Hopefully over the next two years I'll be sharing some amazing stories and photos, from what I know is going to be a life-changing experience.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Week In

It's hard to believe I've been here for a whole week already.  At the same time, I've done so much that it feels much longer than a week.  I finally have my own apartment, and have moved everything in.  I still have things to buy, but have the basics to survive for a few weeks.  The first thing I'm buying when I get paid in 2 weeks is a mattress.  My bed is a board.  So I shall be sleeping on my couch.  It wasn't too bad last night...definitely better than the 'bed'.  The only other issue I've run into is the shower not draining very well.  I'm going to try taking the insert out of the drain so the water can drain faster - but since this can only be done on one of the two drains I'm not completely convinced this will solve the problem.  I may end up asking (or, well having one of the Chinese staff from the school to ask) my landlords to do something.  I went shopping for the first time yesterday, on my own no less.  I did 2 trips to walmart, plus went into Parkson's to check it out.  WalMart was super busy.  A lot of things were labelled in both Chinese and English, which was helpful.

Can you get headless fish at YOUR WalMart?

Building across from WalMart

The week at school was great except for the building being freezing.  Like significantly colder than outside kind of freezing.  The government is supposed to turn on the heat throughout the country next week.  Each classroom does have a heater in addition to the radiators, however, between the lights, computers, and kitchen, turning all of the heaters on causes the power to go out.  We've set up a schedule so that only a third of the rooms have their heaters on at any given time..it works for some rooms.  The staff is great...it's amazing to be with an entire group of people who want to be there, and want to be teaching.  Everyone are friends, and there's no social hierarchy outside of school (to become very apparent on Saturday), and very little in school.
I'm starting to learn students names...I've got down the ones I see on a regular basis, but there are still a lot more students who know my name.  I've worked with students K-6 so far, and I'm pretty sure next week I'll be seeing much more of the seniors (7-9).  There are definitely some characters around (as in any school) and one of the funniest things I heard this week was a student in grade 1 from Romania tell me that he knows my grandma, when I told him that that's where she's from.  When I said that she lives in Canada, he said that he's met her when she goes to visit.  When I told him that she's been in Canada for over 50 years, he conceded that he only might know her.
Friday was Halloween at school, and everyone looked great.  In the afternoon the seniors ran a rotation of 4 activities - a candy maze, haunted house, scary story, and outdoor game.  I have no idea what the game was supposed to be as I only saw the grade 1's play...as far I could tell, it involved all of the kids throwing balls at 2 seniors.  No idea what the purpose was!  Thanks to Kim who loaned me her Queen of Hearts costume from last year...saved me a lot of time, and was hilarious when some of the kids recognized that I was wearing her dress!
Photos from the school wiki
Saturday evening provided endless entertainment, starting with Dave having the owner of the hair salon open his beer while we waited for Ann to get her hair curled.  After we drank wine at Starbucks (we brought the wine and the cups) while we waited for another teacher and the taxi . The guy sitting inside was looking out the window and laughing at us (we were also worth looking at given we were in costume).  We went into Kai Fa Chu, where we met up with other staff members to celebrate Kim's birthday at a Korean restaurant.  Again, all in costume.  The food was good, and the staff didn't stare at us too much, given the amount of alcohol we bought.  We then made our way to the Caribbean Bar, for the Maple Leaf staff Halloween party (most of the teachers from this area are high school teachers, as there are 5(?) high schools but the one elementary.  There were some great costumes, and I finally got to see the ocean! (even if it was dark out)  On the way back we had the taxi driver drop us off at McDonald's before walking the two-ish blocks home.
Can't wait to see what the next week brings!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! It has already been one week away from Canada. I am glad you were able to break the ice with a traditional Halloween costume extravaganza for the teachers and the children :) It seems like you are enjoying yourself immensely and are fitting in quite well with the flexible work schedule. I am sure the teachers are quite happy to have another qualified individual to help out. I looked at the photos and the kids are adorable!
    --Allison Lyttle