Lunchtime at ChangXing Primary School

I continue to be very busy and feel hard-pressed to find time to make updates here. But I did compile several photos and videos of the lunchtime routine at the school into the video below. The food at the cafeteria is excellent and I enjoy eating there. When I mentioned this to the other teachers, they thought I was a little crazy – come to think of it, I was the only GI who liked the US Army food too 🙂 Anyway, here’s a little more of life at the school by way of our lunch routine.

Other noteworthy events include my growing fondess for several of the kids and some of the teachers. My Wheels on the Bus lesson was very well received – the kids seem to regard a grown man singing “waah, waah, waah” while cradling a pretend baby as both a little embarrasing but great fun. After a couple of these classes, many kids rushed to the front of the class to say “Goodbye Teacher John” and “See you again Teacher John” One young man, who happens to be a little chubby even by Western standards, is smart, fun, and charming and a favorite of many teachers. After class on Thursday, he told me he loved me (I think he meant like but I’ll take either one) and that he would draw a picture of me. He gave me the picture Friday morning and it’s really neat. When I get access to a scanner I’ll put it on the blog here. Little things like this make the hard work that go into this very worthwhile.

On Wednesday night, I was invited to a dinner for the teachers in my office (about 8 of us) at one their parent’s home about 20 minutes north of the school. I got my first chance to see a little more of the island and I noticed it is criss-crossed with canals leading to the Yangtze river, on both the north and south sides of the island. Many boats and barges inhabit these canals – I can’t tell for sure but many of them might be homes as well. They are definitely picturesque but not a place most people would enjoy living, I think. I’ll try to post photos in the future. I also saw some of the orange groves that the island was formerly noted for. As far as I can tell, this industry has largely been replaced by two large ship-building equipment factories, where many of the island’s inhabitants work. The teachers tell me that the island’s population has swelled from about 20,000 several years ago to 150,000 now. Many people have come from all parts of China for the employment.

The dinner was very nice and only one person there could act as an interpreter for me – so I spent a lot of time “listening” without comprehending (which is quite tiring by the way) but I was able to toast the host and hostess (with my orange drink to their beer and Chinese wine) and I came away with a nice feeling that they had made me so welcome. I didn’t take my camera as it seemed inappropriate to be in “tourist mode” for such a nice occasion.

Next time I post, I hope to shed some light on weekend life here at the Shanghai flat. It seems the two days go quickly as there are activities planned for us and we try to do some sightseeing on our own.

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