21 December 2010
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Baotou Teachers' College took all 11 foreign teachers out for a holiday lunch, and we'll join our Amity colleagues for a combined regional meeting and Christmas celebration. Our new nativity set carved with Asian figures and a fiber-optic Christmas tree make our apartment feel very Christmassy, and with the Advent candles and music we couldn't ask for more. This is the only Santa we've seen in Baotou. Not exactly a figure of jolliness, but it's a tough job. Most of the stores have a Christmas display like this one. Santa advertises baiju here, a 80-120 proof white alcohol made from distilled grain. It's a wicked drink, although a great cleaning solvent. So have a tantalizing taste of Christmas New Year's Day, and Happy 2011!
10 December 2010
Winter in Baotou -- cold (-15 Celsius), often sunny, and no snow. The horse, an integral figure in the creation and survival of the Middle Kingdom, is frequently depicted in public places like this Culture Park.
The term is drawing to an end so the students have that combined sense of excitement and dread as finals approach. This poster announced the English department's New Years Party which was an elaborate production of singing, dancing, and skits, complete with a fog and bubble machine. The auditorium was packed and it was fun seeing our students as performers.
We've been having our classes come to see how the foreign teachers live, and practice English outside the classroom. We ask them to show us on the map where they're from, and are surprised how many live in far northern parts of China requiring a long train trip to get home.
These visits have been a great opportunity to get to know the students a little better; they're really a great group.
We were honored to be judges for the 2010 English Speech Competition and were surprised how many of the orations had an inspirational theme.
06 December 2010
We enjoy the signs in China; here's some of our favorite Chinglish over the last few months. While no smoking signs are common, they're frequently ignored.
"first priority resporyutukity Your satisfy is our" caught our eye going up the escalator in the supermarket.
"Study does not mean lack of time, but diligent." Most of our classrooms have motivational signs like this one.