Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Last Thursday was Breanna's 13th birthday so we celebrated it with her on Friday evening. Rena is like supermom and decked out their apartment in Sponge Bob stuff (Breanna's favorite show). It was awesome. The place was decorated like Bikini Bottom, and Rena made a special dinner with menu items like "Crabby Patties" (small hamburgers), "Sandy's nuts" (peanuts), pizza and jello jigglers (I can't remember the clever names for the latter two). I went over to their house Friday afternoon to help decorate, and everyone else came over after five thirty-ish. I don't know the final count, but most of the Americans came and several Chinese students as well. We played several games, and Rena gave out buckets of prizes. It was one of the coolest birthday parties I've ever seen.


On Friday and Saturday, students from our school participated in a school-wide sports meet that is held once a year. Opening ceremonies began Friday morning pretty early, but I pulled myself out of bed to attend them. They had a few performances including a spectacular one showcasing the long dragons that are carried by several people holding them up with sticks. I can't explain them well, but before I came, I always saw these dragons used in any kind of celebration. It was pretty neat to finally see them personally. The boys showed up a little later, and we sat with the English Department. Each department had it's own section in the bleachers surrounding the track and field.

The races were pretty typical of a track and field competition: 100 m, 200 m, 400 m, 5 k (3 k for girls), triple jump, polevault, etc. A few of our students participated so it was fun to cheer for them. The whole atmosphere was totally different than competitions in the States. It seemed so unorganized. There were a lot of people everywhere, and spectators would stand on the track to get a better view of the people running so there were workers whose job it was to specifically push people back behind the lines and off the track. While the students were running, people from different departments would give words of encouragement over the loud speaker. Some of our English students wanted our help in writing these statements, and Derek told them to say, "Go big or go home!" which they did. Then we were called up to the announcement box to read a statement over the loud speaker. Of course, Derek was the one who took the microphone. He read the statement that was provided him, and then he asked if he could say one more thing. They gave him the microphone back, and he yelled, "Let's get ready to rumble!!" in the loudest voice possible, and the stands erupted in clapping. It was pretty funny. Anyway, the person who heads up the radio club enjoyed all this so much that they have decided to have an "English corner" on the radio once a week with us as guests when we have the time. I'm not sure if it will pan out, but it could be interesting.

Saturday I went back to the meet and hung out with Zoe and her friends through lunch time. They had some different competitions on Saturday: a race where two people must carry a lot of soccer balls one at a time from one place to another using only their backs and a race similar to the three-legged race only with 20 people instead of two. Also, on Saturday the teachers participated in the races. We were invited to participate the day of the races, but none of us are in the shape we need to be in in order to compete so we declined. Maybe next time...


Saturday afternoon Courtny and Jeremy came over. The three of us and the boys went to the gym to play badminton - a first here for me. It's so much fun! There's a guy who runs the gym who is pretty much the gym nazi. He gets angry easily, and you don't want to get on his bad side. I don't think he was too happy about Jeremy and Courtny playing with us - a fact we found out the next day - because, apparently, the gym is only for teachers and students of our school.


Saturday night many of us met in Cindy's apartment for a ladies' get together. It was encouraging and uplifting. We have some wonderful ladies here! Afterwards, we went up to Brian's apartment, and I taught some of our Chinese friends how to play Nertz. It was fun but didn't last long because many of our friends had to head back home.

Alice, a friend from the medical school, and Courtny stayed the night with me. It's nice having friends stay over. In the morning, I made muffins, the boys came up, and we all enjoyed muffins and coffee for breakfast.

After our meeting and lunch at Happy Guy's, we went back to the gym to play badminton. Keri, a super quiet girl who we only see once a week, came with us to play. She's a fantastic badminton player and put us all to shame! The gym nazi seemed kind of upset with us because we didn't bring our teacher cards that prove we are teachers, which is something we didn't know we were supposed to do, but Keri is friends with him so she smoothed things over.

Later in the afternoon we made brownies and watched Joe vs. the Volcano which Brian had found randomly mixed in among the DVDs at one of the DVD stores. It's pretty much the worst/best movie ever!


Two of the crazy freshmen girls, Christina and Abbi, and two of their friends, Dustin and I forget the other one's name, came over Sunday night to play games. We tried teaching them Nertz, but Christina was pretty vocal about not liking it so after awhile, we switched to UNO - a game which never fails to please those who play it. At some point during the evening, Dustin suggested that Christina sing for us. Once one person suggests a performance, there is NO getting out of it so Christina and Dustin sang a love song duet. Then they told Derek it was his turn to sing and that he must choose a partner. Having said that, they pointed to me! We decided to sing Father, I Adore You in rounds with Derek and Brian leading and Alice, Courtny and I following. The freshmen loved it, and Christina said, "Perhaps next time I see my father I can sing it to him." (:


Tuesday evening three of my students came over (Sean and Maya from one class and Sophia from another) to watch a movie, The Legend of 1900. I had never heard of the film, but I was browsing in a DVD store with Sophia a couple weeks back, and she got really emotional about the film promising me that I would cry when I watched it. She almost started crying right there in the store just from thinking about it! So I thought I couldn't pass this tear jerker of a film up, bought it, and invited Sophia and the others over to watch it. Unfortunately, a fourth of the way through it, the DVD stopped playing. We couldn't figure out what was wrong with it so we eventually gave up and put in Monsters, Inc. per Brian's suggestion, I might add. I think Maya was the only one who enjoyed it. Sophia and her two roommates, Sammi and Nancy, left early, and Sean fell asleep!


Today Brian, Grease, Zoe and I attempted to play badminton at two different times, but both times the courts were unavailable. So tonight Zoe asked if she could come over to learn some words. I thought, of course, she meant English words because she has a pretty big English exam coming up in December she needs to study for, but when she and Grease came into my apartment, Zoe asked if I could teach her Spanish. So for about an hour we went over some basics while I appreciated the irony of teaching a Chinese person Spanish in China using English!

1 comment:

nertzfan said...

Hi, I found your blog post through a search for "Nertz". It is cool to see others that know about the game. I hope you don't mind but I wanted to let you know about, the site for the National Nertz Association. There is a bunch of interesting Nertz information there and you can also find out how to play Nertz online there. I hope you will check it out. Feel free to join and also let your friends and family know. Thanks