The boys and I went to have foot rubs several days ago. For about five bucks you can get an hour and half long foot rub. Actually, they spend about an hour on your feet and legs, and then they move to your back. It was pretty fantastic though Derek, apparently, was not amused.
Thursday Derek and I decided to try this coffee place called "Sometimes Coffee". We've all experienced some withdrawals from our beloved beverage (though Brian brought some bags of Starbucks coffee with him which he shares periodically) so Derek and I thought we might check this place out. The atmosphere was pretty nice: low lighting, classical music, some tables and couches where you can just hang out, and an excessive number of employees ready to wait on us. It was pretty empty too - probably because it's SO expensive. But we ordered some coffee and sat back and relaxed. It was alright but nothing like I'm used to.
For dinner we were going to meet some folks at a place called "Come First to Wait First". We think they might have wanted to say "First Come First Served" but messed up on the translation. But the people we were going to meet couldn't come, so we stayed at the coffee place and ordered waffles which weren't that wonderful at all.
A FEW OF MY FAVORITE NAMES
The last two Thursdays I have met with new classes of non-English major sophomores. Since they are not majoring in English, I had to give most of them English names. I used this opportunity to name my students (or kids, as my mom calls them) after some of the people I know and love. So the following family members and friends now have name-sakes in China: (If you are not on the list, it is not because I did not try. Some students refused the beautiful English names for names like "Black", "Stone", "Sky", etc.)
Joseph (and Joe)
Ashley (for a boy!)
Ross (score two for Olan!)
Robert (and two for Dad!)
Morgan (for a girl this time!)
If your name wasn't on the list, don't worry; there's always next semester!
Last Thursday night I met with a new class. One of my students would not choose an English name so I finally gave one to him. He said he didn't like it, and I said he would have to use it for this class, but he could change it next time we meet. He just repeated that he didn't like it and he didn't want it. Then I had each student introduce himself/herself - his/her name and where he/she is from. This particular student stood up and said, "I am from China. I love my country. I hate my English name. I hate English. I only study it to pass the exam. I hate America," and then he sat down. I was pretty much thrown off because no one else here has even hinted at having such sentiments. I think he will be a difficult student, but we only meet seven times this semester, and it's only every other week.
LADIES' GET TOGETHER
Friday night a few ladies met at my apartment for study and discussion. It is always good to have a woman's perspective on things, and I think we all enjoyed ourselves. During our meeting, two guys from the medical school knocked on my door. Jackie and Frank had brought two bouquets of roses and lillies for Cindy and me. They were beautiful, and I'm not sure why they brought them - maybe to win brownie points (which they certainly did!) - but we appreciated them very much.
Afterwards, Brianna spent the night with me. We had fun and stayed up late, which is quickly becoming a habit of mine.
SATURDAY BIRTHDAY EXTRAVAGANZA
Saturday morning I met with Joyce again to teach her daughter and a few other kids English. They can already speak some so we worked on asking and answering questions. I am not being paid for this because I don't think it's the best idea. Besides, I don't care to be paid for it. But Joyce and one of the other mothers showered me with gifts, nonetheless. Joyce gave me a bracelet she bought in Beijing which is supposed to bring me good luck, and the other mother gave me a Mah Jong set after I mentioned wanting to learn to play it. They also gave me a moon cake which is a popular pastry here. It is simply a small round pastry filled with different things like fruit or sesame or any number of odd things.
The week before last one of our friends, Zoe, celebrated a birthday, but because she was busy with exams, we could not celebrate with her. So this Saturday we threw her a birthday party. We bought a really delicious cake and made brownies and cookies. There were about 14 of us, and we played Charades and Pin the Tail on the Donkey (well, it's supposed to be a donkey, but seeing as I lack any artistic talent, it looks rather pathetic). There is a certain innocence here that makes playing simple games exciting, and everyone really enjoyed themselves.
At the end of the night, the boys shot off fireworks. The fireworks had been left with us by previous teachers, and here everyone celebrates anything by shooting of firecrackers. In fact, some mornings I wake up to the sound of firecrackers going off nearby. But these fireworks did not make any noise - just a lot of light and even more smoke. At first the boys lit them while they were on the ground, but then they got daring; they lit them in their hands and threw them in the air. Brian nearly burned his hand off, though, because when he tried to release the firework, it stuck to his hand, and he ended up throwing the firework directly behind him where we were all standing! No one got hurt, thankfully!
Sunday morning went well. For lunch we ate at Happy Guy's where Janice began teaching Derek how to write some of the foods we commonly order in Chinese characters. Derek wants to learn to write the orders down (instead of just telling them what we want like we normally do) to impress everyone with his mad character writing skills.
After lunch Jackie and Frank showed up, and we all went to play basketball. Frank is pretty tall for a Chinese guy, and our team pretty well dominated the court until we got tired. But it was a lot of fun.
Sunday evening a couple of my students, Ben and Clover, and two of their friends took Derek, Brian, and me out to dinner. We ate at a hot pot place very near our school. Whenever I would eat anything, Clover would tell me how it was good for my health. Apparently, tomatoes are good for your skin, fish eyes are good for your eyes (I didn't eat the fish eyes!), and green tea will help you lose weight. I hope she wasn't trying to tell me anything!