This morning as I was getting ready for class, I looked out the window and thought I saw a snowflake. As I sipped my coffee and slowly awakened to a semi-conscious stupor, I thought a saw another one. And another. And when I bumped into Duncan in between buildings after his first class and before mine, we thought we saw another couple of snowflakes. I walked into my first seventh grade class of the day, not five minutes later, and there was a flurry of the tiniest snowflakes I’ve ever seen dancing outside the classroom window. What is normally a class of rambunctious seventh graders beginning their week back at school, after a long weekend at home, with me playing Jeopardy for exam review back, became a very happy and excited class (with not one angsty scowl to be found). As that class ended and the mid-morning break began, Duncan and I joined the entire school in their parade to the soccer fields before the 3,000 students begin their “morning exercises” (aka “running” laps around the school). By that time, the snow had settled on the ground and it was hard to tell whether the students were more excited about the snow slowly falling or the camera the bigger laowai teacher was pointing at them. The snow didn’t end up sticking around for much longer after that but we sure did have fun joining in on the unique joy that snow seems to bring to childhood (and adulthood if that’s what you call me).
Also, Duncan has started a blog to keep up with his photography over the next year. Check it out so you can see some other photos inspired by our life in Baoding, China: http://gdbarnes.wordpress.com/
For some other exciting news, we have masks! And what a delight it is to have the feeling of restricted yet safer breathing strapped to my face. Plus, it brings me the joy that dancing as a rat in the Nutcracker brought me with the full head masks – being able to make the most gruesome faces possible at others without them ever knowing. While riding down the street I attempted to touch my lower lip to my nose but no one else could see the attractive face I was making. (Speaking of, merde and congrats to all the Nutcrackers happening this month all over the world!)
It’s amazing what parts of Western culture have crept their way over to the “East” and how other parts haven’t made the passage. The Nutcracker and widespread sanitation concern (again, I say, do not touch the ground), for example, have no presence here (at least in Baoding), but even Christmas plays an ever-increasing role in modern Chinese society and traditions. All 6th grade students at the school made Christmas cards in their Chinese English class and today all of the students wanted to wish me a Merry Christmas (and they thought today was December 25th even if they were reading from the board that today is December 16, 2013). One student, Kevin, gave me a Christmas card last week and two (kind of creepy) Santa (the “Christmas Man!”) dolls today in class. All the shops on QLH street have “Nihao Santas” in their shop windows and other Christmas and New Year paraphernalia bedecking the storefront windows. We’ve even heard (the most obnoxious rendition ever made of) Frosty the Snowman and Jingle Bells blaring from shop speakers as we drove by on Kuai Long.
Another week is flying by as we review, prepare for exams, and begin to bring the semester to a close. It’s been a good week so far and it looks like it will continue to be one. For now, it’s off to bed for some much-needed sleep.
Have a good day and thank you for reading!