Connecting Mandarin and English,
(September 11, 2008) (return
Teacher Day in China. On the way to class at 7:45 this morning, there were
students on the walkway giving out flowers to instructors and saying "Happy
Teachers Day." Moments later as Gail entered her classroom they shouted
"Happy Teachers Day," and the same was written on the blackboard.
When we arrived at our afternoon class, Gail was invited into my classroom
from her class across the hall and we were presented with a potted plant.
During my second afternoon class, a gift bag appeared on my desk during
the between-classes confusion. Later I acknowledged the package; they told
me it was actually for Moon Day which is this coming Sunday. That brought
the count of moon cakes given to us up to about 23 so far. We will share!
In the evening we opened ourselves to another
adventure; we invited students to join us by the lake in front of our apartment
to engage in informal English discussions. Six showed up and more seem to
recongnize us and acknowledge us as they walked up. Oh, yes, there are plenty
of students walking by any point on campus at almost any time of the day.
Many discussions led to how to register at a college in America. Some appear
very determined, others seem to think that a trip to an American university
would be a great novelty. We will try to meet by the lake several evenings
a week, which may supplement what we've heard is the English Corner that
does about the same thing on Thursday evenings. Maybe we will try that this
of our relevations is that Victor lives in a dorm room with nine other students.
Candy lives in the same building as we do and lives in a unit with the same
floor plan as our apartment but with no kitchen, and 15 girls live there.
Most apartments have only one international instructor because they come
as singles. Try to picture the crowded conditions.
Hongying, a young lady who works here on campus,
has visited with us about attending school in America to earn a Masters,
so she can teach English or Chinese at a university either in China or in
America. If you know of an appropriate university, you may let us know.
Haha! She will serve as our interpreter during our trip to Guilin to practice
her English in preparation to pass her English exams, such as TOEFL. I hope
it works; she would be a great student.
A note about Chinese
Moon Day or Mid-Autumn Festival:
Moon Day is an important
family holiday in China as families gather during the full moon
around the first of autumn. It is also called Mid-Autumn Festival.
Besides sharing a big meal with the extended family, they eat moon
cakes and look at the moon knowing that the family members not present
are also looking at the same moon. It may seem ridiculous to think
that Oregonians and Chinese can see the same moon at the same time.
However, if there are clear skies, about 9:00PM in China on Sunday
evening, it will be about 6:00AM in Oregon, and if the Oregonians
look to the setting moon in the west and the Chinese look to the
rising moon in the east, they will be seeing the same moon at the
same time. As the moon rises that evening, we will be thinking about
you in Oregon and other parts of the world. - - No classes on Monday.
With the long weekend coming up we're prepping
for a trip to Hangzhou near Shanghai. We've heard it's the most beautiful
city in China. Last evening a student named Summer said that her city was
the second most beautiful: Suzhou, not far from Hangzhou.