Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya
Here I sit with a huge bowl of what has to be the world's most delicious and perfectly shaped cherry tomatoes. I get a bag full for around fifty Aussie cents and they come straight from the fields the same day and like most other fruits can be purchased on most street corners and are all chemical free.
Not a supermarket warehouse anywhere between your mouth and them. Oh sweet Sheezus, just one more bowl full please!
They are so good and I know you think you know how good they are but it is impossible because they are mine, mine, mine all mine but now they are finished and you will never ever know how good they were....tomorrow I will restock and begin again!
I am absolutely drained after a huge day riding. I had so much energy when I woke up this morning that instead of cleaning my apartment (which I should have done) I decided to put a couple of my rides together and do the cleaning when I got home....yeah right! Well it didn't work out that way as after such a long ride standing and walking are the last things on my mind tonight.
At the moment I am so hot!
I have two air conditioners in my apartment and none of them work and nor do I don't have a fan. So after such a huge ride the body temperature is at its peak for many hours after especially as today was thirty six degrees. So poor me is sitting here listening to everyone else's air conditioners buzzing away and at mid night I have no chance of sleeping for the next few hours.
Thankfully I have a couple of cold beers and am chatting to my buddy Star on MSN.
She is from Guangxi Province and not so long ago married her French Squeeze and now lives in Canada so we are chatting about the differences between both countries. I think I am winning because she pays two Canadian dollars to hire a movie for a week and I pay the same and get own up to fifty movies.
But then again I think she is the outright winner as she will soon be earning Canadian dollars and therefore will have money to travel the world and I will continue to earn Chinese Yuan which will allow me to continue to travel here in China and a couple of other nearby countries.
I guess I should get round to the blog and to what's been happening here in my dusty little northern Chinese mountain city. My big wizbang laptop decided to die on me a few weeks ago. The motherboard decided it was time for a long rest and I decided to call it more than a 'Muthaboard' the night it happened. I then decided to cut it some slack as for over three years it's been slaving away doing a million things at a time and has never skipped a beat until it took its last breath.
So while it was in hospital I decided to not only get a new motherboard but to also up the memory.
It took a week or so to get a HP motherboard to my town and it then took several days to find an English XP that actually worked after downloading it. In the end it all worked out and I can now look at my computer menus and they no longer resemble a Chinese food menu so I can now cut and paste without fear of somehow ordering home delivery!
I am running an XP that has somehow been jazzed up to look and act like VISTA!
Over the last month or so everything around me has been changing. Each time I head out into the hills on my bike it feels like I'm riding in a new area of China. The transformation from spring time into Summer time really has been an amazing experience. I have never lived in the north of China this time of the year so I am used a completely different reality. I am used to southern rice fields and up here it is all wheat so the colours are not so lush and vibrant.
The last month has actually been rather busy and I've spent a lot of it in Xian city with friends and Luo Wei. Terry who is one of my families longest and closest friends was in China for a few months with his wife (Eve) visiting her family. Eve and her family are from Xian and for my friends who have been reading my blog for many years you'd probably remember that when I was in China the first time nine years ago I stayed with her family for a week or so. I also caught up with Terry and Eve several years ago and we were to travel together for a week or more but when we reached Luoyang City a family tragedy occurred and they had to return to Xian.
In life though, some good things can come out of bad times.
Not long after I then met Luo Wei in Kaifeng city so I often wonder that if that one event didn't happen would Luo Wei and I have ever met. I can say that I had no plans on going to Kaifeng city as from memory from Luoyang City I think maybe we were to head north to Pingyao City. I still have no idea why I didn't continue to Pingyao city myself, I for some reason headed to Kaifeng city and on a busy main road saw Luo Wei on the other side.
Life huh, isn't it simply an amazing adventure full of doors and open and close. Each one has a different pathway for you to tread.
Unlike the last time we caught up this visit was full of happiness as not only did I get to see Terry and Eve but they got to meet Luo Wei in person. It was a very special feeling having someone so close to my family meet her. Of course I wish it was my mother and father but Terry has known me since I was born and over the past fourteen or so years Eve has become one of my mothers close friends and she has helped my mother understand my life here in China a lot more than if she wasn't a Chinese from China.
Did you get that last sentence? I hope so because I'm not going to rewrite it. Terry and Eve of course adored Luo Wei as she did them and my Peachy Squeeze has now become a little more real to my family back home in the Land Down Under!
On June, 1st China celebrated Children's Day which is always a wonderful day for everyone here that has anything to do with Primary School children. The children practice for weeks prior and on the day they dress up and sing and dance and have so much fun. I spent most of the morning with my favourite student who I named Lunar. She is obsessed with anything and everything related to the moon. I have no idea why but she just loves the moon. She tries so hard in class and is such a happy person and besides Luo Wei of course, Lunar and her fellow Grade 5 students are the reason I have decided to stay on here in Shangzhou next term.
My two Grade 5 classes would have to be the best two classes I've ever taught in China. They all try so hard and are so much fun but thankfully also know when to stop.
When you come across not only one class but two classes full of such students it makes it hard to leave them so I decided to stay a continue teaching them in Grade 6 which will begin in September. None of the above means that all my other classes are any different to my Grade 5's as they are all wonderful too. When I first began teaching here I really didn't want to teach Grade 1 & 2 but after teaching them for a year I am thinking that maybe when searching for my next school I will look for a school where I can teach only Grades 1 to 3. It takes a lot energy to teach them but they are so much fun and completely into everything you dish out to them.
Believe me though it does take a little time at the beginning to figure them out. You must also figure yourself out quickly as they are at the perfect age to teach English.
They have never been taught English by a Chinese English teacher therefore they follow your sounds perfectly. My Grade 1 & 2's English is so much better than my two Grade 6 classes who have been taught all the 'strange sounds' by their Chinese English teachers for years and no matter what I do it is too late to change them.
For example my Grade 1 & 2's (and 3's) will simply say DOG but my Grade 6's will say DOG AAAH. My Grade 1 & 2's will say Orange and my Grade 6's will say OrangeEEEE. But before you laugh and think bad of the Chinese English teachers remember that in the places I teach most Chinese English teachers have never met a foreigner and they have also been taught English by teachers who haven't either.
So when you look at the word 'orange' it does have an E on the end. Therefore it must sound as it is written and no one has ever told them it is wrong and that the E is silent.
Though my school and its teachers try so hard they are in one of China's least educated areas which is sadly also a very VERY poor area and this of course means that the Chinese English teachers will be the same. I try to never compare my current school to my last school in Fujian Province as the areas are as different as the English levels of the Chinese English teachers in both.
My current school and area can easily be compared to my tiny little dusty Tianyang town in rural Guangxi Province.
Where I was in Fujian Province is much richer than where I am now. The housing, the stores, the schools etc are all at different levels. In Fujian the school, a parent or a government official would take us out at least once a week, sometimes twice a week for a huge dinner at a beautiful restaurant but here there has only been two big dinners in the entire year I've been here.
The first was for Christmas and the second was two weeks ago.
Two weeks ago my boss Owen Buckland donated a brand new VW to my school and here in China this is an awesome occasion as it will then help lift the 'social status' of the school in the community. Prior to the new car, they putted around in something from yesteryear which here in China really did nothing for the status or image of the school and its leaders. Things are on the rise though, the Shaanxi Government also awarded them the title of 'The Primary School' in the Shanglou area. Hopefully my teaching played a small part in one or both of these events but I'm thinking that is just wishful thinking on my part.
What else has happened over the past month?
Oh a couple of HAPPY BIRTHDAYS are due in this very day and I hope my buddy Glenn and my Big Brother had a wonderful day with their families and friends. I'm thinking my brother will be working and maybe even on the weekend so he will celebrate his special day with a few cold beers and a night on YouTube or playing Guitar Hero on Wii. Glenn, well he will be working today but as for the weekend, I'm hoping he heads down to the Tote or another watering hole for a few too many beers and a heap of good Aussie Rock!
My buddy Heather returned to Xian and happily this time bringing her man Adam.
Adam is a soldier from England who spent time in the sandy deserts of Iraq. They met while he was traveling around China and now like me, he is back for an unspecified amount of time. Their future will take them where ever it may but if they ever need help finding a job for Adam then I will only too happy to help out. They are both so full of energy and hopes for a future together. I personally hope he lands a job teaching Primary School as he seems to have that same 'silliness' about him that I have and that should not be wasted.
I now have around ten days left of this term and school year I will then have two wonderful months off to pack about here and there. I am still unsure (as usual) where I will be found within those two months but I'm trying to narrow it down to two choices, either way west to Xinjiang Province or down to Hunan and Guizhou Provinces both of which are full of minority peoples, customs, food and colours.
Then again, Luo Wei and I may travel together. If so maybe I will allow her to choose the pathway we treat.
Well it is now three in the morning the worlds most Sexiest Santa (Fran from back home) has just come on line and she's had a huge night out clubbing on Australia's Gold Coast. We grew up together and shared a million happy times through our teens and twenties and I love and miss her to bits. I'm sure that if we were to put our heads together we could write the 'The Teenage Survival Guide'. It would be full of all the ups and downs that teenagers go through (well those that choose to really live their teenage years anyhow)....first love, break ups, too much beer, too many parties, musical lifestyles (ours was completely opposite) and then actually making to your twenties with friendship still intact.
The second volume would be called 'Smooth and Sexy Twenty Sumthins'.
It would read like a script to movies such as Singles or Reality Bites. I moved to the city and life became about beer, bars and music, but then again it always was. She remained in the little country town we both grew up in and managed to remain as crazy as ever and still is to this very day. Now though she has two happy Angels in her life and together the three of them help each other along the pathway of life.
Or maybe we could change the title to; 'Alternative Realities in the House behind the Funeral Parlour'.
Time for a bit of catching up. Beers N Noodles toya .....shane
PS: for those who want to know more about Children's Day continue reading. As usual all photos can be found at the bottom of the page...just scroll down mate.
The soundtrack to this entry is for my buddy Fran The artist was none other than ....Madonna. The album was the 'Immaculate Collection'
What is International Children's Day & where did it come from?
<u>Children's Day in many countries around the world. </u>
From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia
The ICD had its origin in Turkey in 1920 (April 23, 1920) and later in the World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland in 1925. It is not clear as to why June 1 was chosen as the ICD: one theory has it that the Chinese consul-general in San Francisco (USA) gathered a number of Chinese orphans to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival in 1925, which happened to be on June 1 that year, and also coincided with the conference in Geneva.
June 1 has since been observed as the ICD by numerous countries, especially by Communist countries; in the Western world the ICD is usually celebrated on other days of the year (if at all), and there is often little public awareness about these celebrations. (See the section on Germany below for further discussions.) Consequently there is sometimes a misperception that June 1 as the ICD was a Communist invention. Nonetheless, in recent years even some groups within the United States started observing the ICD on June 1.
<u>Why is International Children's Day held on June 1st here in China?</u>
From what I have found there was in a meeting in Moscow in December 1949 where the Women's International Democratic Federation (WIDF) declared June 1st as International Children's Day to ensure children's survival, health care, rights of education and against the of ill-treatment children.
In 1949 the Chinese government formally regulated June 1st as 'International Children's Day'.
Believe me, every year in China the 1st of June is celebrated in a huge and special way. Children are the future custodians of the Chinese Nation, and I guess they do their best to provide them with a good family, social, and educational environment and it is a goal worked upon. Of course many think it could do better and like every country in the world, it probably could do better!
Nevertheless, China is the perfect country to celebrate Children's day. They have a huge love for festivals and celebrations so it really is a grate time. The day is enjoyed with friends, families, students and fellow teachers. Many schools put on a song and dance contest and allow the students to put on a party in their classroom. The morning is usually spent watching a DVD in class, followed by a party where the children go absolutely berserk. The students are then free to go home for the afternoon to be with friends and family.
I know many people think China is not such a 'giving' country.
In some ways they can be said to be right but in other ways until you have lived here for a time and have gotten passed everything you have read and actually become part of society they can also said to be completely wrong. Remember that what the government is known for is hardly what society is really like. Education really is hard here for the students but in some ways the country really does show its love of its people. Just like back home, each city, town and village is responsible for its children.
On a more sad note; It really does seem that Children's Day isn't celebrated in many countries at all.
In fact I don't remember celebrating it at all in any of the Australian primary schools I attended. Sadly I remember celebrating the Queens birthday every year during primary and secondary school and continuing the celebrations every year after. Luckily for its workers Australia will celebrate the Queens birthday next weekend with the usual granting of a public holiday.
Until coming here I always thought it was funny that we celebrated the birthday of a Queen none of us had ever met (and for many, nor really want) along with celebrating a three minute horse race called the Melbourne Cup. Don't get me wrong, public holidays have become rare in Victoria Australia and I'm happy to celebrate any 'Old Jack or Jills' Birthday to get a public holiday. But should we really celebrate the Queens birthday over celebrating Children's Day? In fact to make it even funnier, we choose to celebrate her birthday many months after her actual birthday.
<u>People's Republic of China</u>
From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia
In the People's Republic of China, Children's Day is celebrated on June 1 and is formally known as "The June 1st International Children's Day. When the People's Republic of China was first established in 1949, the State Council (Cabinet) designated a half-a-day holiday for all primary schools on June 1st. This was later made into a full day's break in 1956 with The Announcement by the State Council to make June 1st Children's Day a One Day Public Holiday.
Schools usually organizes activities such as camping trips or free movies on Children's day to allow students to have fun, and Children of civil servants might also receive small gifts from the government. Entrance Ceremonies of the Young Pioneers of China (similar to boy scouts in the West) are frequently held on June 1st as well.
<u>Western Countries such as Australia & America</u>
Sandwiched between Mother's Day and Father's Day is the little known holiday of Children's Day that occurs on the second Sunday of June. Am I the only one who remembers such a day? Research leaves me with a feeling of frustration as I look for the origin of this holiday.
Even desk and wall calendars fail to note this holiday which is perplexing.
It seems that the holiday has lost its significance through the years. I have been hard pressed to find any of my colleagues at work who knew or had ever heard of Children's Day although they agreed it was an excellent sentiment. However, I do have a calendar book that lists Children's Day as June 10th this year proving that I am not chasing an esoteric figment of a confused and befuddled mind!
Traditionally our family would return home from church and have dinner together. Then our parents would give us a gift as a token of their love. The excitement and anticipation of what we would be given was second only to Christmas! We would excitedly open our gifts and then express our gratitude to our parents.
We felt special as children and were treated as royalty.
Depending upon family traditions, each family would continue the celebration in its own way. Our family loved to go on Sunday rides so Children's Day was sometimes celebrated by going on a family ride in our station wagon with our ever burgeoning family (10 children being the final count).
<u>Universal Children's Day</u>
From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia
The United Nations General Assembly recommended in 1954 that all countries institute a Universal Children's Day, to be observed as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children and of activity promoting the welfare of the world's children. It suggested to governments that the Day be observed on the date which each considers appropriate.
The date of 20 November marks the day in which the Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989 and is often the day chosen by countries as their own designated day to observe Universal Children's Day.
State governments are responsible for passing legislation providing a day and name appropriate for their compliance with the United Nations General Assembly resolution. United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights / UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
So I leave you with wishes and hope that all the children in our world will one day get to celebrate either International Children's Day or Universal Children's Day! <u></u>