the entrance like I always do. This means someone either cut through my lock or picked it up and walked away. Either way, no one stopped them and I am SOL with no bike. RIP The Lime.

-I lost my favorite hat. In a continuing streak of bad luck, I left my favorite hat (my grey irish cap/newspaper hat) in a cab on Saturday night. I loved that hat and it had a lot of good memories.

-Not all in the world is sad. Friday night I got a comforter after being freezing cold all last winter. It is super warm and comfy and was pretty cheap.

-Saturday was a surprise party for Chris, that Becky organized in an Irish pub. It was a lot of fun.  I got myself, the other Stephanie, Ned and Michelle to all chip in to get him an acoustic guitar (I've been giving him lessons). On Saturday Michelle and I went to jingling lu and got the guitar, an electric tuner, a new set of strings, a bunch of picks, a soft case and a capo all for the price we wanted. Chris seemed to really like it.

-I went to an Improv lab last week and they really liked me. I might be asked to join the performing group and the woman running the lab asked me if I would be interesting in running a lab myself in the future. I wish I could find something medieval here to do in Shanghai, but it was really nice to find my second favorite activity from college: improv!

-I have been baking like crazy. My new routine is to wash my dishes Sunday night while baking something, and then bringing whatever it is in for my coworkers on Monday. I've made three kinds of cookies, blueberry muffins and chocolate cupcakes so far. Yum!

-Last night I played Christmas music and decorated my apartment. My tree looks very jolly.

I suppose that's about it for now.

Much love,