Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Goodbye China :(

This will be my last post in China. I am SOOOO sad to leave! Its seriously heart wrenching. We had to say goodbye to our kids today, and it was the hardest thing I have ever done. I am so sad I'll never see these kids again. They just squeezed their way into my heart and pushed everything else out. All 38 of them have a special place, and I am so sad.
When we said our goodbyes, we all just broke down sobbing. At first some of the kids didn't understand, and they would just run around laughing and saying "Teacher sad!" but after the Chinese teachers explained that we were leaving for good, they were all upset. We were attacked by hugs and kisses and little kid tears. At one point I was sprawled out on the ground with at least eight kids on top of me giving hugs. It was super cute, but it made it so hard to leave. I never wanted to get up. It was especially hard seeing the other children crying. One of the Chinese teachers, Katie, told us that Bella's mom called her to ask when we were leaving, because Bella was at home sobbing about her English teachers going back to America. It broke our hearts even more to hear that. We seriously love these kids so much. They already feel like a dream, and I hope I can remember everything about them; their cute little quirks, and their giggles, and the funny things they do and say. I wish everyone of you could know these kids like I know them. It is probably annoying hearing me go on and on about little kids you don't know, but just trust me that these little ones are amazing.
Well, we head out tomorrow night on a super long journey home, full of huge luggage and lots of tears. But I know that I have tons of great family and friends waiting for me on the other end, as well as a steaming Little Caesar's pepperoni pizza with crazy crust and a two liter jug of Dr. Pepper. Pizza makes everything feel better haha.
Picture 1: Me and my precious Luna!
Picture 2: Cute Bella. (named after Bellatrix Lestrange, of course, but she is nothing like her at all. Such an inappropriate name.)


Spectacle, our kids Christmas Program, was on Friday. They did so good after all that practicing they had to do! It was fun seeing them get all dressed up and to have their parents all come!
Before the show started, we went down early to help get the kids ready. We didn't know what this entailed when we signed up, and we had quite the shock when we got down to our classrooms. There were at least 30 Chinese girls there, doing all the kids hair and make up. And I mean ALL the kids. The poor boys, who already are doomed to look girly for the rest of their lives, were forced to put on TONS of makeup. Eye shadow, white foundation, blush, lipstick, glitter... the Whole sha-bang. Poor boys... But, I must admit that I was happy I had my camera there to capture this moment. Haha a lot of those boys weren't happy about wearing pink, shimmery lipstick, not happy one little bit. And now we have this one in a lifetime experience saved forever! But they all looked very pretty, haha.
Each class performed a skit in English, and then sang their Christmas song. All of the English teachers did a dance to "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," as well as a piano piece from Lindsay, a guitar/singing piece by Becca, Chelsey and me, and a song by Teresa. But the Chinese teachers saved the best for last when they had all the children perform. The older class did an adorable dance that melts your heart, and the younger class did a fashion show to some great Backstreet Boys music that makes you laugh until you cry. Some of the little kids' 'model walks' were the funniest thing you will ever see. No joke. Ask me to show you the video when I come home, cuz you'll get the biggest kick out of it. Gucci, Mandy , Emily and Yumi are so good at the walk that its unbelievable that they are only four. Haha its So Funny!
At the end of the show, the Chinese teachers surprised us and had all of the English teachers come up to the front. The Principal then gave us each a hug and a fan as a present. Then all the kids came in and put flower lei's around our necks. I was bawling by the end. Dang, I am going to miss these kids so much. It was a really tender moment, and I will always remember it. I love these little kids so much!!
Picture 1: Poor Anson in all his make up glory. Picture 2: Adorable, dainty Gucci all made up! Her name is really perfect for her in sooo many ways. Picture 3: Mass make up chaos. Those boys were not very happy about this make over.

Let It Snow!

You know how half way through December a lot of people are so sick of Christmas songs that they want to shoot every radio in sight? Well I have a story for you.
About a month and a half ago, the Chinese teachers told us that we needed to start teaching our classes a Christmas song for the big end-of-semester program we have. I decided to teach my kids one of my favorite songs, Let It Snow. I thought it was funny that we had to start in October, but we did as they said. So, instead of teaching our first and fifth class rotations, we had our home room class to sing the song with. My class is all 4-5 year olds, and it was CRAZY trying to get them to sing the same boring song for 40 minutes a day. 40 minutes! I even get bored with that! By December, my kids were SO BORED with the song. I felt so bad.
That's when the Chinese teachers came up to us and told us that our songs were not good enough. They said the kids don't know the words well enough. I thought they were crazy for saying that, because I thought my kids were doing great for learning a whole song in English when they barely know any words. But the Chinese teachers thought otherwise, and we had to come before and stay after class with the kids who were "struggling" with the words. Some of these kids were now singing the same song for over and hour a day. They were getting so restless. But, we got through the extra practices and I gave them all hugs and told them they were doing great.
That's when the Chinese teachers came up to us and told us that our songs were STILL not good enough. So, the last week of teaching our beloved students, they canceled classes! We were now practicing the songs for three hours a day! The kids' poor attention spans were seriously shot. At one point one of my girls, Yumi, actually started banging her head on the table in boredom. Haha it was actually really funny. But dang, they were cute singing all the songs.
I found it funny that the Chinese teachers were okay with cutting so many classes, when earlier in the year they were upset at us when we missed one day of teaching because we were stranded in Beijing, and they were making us make up that teaching day. And now here they are cutting two weeks worth of classes in the end. Weird, huh? At one point I asked our coordinator, Annie, that
"Isn't it more important to be teaching them English, then to be teaching them Christmas songs?"
And she got a shocked look on her face and replied with a sharp
"No! Our production is more important!"
I really don't see their logic at all... but there wasn't anything I could do, except try to entertain my kids as much as I could through the three hours of grueling Christmas song singing everyday. Sometimes I wondered to myself if these poor children would ever forgive me for inflicting this torture on them. So much Christmas music in such small children haha.
They ended up doing very well at their Christmas Program, and I think most of the kids have forgiven me, but more on that later. Here are some great pictures of the kids being bored out of their minds. Enjoy!!
Picture 1: Emily fell actually fell asleep singing the song. Poor girl. She is super cute when she sleeps, though, so I didn't wake her. Picture 2: Ron was showing me some of his pent up frustration. Haha.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving in China

Happy Thanksgiving from China!
We had a Thanksgiving dinner with some of the teachers, cooks and guards from our school on Thursday and we had a wonderful night! It was so much fun showing them some of our culture for a change. (They probably think Americans are obsessed with food haha) We were able to cook mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin cookies and pumpkin pie, and all of our Chinese guests seemed to really enjoy out American food. We sat and talked, ate good food, listened to a teacher's husband play the guitar while their adorable two year old sang along, and had a turkey piƱata. It was a blast! I am so thankful for these wonderful people and all of the new things I am learning from them! You'll never meet a nicer, more giving people. It was such a neat experience sharing Thanksgiving with them!
First: Me and my Thanksgiving feast! Delish!
Second: Me, Kati (one of the teachers here) and her son, Ryan, who is one of my students. He is super cute and smart!