Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,
This blogs for you Fran. It is her first birthday away. It is our first birthday without her. Your family and mine miss you very much. As do all of the friends that you left so far behind. Christmas was hard and then came New Year which was difficult. NOW ITS YOUR BIRTHDAY......HAPPY BIRTHDAY NIELSEN XOXOXOX
So I turn up to class this morning and I’m asked why I am there.
Um, because I am the teacher. Oh no Primary School has exams today. Oh, um, ok I will just go home then shall I. I was told we begin Winter Break next week but today after my Grade 7 class in the afternoon I was walking back to my apartment and I happen to notice a billion cars and the school bus along with a billion students with their belongings all scampering around the play ground.
So I find an English Teacher and ask what is happening as we have classes until Sunday. Oh no, winter holidays begin tomorrow. Oh, um, ok I'll just go home then shall I.
Christmas Eve was spent with Wangjuxiang and The Gang of Sisters in a beautiful Dragon Hot Pot restaurant clicking our chopsticks over much beer, Waxberry Wine and a wonderful joyous time. We then headed to the Town Square for a beautiful dance show and after our goodbyes I met up with a riding buddy and we headed to a bar to meet up with some of his friends which ended up being more like a fashion show for young twenty something females which was rather easy on the eye and the Christmas candy was never finer, but the music was horrible and the bar was asking one hundred and fifty Yuan for not only horrible music but as a gift you also got a total of four small bottles of beer for your money.
Needless to say, not my idea of a good night out so I left early, rang a friend and on the way home we met at the local BBQ Street and celebrated Christmas over more beer and BBQ.
As for New Years Eve, everyone was working so I grabbed a few beers and sat home with my heater watching Zombie films chatting to friends on QQ until some ungodly hour in the morning. I do remember six o’clock passing by and by then the QQ Music Party was still in full swing (QQ is Chinese Skype/Chat). What is a QQ Music Party? Everyone takes it in turns to choose a song that all must have on their computer or MP3 and after hitting play everyone then offers some personal details about the song and their lives in the year that it was released eg: who your girlfriend was, what job you were doing, where you were living, where you travelled, another memory triggered from that song etc.
All in all I must say that the 2013 Silly Season for me; Was pretty much the most Non-Silly Season I’ve ever experienced.
<u>My Student Yu Xiao</u>
The Grade 5 student in the picture with me dressed in a pink jacket, no she is in the pink jacket dummy, is Yu Xiao, or switch the word order, change the tones and she becomes Little Fish (Xiao Yu). She is my break through for this term. Extremely shy even amongst her peers and also extremely intelligent. She didn't speak a word to me let alone anyone in class for well over a year. She would always look away when I came near but would also always be first to put up her hand but then she’d quickly put it down and put her head down.
Outside of class she'd slowly make her way to me like she had something to say but before she could say it she’d lose confidence and race away.
About two months ago, finally she walked directly up to me and said 'Teacher my name is Yu Xiao’ and just as she was about to race away I said 'Hello Little Fish'. From that moment instead of putting her hand up in class she now quickly stands and 'speaks'. She is still full of fluster and sometimes it takes time for her words to come out but none of her class mates make fun of her or even offer the slightest of giggles.
If they did they know they would be in my bad books. Honestly, most times she is like a fish out of water due to her rapid breathing.
Sometimes I think she will pass out before actually answering the question but with a little help she now manages to finish. Some lunch times, it may take her five or so minutes of walking around with her lunch bowl in her hand but she now manages to ’sometimes’ sit with me and ask questions.
Today before she got into her parents car she raced over and said; Happy Spring Festival Teacher! Then she raced away.
It’s so totally awesome what time and trust can do for such a timid, unconfident and shy student. I also believe that just prior to her stepping out of her shell and telling me her name, when questioned by her class about next term, the fact that I told them that I would be staying in Dexing helped her place one foot out of her shell and then take those, what must have been extremely difficult steps that led her to introduce herself after well over a year of being her teacher.
Happy Spring Festival Little Fish!
<u>LA BA FESTIVAL</u>
Today marks the traditional Laba Festival here in China which has now been celebrated for well over one thousand five hundred years. Laba means the eighth day of the twelfth month of the lunar calendar. It is customary to eat Laba Porridge which is a combination of rice, melons, fruits, beans, nuts and dates. The festival is linked to both the new harvest and Buddhism where Buddhist temples hand out Congee to the public.
<u>The Rest Of The Photos In This Entry</u>
Most are from random multi-hour daily walks from my school and around the center of town and its street stalls along with several eighty kilometer rides over the Silly Season. The photo of the girl in black with the ear muffs on (Mandy) and the girl with the big toothy smile (Hulk) (with the girl in glasses behind her), well you don't want to go messing with her as she'd rip you to pieces and that’s before she got any of her Kungfu weapons out. Obviously she’s the head of the class and my classroom Hulk. When the class becomes a little too loud all I need to say is HULK, SMASH. She then only needs to move slightly in the general direction of the noise and silence fills the air and worried looks appear everywhere.
Both are my favourite Grade 7 students from what has become my most favourite class ever (Grade 7, Class 1) and from what I’ve been reading about drunken misbehavior back home over the Silly Season, I’m sure if I let both of them lose on the streets of Melbourne, together they’d Kungfu their way around and have it cleaned up in no time.
The 'Little Santas’ were on the streets on both Christmas Eve and Christmas night selling ‘Christmas Spray’ to raise money for children and families from poor villages that surround Dexinig Town in hope that they could help them celebrate some sort of Christmas. From the amount of people covered in ‘spray’ up and down Shopping Street, I am pretty sure they helped a number of villages with their efforts. The same goes for the dance in the town square, all donations went to the same cause, the poor villages surrounding Dexing to help provide heating and food during the Christmas and New Year period.
Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________
The soundtrack to this entry was by Groove Armada The album was ‘Love Box & Goodbye Country’ ____________________________________________________________