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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas!!


I know it has been a while, sorry. Classes are busy and I have started my finals.

I survived Christmas in China! It was really hard, much harder than Thanksgiving. Luckily, I have some amazing people here who helped. Plus, I got to talk to all of my family. It made me miss them much less.

On Friday of Christmas (Christmas Eve Eve), there was a Christmas party for all of the Foreign Experts in Nanjing. The party was thrown by the government and was really nice. It was at a hotel downtown. We had entertainment- little kids of some of the teachers & students from the Arts College. There was a ton of food! The food was an interesting mix. They tried to have both Chinese & foreign food. It was pretty delicious. So I enjoyed it. It was a good night, we hung out with the other teachers from Jinling and two Korean professors from Nanjing University. After the party was over, we both got pandas as a door prize.

My Christmas Eve kind of stunk. My electricity ran out (again, after only 5 days!) I had stayed in Pukou Friday night, so I woke up freezing. I had to go downtown to meet up with Danielle for the weekend. After I showered and was getting ready, I found out there was a student for me to tutor at 2:30. I was running late because of the electricity thing and left the dorm around 12:45. I waited for almost 45 minutes (in the cold) for the bus! It was really busy, tons of students were going home to celebrate. (I don't really understand that. They don't celebrate Christmas, but all of my students talked about being with their family for it. It was confusing.) After I got on the bus, there was really bad traffic. It took another hour to get across the bridge. By then it was 2:30. I finally made it to school & met the student around 3. He is a little older than but hasn't practiced his English much. So I spent the time just figuring out what his level was. By the end of that, I was exhausted & hungry. Thankfully, Sherry took care of me and fed me! DK had more classes, but I was finally done for Christmas.

Since Christmas was a Sunday this year, we didn't have to work. We me Sherry in the morning for a movie. We saw The Flowers of War. It is a new movie about the Nanjing Massacre. It was really good, but violent and bloody and sad. Maybe not the most Christmas-y movie. It was neat to see it in Nanjing, it added to it. One of the actresses (she played Mosquito) is a student at Jinling. After the movie we collected ourselves and went to Sherry's house to celebrate Christmas. Her whole family was there and they are so wonderful. They ordered Pizza Hut so we would feel like we were at home. As always, there was a ton of food. We had pizza, cheesy bread, wings, waffle fries, bacon wrapped tomatoes, meat on a stick, and soup. Plus, Sherry's mom made some Chinese dishes. We had melon & pork, potatoes, radishes, and duck. Plus we had tea & Tsingtao. It was all very delicious. They spoiled us so much!

After our amazing dinner, it was present time. Sherry bought us stockings full of chocolate & candies. We gave Sherry her gifts from home & she loved them. Finally, it was time for Sissi to open presents! Sissi is absolutely adorable, so we were very excited to spoil her! We had her presents sent from home & she loved them. We bought her a coat, a dress, pajamas, markers, silly putty, Old Maid, and candy. She loved the clothes, they were pink- her favorite color! She put on the coat & it fit her great. It is adorable! She was totally intrigued by the silly putty. She loved playing with it!

After presents, DK helped Sissi & Sissi's boyfriend, Ton Ton, make cookie-dough balls. She had done this with her younger students and they loved it. The balls were really easy & they didn't have any eggs, so they were totally safe. It was a big hit!

Once I got home on Christmas, I set up our presents and trees for DK & I to celebrate. We both talked to our parents on Skype & opened our presents. It was nice to still be able to share the holiday with them! We both were quite spoiled & got tons of awesome gifts!

I got to talk to the Lyon family during Lyon Christmas night. I love being able to see my cousins & Grandma! Technology is so impressive. Today I talked to the Buckley side. Again, I love being able to see everyone. It makes the distance so much less!! I am sad to have missed my family celebrations, but it makes for great memories. I can't wait until I can tell my children or grandchildren about when I spent Christmas in China!

There are new pictures up on our photo page! Go check them out!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

Tonight was the Christmas party for English Corner. English Corner is the English club & I go sometimes to talk and hang out with the other American teachers.

It was pretty great. The two guys cut down a part of a tree and brought it in for the Christmas Tree. Students decorated it and at the end they wrote their Christmas wishes and put them on the tree. We sang Christmas carols & watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

I took a few pictures. I put them on my photo website here. This is the one with the other American teachers (Sam, Xiaodi, Me, DK).


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Clothing

Mom has been asking for a post about Chinese clothing, and I am finally giving in. The clothing here is hard to describe, but it definitely interesting. Most students dress pretty normal. Their outfits just seem a little odd each time.

A lot of students here dress like "hipsters" in America. However, in China, it is not being done ironically. I believe they actually like the clothes. There is a lot of plaid, on boys & girls, whether it matches or not. Big, thick rimmed, glassless, glasses are really popular too. Most people in China have real glasses (they genetically have poor eyesight as a people). So the ones who don't actually need glasses must have felt left out. To make up for it, they are wearing terrible, huge glasses that were only cool on nerds in the 80s.

The brands here are pretty similar to those at home. The only brand that has really stuck out to me as odd is Teenie Weenie Bear. The clothes are really preppy, polos & such, with a huge teddy bear embellishment. This brand sees themselves like Brooks Brothers. They are quite expensive ($100 for a shirt) and extremely popular. EVERYONE wears it. If I saw this at home, I would assume it was a children's brand. But no, my college students come to class decked out in T.W. Bear all the time. He is on coats, pants, shirts, gloves, everything. There are even knock offs of him available for those who don't want to spend the money on the real deal!

DK said, and is totally right, that you can sum up China's fashion in four words: "fur, glitter, rhinestones, and fringe." There are plenty of pieces that I think are cute, until I see the back or see the bottom. Then there are crazy rhinestone hearts on the heel of the shoe or startling pink glitter fringe on the cuff of the red coat.

In Chinese, red & pink are very similar words. As a result, people think they are basically the same color & wear them together all the time. As anyone who knows me knows, I HATE red & pink together. I think it is totally atrocious. Yet, my eyes are assaulted by this daily.

Also, in China it seems to be "cute" for boyfriends and girlfriends to wear matching outfits. It's a bit odd, kind of like Britney & Justin in 2001. Except, often the outfits outright match, not just coordinate. It's like they are on a team or something… Strange, but it makes it easy to tell who is dating.

One other thing- China is not afraid to mix patterns. They are fully content to wear stripes with bigger stripes under a plaid jacket. Multiple floral patterns are fine together. Mixing red plaid with big green plaid is totally acceptable.

Until I get a better collection of pictures, here are two sites that I think depict Chinese fashion perfectly! accidentalchinesehipsters.tumblr.com and http://chinesepeoplehavenostyle.com/

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Last Week's Update!


It has been a while since I updated, sorry. I did add new pictures from my daily life to my photo site. So hopefully those will keep people entertained a bit.

Nothing too exciting has happened since Thanksgiving. On the Sunday of Thanksgiving, we went to dinner with Sherry & her family. They took us out for Beijing Duck. It was wonderful! Just like a real Thanksgiving, there was way too much food and DK & I both came home stuffed. We didn't even want to think about eating again for about a day! It was delicious and a great substitute for a real Thanksgiving Dinner.

Last week was pretty low key. We stayed downtown all weekend, we have a dorm at Nanjing University now. On Monday I had Kindergarten, like always. Sissi, Sherry's daughter, was there. She is adorable! She is 4 years old & easily my favorite Chinese kid! On Tuesday I stayed home while DK went downtown to meet a friend. I had some really bad nosebleeds (fun, I know) so I just had a lazy sick day. 

Classes went well last week. In our conversation classes we played Jeopardy. The students on Wednesday LOVED it! They thought it was so cool & fun. They are naturally very competitive and enjoyed all of the trivia. Some of it was surprisingly difficult for them, but they were good sports. My Thursday class didn't know many of the answers, but they still had fun. 

Next week, week of the 12th, is the last week of normal conversation classes. Then we have two weeks of finals. That class finishes early because it is not a major-related course. This allows the students to focus on the "important" classes during regular finals.

In Marketing we talked about Social Media last week. It was interesting, especially comparing Chinese & American sites & platforms. That was my last lesson for marketing. Now they have 3 weeks of group presentations. Then we review for a week & then have the final! I can't believe the semester is almost over!

The weekend was normal, DK taught a lot & I had time off. Since my adult class finished, I do not have any classes on the weekend. Next semester I will probably pick up some tutoring. But for now, I enjoy the downtime. I can finally get caught up with grading my students' papers.

The weather is pretty blah here. It has been raining on & off for the last week. It's also gotten a lot colder, about 40-50. Wednesday of last week it even snowed! The snow didn't stick at all, the ground is too warm. But all of the students were really excited. Maybe that is why only half of our conversation students showed up last week!

New photos

I added some new pictures to our photo site! Check them out here- Life in Nanjing & Chinglish!

Real post will follow tomorrow, I pinky-promise!