Thursday, December 6, 2012

Blog update



Hi everyone. I'd like to apologize for the irregularity of our blog updates. It's hard to not get into forgetful habits when your schedule is so busy. I'll do my best to send a blog entry in at least once every other week.

So lets see, what's been happening lately? Oh! I had my first open class at the kindergarten, which basically consisted of me teaching the first class for half an hour, then everyone goes to morning exercise, then Jenny (my Chinese teacher) teaches her half an hour class, then the parents went to the dance room to have a meeting with the Chinese teachers, and I stayed in the classroom as the kids drew pictures.
I was really happy about the time of my open class, because the school broke the open classes up into groups so we didn't have a hundred parents tripping over each other all day. Big class and pre-school were Monday, no one Tuesday because all the foreign teachers had a meeting, middle class was Wednesday, small class was Thursday and mini class was Friday. So my class got it over with right away, and I didn't have to be concerned about that for the rest of the week..The downside to this week being Open class week is that it's been raining every day. Normally I love the rain. It smells so nice, cleans the air and gives us free water to give to the animals. Not in China. The water here is gross and acidic and I constantly want to have a shower every time I get wet. >.< it's not as pleasant as Canadian rain, and it's been causing our garden to flood, so getting to work has been uncomfortable. On the plus side, the hill that the kindergarten was built on that I have to walk up every day, kept the water from pooling so much, so it was way better there than Louxi.

Every Tuesday all the foreign staff have a meeting to discus anything that is coming up or if there are problems or questions that the teachers have; and on Friday I have a class meeting, which basically means my T.A. Bobo, Jenny and I sit on the students tiny chairs and discuss things. Mostly Jenny will let me know about things in my class that are working well or that I need to improve (which I am so happy she does because my class has gotten waaaay better since she started doing that); and I'll use the meeting to ask about the status of certain things, like if Jenny had scheduled any parent meetings, or if she'd heard any new information about upcoming events, and we swap information.
Today's meeting made me very, very happy. Basically Jenny told me that none of the parents had any negative feedback about the Open Class, and that they wanted to meet me, and I’m managing to get every student to participate, and the quiet ones are significantly improving with their English (usually she'll let me know what's going well in my class before suggesting improvements, but today apparently there was nothing that needed improving, so I was like “SWEET!!!”). She also told me that I was doing really good with getting my weekly lesson plan and parent letters submitted on time (I've been doing them on the weekend and bringing them in Monday so I don't forget) she said that a lot of the other Chinese teachers complain that their foreign teachers don't hand in the paper on time, and she's like “my Foreign teacher is good, she hands it in on time” haha. (I felt bad though and apologized in the meeting, because I got the weekly plan for this week done like two weeks ago, but I didn't do the parent letter and forgot about it till Friday, and that doesn't give the Chinese staff very long to translate it for the parents. The deadline for the weekly plans and parent letters in Wednesday for that reason. Jenny didn't seem to mind me being late with the letter this week though.) so I basically I got to go to a class meeting where they told me I was awesome! Best meeting ever! Hahaha.

It's been raining like crazy this week and so Kenzie and I bought these Pj’s that are pants and a hoody, and they are extremely fluffy and warm.... it's the most comfortable sweater ever! I am starting to have trouble leaving the house without the fluffy sweater. In this chilly wet weather in a house that's built for heat and not cold, these pj's are fantastic. I even started wearing the sweater to work and Jenny really liked how fuzzy it was so I think I want to get one for her, Bobo and Dora for Christmas (Dora is the life teacher – she basically keeps the place clean and gets food and milk for the kids. Like a nanny) I just have to figure out what colours they like without being suspicious. I'd like to send presents home to everybody, but I haven't quite got the mailing system in China figured out so you may get a bunch of presents when we get back home.

Lately my Chinese has been getting much better. I was told that if you were going to learn different languages, the most useful would be: English, Chinese, Spanish and Arabic. If you learned those you'd pretty much be set to go almost anywhere in the world and be able to communicate. So Kenzie and I have started trying to learn them. We got apps on our phones and theIPod for learning languages, and I've managed to find people who are helping me learn them. Nick is from Florida and apparently there's a lot of Latino people there, so his Spanish is quite good, and he's lived in China for four years so he can speak Chinese as well (not fluent in either one, but he knows a lot), and then there's Li, my boss from the night school I've been working at. He worked in Japan at Honda for years, so he knows Chinese and Japanese. The school takes a while to get to and so he drives me home so I don't take the bus or metro. His English isn't very good and my Chinese isn't very good, so we've been teaching each other the languages on the drives home. So far we've been covering numbers and things you can do with numbers, like say the date on a calender and say the time. I now know how to count up to 999, but my record is about 350, I haven't learned the word for thousand so I can't count higher yet. We're starting to move into colours. And lastly my T.A. Bobo taught me some words, and she got me to practice sounding out the vowels and doing the tones. Yesterday in class I was able to pick out at least every fifth word that the Chinese teacher said to the kids. All in all not that impressive that I can slightly understand kindergarten Chinese, but at least I know I'm improving.

Over the weekend I hung out with a new friend we made named Danny. He's very adventurous and will wander aimlessly in Guangzhou and find the most random things; and he invites me along sometime. So we headed out to this stop on the metro that neither of us had been to before (we picked it because Danny's map showed a lot of green and we figured there must be a forest there). Once we got there it was so quiet my ears popped. I'm serious, I'm not sure how, but lack of sound made them pop. You don't realize how much sound gets blasted at you on a regular basis until there isn't any. It was also very empty. Where in Guangzhou and Panyu you will see at least fifteen people at all times, this stop we didn't run across someone till we got a little ways away from the metro, and even then it wasn't any more than two or three people at a time. That was very strange.
The rest of the day involved us looking for odd shaped buildings to investigate and finding the coolest stuff. At one point we were on this big island, and saw a building across the river that had a roof that looks like a sting ray, or some kind of shell. So we found a bridge and it took us awhile to get across because we got side tracked by random things like we saw a family fishing with a huge net, and an art studio/display building that was very hidden by trees and was under a bridge. We crouched and climbed under a different bridge to continue walking and found two dead fish. We came across University City, which is basically a bunch of universities clustered together, and there were students practicing opera, and they were really good. Although, being outside and next to a small forest, they sounded like wailing ghosts. We also found three snakes. One ran away, one was dead and the last one was too tired to get out of the middle of the walking path. We walked down a deer path in the bush and found small gardens and sad houses that people had made out of scraps of metal and wood. There was a baby rat in the trees as well, he looked like he had been attacked by an animal but got away. It was the cutest little thing, and it appeared to be either a baby rat, or a huge mouse; but it's face was rat-like so I'm pretty sure it was a rat. And I totally wanted to bring it home because it was cold, hungry, scared and alone, but we couldn't because of the potential diseases it could have had. So that was sad.
We found a school called “The China Normal University”, that was pretty funny, and we also found a science center. It's like the space science center back home, so I hear, but we only got to see some of the Da Vinci exhibit which was awesome. On the outside of the building there was a giant army of panda statues, that we had trouble figuring out what they were for because they were all wearing different clothes. Once we got close we figured out that they were for the different countries in the world. America was fine, their panda looked like a cowboy (but they obviously used Woody from toy story as a reference), but Canada's was extremely lame. Most of the countries seemed to have some sort of traditional clothing..... Canada's was wearing red overalls with maple leaves all over the place, creating the dorkiest panda that ever existed.... seriously, how hard is it to paint a Mountie? You Google Canada and get like 64 pictures of mounties!

I hope you are all having a great time in Canada. We miss you so much and can't wait to see you again.

Love Brodie

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hello! Bwahahahahhaahhaa!! Ever since the blog started Brodie and I have been unable to actually access it in China. So once we wrote a new blog entry we would email it to our parents, who in turn, would post it to the blog. Not any more HAHAHA!!! my co-workers and i have purchased a VPN which will allow Brodie and I to see blocked web sites!!

So what has happened in my blogging absence? Well, i had to dance Gangnam style to hundreds of people for a fun outdoor...thing? i'm not sure what to call it; Advertisement, Promotional activity, BS? No idea (just kidding about the BS, though most the the foreign staff was very unhappy to be there. I had fun).
Brodie a few friends and I decided to try and find the famed  'Statue of the Five Goats' that Guangzhou is so proud of. It's location is Yuexiu Park. That place is crazy. It was a jungle and super quiet. then you turn the corner and BAM! amusement park! There were old walls, fable statues (made of plastic but meant to look like stone) and a grave yard. We walked around until the sun went down but found so statue. We're planning to try again sometime, but we haven't yet.
We had a lovely Chinese Birthday (the day before the Canadian one :P). Brodie had people from the kindergarten give her  flowers and Chocolate. I fed the chocolate to kids and coworkers at Liede (not all of it but a good portion). Kelly and Danny bought us a cake and and we ended up playing that Pass the Pigs game and card games with them. The morning of our Canadian birthday, Friday, I discovered that the electricity was out in our building, kelly's building (he has his own now) and the other ACT building (with Allayna and Tomi). We were told to wait until after we were back from work (training centre people. those of us that actually noticed the power was out because we weren't at work yet), then tell Eve if the power was back on or not. Kelly had no problems at all because he hadn't lived in the new house long enough for the power company to rightfully bill him and cut the power. Allayna had no issues either and I'm told it's because she works in the same building as the ACT managers and nagged until they got the power back. I hope thats not true because that would mean they were able to get the power back and just didn't for Brodie and I. Brodie and I didn't get electricity until after the weekend. Being without electricity  for three days wasn't all that bad. The only issues I had was not being able to take a warm shower (theres a heater that you turn of before the water heats up) and the food in the fridge was going to go bad.
 Turns out that the reason our power went out was because our land lord forgot to give us the power bill and the electric company is vicious. Can't wait to move...



Any way! hmmm new things that have happened. OH! I am now teaching four classes of my own at Liede. I have my Golden class (the kids go straight from the school next door and take a class at the training centre), a VIP class (one of one lessons with a kid who is planning to move to Canada next year. Super cool!), a beginner class of little kids (I can honestly say this class scares me the most) and a second beginner class with older kids. The little kid class scares me because I am not good at keeping little kids entertain and I have to teach them for 90 minutes. So far I am semi good at it but I had one parent say she wanted to pull her kid out after the second class. That sucked to hear but Dog figures her expectations are too high if she thinks her kid (who is 2 or 3 by the way) is going to be great at speaking english after two classes. Though he gave me a mission. Do whatever I can to keep that kid in the class. I did my best but I don't know if it worked. There is a little girl in that class Yi Yi (EE EE like a monkey :D) who I know from make-up class. She's 2 years old and one of the cutest kids at the school. She is now in my class and i made her cry almost every time i saw her. I yelled to loud or  I looked scary or some other kid ran into her and knocked her over, but either way she would get upset and cry. She also doesn't say even two words to me. In the last class, though, i pulled out some colourful blocks and had the kids say "I want red" or "I want blue" then i'd give them the block. She was so excited that i think she shoved kids twice her size over in order to get to the blocks. She also said the whole sentence perfectly!!! such a cute kid.

Brodie's buddy from work (Nick) is a huge nerd like us and has gotten us into D&D. Thats right, Dungeons and Dragons. If we didn't sound nerdy before, Think again! We also have a few other friends here who want to play as well. We're gonna start a different version of D&D that is set in a zombie apocalypse reality and our characters are trying to survive it. sounds fun, right!! i think i am becoming zombie/monster obsessed. I watch The Walking Dead and read the comic, I read vampire books, I have an app on my ipod that is like Farm Town but with zombies and I Have another app that is for jogging. Its this whole story line with a few towns in a zombie apocalypse. But the way the app kind of works is if you don't run fast enough the zombies will catch you. Isn't that AWESOME! so any way, zombie, zombie, school, zombies.

The weather has been really foggy lately and its always smoggy so we usually have  hard time seeing the buildings in the distance. Yesterday It rained the entire day and it freaked us out when we could see the lights in the far off buildings and colour of everything was sharper... Can't wait to go back to clean air Canada (or at least the Edmonton area).

Thats all for now,
Love you all
Makenzie

Saturday, November 24, 2012

One more pic & Makenzies dance


It's hard to see but those lights are hanging from the tree. They keep changing so it looks like rain. Very cool. They also come in rainbow.




Here is Makenzie's gangnan style dancing debut in China!  If you look REALLY close you can see her in the back row between the two guys who look like they actually know the dance. She has on a cowboy hat and white skirt. This is the end of the dance and shows the fireworks that the dancers weren't expecting.



Super late blog update!


Heres my super late blog update. my laziness is getting unbearable lol


I’m sooo sleeeeepppyyyy ZZzzzz….

Brodie and I had to leave our house for ACT all day, every day, so we would get stir-crazy on our days off so we ended up wandering around the city or going out to get food. Because of that neither of us have spent a whole 24 hours without leaving our house since we came to China. That doesn’t sound to bad because we get to see more of the city, but I’m tired and sore and our house is a wreck... was a wreck, I just cleaned it.
            TODAY on my day off I am determined to not take one foot outside, and relax (after I finished cleaning and steam cleaning my blankets again).
            I thought for a while that my training center job had the worst schedule because I only get one day off a week (Kelly had two days off, lucky), but I discovered recently that Allayna and Ollie only get one day off a week as well (I think) so I’m not alone!
            Tomi has a really good kindergarten to work at because it's such a small school, they're a lot more relaxed with meetings and paperwork and stuff; where as Brodie’s kindergarten is bigger and busier and likes to keep things in order. They're both good jobs but Tomi’s is easier to work at.
            Allayna and Ollie’s work seems to be similar to Brodies.


Nov 6, 2012.

Wow I have really let this blog go. Sorry about that. I have gotten very unorganized lately and, to be honest, my laziness level spiked as soon as we got the internet.. Again sorry. But I’m back now and will be blogging more! Hopefully!

So for some reason all of the training centers are having a festival/party/meet and greet.. thing. I actually have no idea what it is, or why we’re doing it. No one has really given me a clear answer besides all the training centers staff are going to be there (… I hear something that sound like someone dropping a lot of stuff for a long time, or a machine gun firing from far away. The sound is continuous rapid bangs, but it sounds like an echo or something. I think it has something to do with the garbage truck? I don’t know). We were also told that the foreign staff has to do a dance (no!). The dance is Gundam Style (NOO!!)  and I suck at that dance (NOOO!!!!). the good news is I’m not alone. My friend Karl is planning on walking through the dance (literally walking) instead of actually dancing.
On my way to the park it was scary. I’m used to riding the metro at 8am on the weekends... weekdays its crazy. The train was so full that you actually feel crushed and can’t move. I stood in a line of about twenty people and had to watch two trains stop, pack people in, and then drive off without me before I was close enough to jump on.
A little old lady and her daughter (I’m guessing) were right in front of me and the passengers boarding the train pushed me uncomfortably close to them. I had my arm twisted funny between two people when I first boarded so after that I was hugging my book and trying to be a small as possible. Everytime the train stopped more people crushed into the train. At one point the sweet old lady elbowed me back and started angrily yelling at me (because obviously I had run into her because I’m a jerk and not because I literally had no room to breath as people behind me pushed forward. * sigh * some people can be so mean… or dumb, I don’t know). I’m assuming she was telling me to back up, but trust me, if I had a choice I would not have been squashed near any old Chinese lady (they are mean when it comes to lines and trains! ).
When the train got to my stop I tried to get out of the crowd (and almost dropped my vampire book in the process). I was actually shaking when I got to the next train, but this one was way less crowded. So I have been avoiding being within two feet of everyone ever since then.
After I was off the metro I met up with the Chinese staff and we walked to the park. Most of them don't speak English, but a few can and they were chatting in Chinese and goofy off the whole time I saw them. Even though I could only understand every other word they said, it was still fun to watch because you can tell when they made a joke by the other person’s facial expression. I had fun :o).
            It was hilarious. All the staff from all the training centers (Chinese and foreign) have to do a dance (another one) where we’re lined up and marching while waving our hands or jumping around all at the same time (the music is an Aqua song but I forget what it's called. I think it was Cartoon heroes but I could be wrong). The principle of Tianhe walked up to everyone and started talking to us with a microphone. Her name is Sunny (I think ) and she’s really nice but her English is not perfect. She honestly said to everyone, “Okay, good job, but the song is happy so when you dance you have to smell (smile), okay. Make sure you smell.” Every single native English speaker burst out laughing and started joking around (she had finished talking so it was fine). I heard Karl joke that he hadn’t showered in three days, just for this dance lol.
            Also we need to play a carnival-like game as well as the dance. My school’s thing was they had three pumpkins and the kids threw a hoop and got it on the pumpkin. I don’t know where they got it but the pumpkins they found were actually gourds that looked like pumpkins. The funnier part of this fact is that none of the Chinese staff knew what a gourd was and had no clue for the longest time. So awesome!
            So I’m back home now. I had to bring in a book I got from the doctor’s office and see if the school would pay for my medical bill.. I don't know if I told you about that? Whoops. Well long story short. I woke up one morning and my eyes were red and swollen and oozing puss (it looked like I was crying green goo). Veeeerry gross. So when I went into work that day, my eyes scared the Chinese staff and a girl named Christy took me to a pharmacy to get meds (and I got out of doing some work. YAY lol ). The meds didn’t work and my eyes were almost closed because they were so swollen. So I called into work and Christine (the lady who organizes my schedule) took me to the hospital. They gave me a book and a credit card looking hospital card. Then I saw the doctor, she gave me Japanese medicine (ooooo) and it was eye drops, eye cream and a small bottle of something I was supposed to drink with a straw. There were no pills so I was very happy. The next day my eyes were waaay better and by the end of the week I looked normal :o) 
 I was supposed to bring that book in today and forgot it so I came back home. This morning I took a bus and the train (went one stop passed Liede) and that's where the park was. Then I went all the way back home (I could have went one stop and just stayed at work, if it was open … hmm) but yeah now I’m at home waiting till 4 when I have to go to work again. Such a fun day :P.  
           
Well that's all that's been happening lately. I’ll see if Brodie can get a video of my super embarrassing dance and put it on the blog. :P.


We had to go to Hong Kong to renew our visa and we took these pictures on the train.


Chinese farmland



The people sitting across from us laughed when we took this photo lol

Hidden house



Cool picture at the bus stop.

This is more of what we saw on the way to Hong Kong. It's a farm and there're mountains in the background!

In Guangzhou there's a whole place with comic stuff everywhere! It's like the animethon lol



It's the I pee zone!!




My office (Makenzie) - It's small but I like it :o) 


 
This is the foreign staff office- Can you see the Xbox in the background!


























Spiderman's in China too!

























There are statues like this everywhere. This place had the same statue doing different poses all the way down the hallway. There's been lions that are bigger that me and elephants and lots of things

See ya later.
Makenzie


love you :)

Monday, October 22, 2012


Oct 22, 2012 

Yay, my (our) birthday is one month away exactly!!

So I hear we’ve been making some heads spin because of our lack of blogging. I am really sorry about that. Even if I wrote out a blog entry everyday I would have to go to a restaurant in order to post it and, though I could do that, my lap top is heavy and its a lot of walking to do that, so we try to post it when we have days off. So I feel like a jerk and I’m gonna try harder to get this blogged so you can see what’s up.

Round one: Bugs

            The Bed Bugs: Captain Glitches report. We have laid our first assault on the bedroom territory. We had some trouble with Commander Germ, of the 42nd air force, mosquito division. He sent in his best pilot, Aeronautics, to compete with us to fight the humans. Commander Germ over looked one thing, though. His pilot’s wings make so much noise that the humans’ wake up almost instantly. Luckily for us, this effect caused the humans to feel under attack from the flyers, so they hid under the blankets, which made it much easier for us to strike. This was a great success for us bijou bugs. Regrettably, the humans have seen a few of our numbers and they, in turn, have fled the area. Rest assured, they’ll be back.
The Humans: Makenzie’s audio recording (written version). “Yeah I don’t know how they’ve been getting into the house but those stupid mosquitoes are driving my crazy. I mean, look at this bug bites I have!... Look!... see, the bite is huge! Why are you getting out of your chair?... Come on, sit down and finish this interview, its not that gross.  These bites have been hurting constantly. Did you know I’ve been woken up in the middle of the night with shooting pain because my hand is so covered in bug bites and I accidentally scratched it in my sleep? It feels like ten mosquitoes attacking all at once or something. Hey, what’s that? That thing right there…. I’m pointing at it! It looks like a tiny beetle… What do you mean bed bug?!”


You all remember the fly and the bed bugs. I have a cold now and I blame that fly (even though I think its from being around sick kids and eating cheap greasy food).
I read that steam kills bed bugs so we bought a steamer for 499 kuah. I know that's expensive (its like $80 Canadian) but I was honestly going crazy with the problem of mosquitoes biting me if I slept on the couch without a blanket, bed bugs biting me if I hid under your covers (they hurt more then mosquitoes) and cockroaches running across me if I slept on the floor (again I think I hate bugs, I used to have nightmares about crap like this *eye twitch*). So the bed bugs have to leave. My plan is to attack until I am sure their gone. So I steamed my entire bed and I actually put my blankets, sheets and pillowcases in a plastic bag and hung it up on the deck so the sun would heat it up and kill the bed bugs, but this takes like two weeks to work. Once I figure out how to get a hold of the landlord they are hearing about this!!!
            Also I’m gonna write out a list of things that aren’t up to snuff in our house, such as, we have two doors at the front door. One is wooden door that looks like normal doors, the other is a gate that stops people from trying to bust down the wooden door (I guess) or its just a strong screen door. Anyway the wooden door never had a closing mechanism (it broke before we moved in) so in order to keep the door closed we had to lock it.  Then the school gave our roommate Sarah a new key and it broke the lock. Now when you lock doesn’t turn unless you use the key (which is good if your leaving but we have to prop a chair on the door to keep it from opening all the time)
            I don’t know if it’s because I’m sick and grouchy or tired or what it is but I keep getting mad at stuff and ranting about it (as you have seen in this blog entry). I’m tired of bugs, I’m tired of the door not closing, I’m tired of people around me acting rude (not the strangers I pass on the street, but the people I know... well one person I know in particular is very hypocritical and ticking me off), I’m tired of not being able to hang out with Brodie because our schedules are completely different. …. I’m just tired of it and no matter what I say it doesn’t change. The worst part about me being at a training center and Brodie at a kindergarten is we both freaking LOVE our jobs. That doesn’t sound like a bad thing but I want to eventually get a kindergarten job and that means I can’t work at Liede any more. Stupid awesome coworkers making my job fun and not making me want to leave.

            So they said we’re getting Internet again, but I’ll believe it when I see it at this point. We have to find the administration building in the garden in order to pay bills. We need a key to open the mailbox in order to get the bill that says what we own. Eve needs to talk to the management people in order to get them to send us a key. And in the mean time we’re just sitting here nervously waiting.


I’m guessing I’m irritable because I don’t see Brodie very much and I’m by myself most of the day until I go to work.  Hopefully this isn’t how its going to continue for the whole year or I’m gonna have to start growing up and dealing with my problems :P.

I am soooo excited that everyone got our new email!! It’s great hearing from you and I miss you all.

My life isn’t as bad here as I’m making it out to be but I just decided to group all of the stuff that was bugging me and tossing it into one blog entry (Bwahahaha!!)

thats all for now.
Love Makenzie

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Looooots of blog entries lol 



Oct 13/12

We got our jobs! Except it's not a kindergarten, and its two different training centers. I got the information from Pail mixed up. The jobs were 1 spot at Tienhe and 1 spot at Leida. The kindergarten in Foshan (its at the other end of Guangzhou) only had one spot open so that won’t work. Paul said he’d keep us posted on if 2 kindergarten spots open up but he figures nothing will until the end of the semester in January and he thinks the training centers will want us to stay till then anyway; so that's okay. 
            Brodie really didn’t want to work at Leida so I took that one and we start tomorrow . Brodie starts at 8:30am and I start at 9:30am (its funny because my training center is faster to get to, but alas the night is still young, I’ve only been there once so there’s a chance I’ll get lost. Hopefully not.)

            I’m nervous about the first class. We apparently just have a day to get to know the kids before starting any hard work, so that's nice, but still nerve racking. 


OOOHH!! Brodie and I have been wandering around the metros recently (mostly trying to get taxis) but we ended up finding a huge strip-mall inside the metro area that was full of what looked like Animethon venders!!  It’s like where the stuff from the Animethon goes after August is over! It’s so cool!
            Also there’s a place that's like six blocks of fabric stores and a few huge but crowded mall like places full of sewing stuff!! Super awesome!! 

That's all for now.
Love 
Makenzie

Oct 15/12
            
Okay I love my job! 
I was so nervous about my first day and I was worried I would get there late. Because of this I had like three nightmares about me getting off at the wrong train exit and not being able to find Liede. So the next day I ended up getting there at 8am (an hour and a half early) and there was only a few Chinese staff running around the office. The whole school was covered in balloons and streamers and looked like they were getting ready for a five year olds birthday party. What was actually going on was a meet and greet with the school to try to bring in more students. So the first and only class I had to teach on my first day of work was how to play hockey. Needless to say I was very excited. My class was at 10 so I had hours to kill. So I wandered around the inside of the building and looked around the street at all the little food shops and massage places and a health clinic surprisingly.  Jody was at the school in the morning because he was doing a speech to introduce the program to the parents then they would split off and go to different rooms to do different activities, like hockey (yay!) and cooking. 
             I was expecting my whole day to suck because it was at a training center but I had a lot of fun and instead of sending me in to teach ten classes a week Dog (Adam) just wants me to shadow classes (which is basically watch them start a game and then I’ll continue it. for multiple games), so that I have more games and activities to use for my classes. I’m soooo happy for that because I had nothing! I watched a months worth of classes and have no actual skill with play, introducing, or tying it into the topic with games. So I get to practice!! The other part of this arrangement is if a different school needs one of the teachers from Liede to come and substitute a class its my job to do so and I think I might be on call for that. Apparently that used to be Chris’s job but now he’s to busy to be able to do that. Dog also told me that if the class I sub at crashes and burns that he doesn’t care because it’s not his school (lol helpful). 
Another thing Dog wants to teach me how to do is a demo class, which is basically a promotional thing that we do to show the parents that this school knows what it’s doing and it’d be a good place for your kids to learn English at. The way you teach a demo class is going in to a classroom with kids you don’t know, having the parents watching you teach and having no idea what the Enlish level of the kids is, then teaching them something for 45 minutes or so and getting them to be able to say stuff in English. I’ve seem Mark and Chino do Demo classes before but I’ve never done one.
            Brodie’s first day at Tianhe was apparently confusing and boring. The only one who knew what she was supposed to be doing was Paul, who inconveniently no one could get a hold of on the phone. The principle, her name is Sunny, was thinking Brodie didn’t even have a place at Tianhe because they only needed two teachers not three. So that was nerve racking. Chino told her not to worry about it and to just watch classes for the day (the way I worded it makes it sound like Chino had a plan with what she should be doing for the day, but I think it was more like Chino asking “do you know what your supposed to be doing today?” Brodie “No.” C “Do you want to watch my class?” B “sure.”) 
            She ended up getting Sunday off of work because they had nothing for her to do. A vacation sounds fun but she’s sort of taking it like she’s unemployed and it’s bumming her out. She tried to enjoy her vacation day but it was boring. She also tried to make it to the Football game (Soccer) but she ended up only seeing like 5 minutes of the game and leaving to come pick me up at work and show me how to get there. By the time I was off work, however, the game would have ended so instead of going to McCawleys with the Football team and friends we just went to a different bar with Dog and Chris for supper. Oliver, Chino, Grooie and a bunch of other people play on a team together every Sunday. That's where they met Oliver and how he knew about the school. 
            I was supposed to come in at nine the next day but I wanted to time how long it took me to get from my front door to the elevator at the school it took me 1 whole hour to get to a bus stop, wait and get on the bus, get to a bus stop near the metro, take two trains on the metro and walk around the block to get to the school. There’s two ways to get to get there on the metro. There’s one where I walked ten minutes to the gate entrance of the garden, walk across the street and through an underpass, walk eight little blocks and get on the Luoxi (low-shi) metro entrance and take a train eight stops, switch to line 1 and wait four stops, then swtch to line 5 and go one stop getting to Liede. Or instead, go to through the underpass and, instead of walking the eight blocks, just wait at the bus stop for a bus that then drives for ten minutes and get off the bus at the Xiajao (…. I think it sounds like Shy-jow. The jow doesn’t sound like jaw, its like j-oww) metro entrance, wait five stops and then switch trains and take one stop. Much less walking and standing because its hard to get a seat on the metro at 7:30 am and at 5-7pm.
            So the weekends are very busy at the training centers, some people have to teach two-hour classes, so I had a busy schedule of shadowing on Sunday. So I shadowed two of Chris’s classes in the morning and then there was a three-hour break before his next class. The foreign teachers office in most schools is big enough to fit a couch, a bunch of chairs, a desk with computers on it and then fit tons of people. My office can fit one desk, three chairs and like four or five people max. I like it but it's the only office without a couch. Luckily there are two couches with comfortable pillows in the parent’s waiting room. I was really tired and decided to take a nap until the next class. I put my headphones on and fell asleep. Tem minutes later the Chinese manager, Christine (lol so many Chris’s) came and woke me up because she had a demo class she wanted me to teach at a different school. The first thing I asked her was “how do I teach a demo class?” she kind of gave me a blank stair for a minute and then just continued with what she was saying (she was in a hurry). I was too tired to be nervous about the class and what I was thinking was “I only slept for ten minutes… dang it.” 
            So I had a demo class to teach at 3oclock (ahhh!). I had no clue what to teach the kids so I called Dog, because he hadn’t come into work yet. He was surprised that I had a demo class because he didn’t want me doing one until I actually knew how to do it. So after he tried and failed to get me off the hook he just gave me advice on what to teach (time because its basically just counting, and then play broken telephone) and said Grooie works at the school I was leaving for (totally have no idea what that place was called but it's the newest one, I think).
            A girl around my age picked me up from the metro and walked me to the school. Her English name was Eleven, hahahhaha, and she was my Teaching Assistant (TA) for the class. I chatted with Grooie for a bit and got advice from both him and Eleven for teaching material. They told me to sing a “what’s your name song”. 

            I had a one-hour block to teach and everyone was saying if I taught for 30-45 minutes it’d be fine, but I got on a roll and taught the whole hour!! I had a hard time rewarding the kids because they had trading cards to give away and I also wrote stars on the board for the teams. I also kept forgetting to correct the kids when they weren’t doing something so Eleven was reeeaaally helpful and caught the kids who where being bad and giving the good kids cards (I felt like I was being lazy with that one so I’m going to work on that). 
            After that I went back to the school, watched the end of a class, walked around and played on my phone for an hour, and got my schedule. I get to teach my own class on Wednesday!! And I get make-up classes the rest of the time. I hear make-up classes are annoying to teach because the way the school works is the parents pay for individual classes and when a kid misses a day then they join some random class to make up for it. So they can be way ahead of the class or, and it usually happens, way behind, because they are at a completely different part of the book. Liede has a lot of rich kids who like ditching class so there are a lot of classes just for making up those days. It’s hard to mess up on the make-up classes so this should be fine. 
            After finally talking to Paul and Eve it sounds like Brodie is going to be working at Agile (yeah-juh-la) kindergarten. Which is the kindergarten we had been going to all last month and the one everyone loves. We asked about jobs there before and they told us that they had no spaces open, but now they do (because one of my favorite teachers, Reese, wanted to do something new so he ‘retired’). Now Brodie get a job she actually wants and Eve is going to try to arrange the schedule so she only has short workdays on my days off so we can hang out


That's it for now.
Love 
Makenzie 

PS: (Dog and most of the Chinese staff keep calling me Mak because its easier to say then Makenzie. I don’t mind it but I don’t like saying it myself, no clue why. Also the Chinese staff all know that Mak is a guys name so its even funnier now :P. oh well,  at least they can remember my name now . Oh and I am determined to make the kids in my class say at least Kenzie, if not Makenzie. I’m only giving the Make-up kids a break and the classes I substitute for. I’m only gonna see them for a day so I don’t care if they say Makenzie or just Mak (most don’t say either lol))

Oct 17/12

I think I hate bugs >:[

I thought for the past two weeks that I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes, and for some reason our bug bites are HUGE!!! Like the size of a quarter minimum! It stopped for a while and then stared up again. So I was determined to avoid mosquito bites so I turned up the AC in my room and hid under my blankets so that no skin was showing. Then the bites showed up on my hands (they hurt they were so itchy; like blinding pain kind of hurt). I must have had my hands out of the blankets and the evil bugs went to town on them (I had like six bites in one night). So I wrapped myself in blankets so my face was only showing and I couldn’t roll out very easily. The bites were worse. And last night I woke myself up twice because I was scratching my hands in my sleep and the painful itching came back. I discovered that these bites are not from mosquitoes but they are in fact bed bugs (NOOOOOOOOOO  Aunty Stacey you were right!!) I did some research and those things are attracted to the smell of people and they cling hide in fabrics (like a mattress or blankets) and wood… that is my whole room (Hard wood floor, wooden shelves, wooden bed frame, fabric bed, fabric clothes, fabric curtains…. This sucks.)
            This one website said to heat the bugs or freeze them to kill the larva, the bugs and eggs, but it said to heat them or put them in the sun for two weeks because I have no dryer to put my laundry…so I put my bedding in plastic bags and their hanging on my deck. So by the time I was back home (I have to go to the bakery next to my garden for internet right now) I was literally shaking and stressed out (lack of sleep and the fear of never being able to sleep in my bed again). 
            The cherry on top of my day was after work I was in the metro, talking about my day to Brodie, when a fly (I thought it was a mosquito at first) came out of no where and I almost swallowed it… but not quite…. ….. I nearly choked on it, so I coughed or did something to move the fly, from the direction of down my throat, to a more upward direction (and I could feel it moving around >.<). I ended up blowing my nose a lot and it finally came out (o.O) and the worst part was that it was still alive. Bleeehhh he he!!! Nasty!!! 
            The fact that this happened on the exact same day as the bed bug freak out/discovery is just… awesome…
I don’t think I can look at a fly the same way again :S. 
             
            
The rest of my day was okay. I shadowed Chris’s class and then taught a make-up class. When I first walked in one of the kids called me teacher cookie and then two others said teacher {insert Chinese here}, no idea what that meant but it was funny. It was crazy. One kid named Jason would wander around the classroom, no matter what anybody said to him. It was obvious he just didn't know what I was saying and just gave up, because I brought him to the front of the class and had the other kids mimic his posture (his hands were on his hips, so I got the class to do that. He looked surprised and dropped his hands down, so I had the class slap their hands to their legs). After a few times mimicking him I started making the gestures and he got more interested and did them too (that lasted a good three minutes and then I lost him again, but those three minutes were so much fun ). 
Another kid named Andy would just not shut up the whole time I was teaching. He would say the vocabulary or sentence I wanted him to say, and then continued on to random stuff (it was all in English, which was cool, but still!!).
There were two Jasons’ in the class, the little Jason (5-6 year old bratty one that I had stand up at the front of class) and big Jason (6-8 year old who’s mom was there and who looked like he might burst into tears at any moment). Turns out that this Jason was sick and was not about to cry because of that. He actually puked in a garbage can halfway through class, all the kids were horrified but it happened when I was looking at the white board so the T.A. and his mom handled it (they would have handled it anyway, I just would have known about it sooner is all). Because of his sickness he was really shy and quiet during most of the class. Then like 20 minutes before the end of class he was the loudest kid shouting answers out and saying the sentence properly (I was so proud!).
My favorite kid was a little 3 year old girl named EE, who I don’t think said one word that entire class, but she was soooo cute!! One of the games I played I had two teams and one kid from each team had to stand up and run to the back of the room and touch the wall, then run back and give me a high five. I would call a number, two kids got up and ran to the back of the room and EE jumped up too, all excited, and trotted along trying to find what everyone was apparently doing. I kept stopping randomly throughout my lesson when I saw EE doing some thing and going “Awww!” She apparently learned how to blow kisses to Chris (he’s her real teacher) and he just loved it. 
The way that kids seem to work (at least here, probably back home as well) is that the boys are rowdy and the girls are studious. So we don't like to split up the teams, girls Vs guys, because the girl team with wipe the floor with the boy’s team, because the boys goof off and the girls just don’t as much. Both groups get bored and there’s usually a smart kid in each group but as a whole you have to usually cheat in order for the boys team to win. 
So the rest of the kids in the class were either really smart and knew the answers (because they were in Chris or Dog’s class that just went over this) or they were really shy and didn’t know any of the answers. That was okay though, it's a make-up class. Crazy is in it’s nature. 

My favorite part about teaching is whenever I leave a classroom I always feel like I just came back from playing a game or something. I am in such a great mood and I have lots of fun

I get my class on Friday!! I only teach one class for the first month or so and they’ll work on giving me more classes to teach. So stoked!! 

So yeah over all it was a crappy/great day. Kids are good, bugs + Makenzie = BAD!


Brodie taught her first kindy class today (Pauls way of saying kindergarten). Her class had a substitute today so they told her she didn't have to teach today and that she was just watching, but she told the sub that she was the classes new teacher. His response was “well I don’t have to be here then.” and buggered off, leaving Brodie to figure out what to suddenly teach her class. Real nice, but the class did go well. She loves the kids and they played lots of games today because it was the first day. 
Apparently A.J. (the CIEO guy. Basically everyone’s boss) is coming to evaluate Agile kindergarten on Monday. The teachers were telling Brodie that he likes to watch classes and make sure things are going well and everyone is doing their job. So he’ll pick a teacher and watch their class; specifically the newest teacher so he can see if they are doing a good job. Guess who the new teacher is! So A.J. will probably be following Brodie on Monday, so she has to whip her class into shape before then. GOOD LUCK SIS!!

Love chatting with everyone. And moms going to put our new email (we have one so its easier) on the blog so email us if you want to chat  
(no I'm not - I'm still a paranoid mother who doesn't believe that's a good idea. I have sent out a mass email though and if I missed you let me know and I will pass it on. Thanks-> the Mom)

OH on the eight-block walk home from the metro to our garden there’s a few places that sell buns and cakes. We got two really delicious vanilla buns for 1-kuah! I have about half a billion 1-kuah bills in my wallet and I was very excited to find a place where I could get rid of the 1s.

Love 
Makenzie. 


Brodie’s why I was late my first day. 
Woke up, got dressed and ready to go and got on my first bus. At the bus stop I found bus number 57 and couldn’t remember if it was 57 or 56 that I was supposed to take for the second bus, but I didn’t have time to wait so I hopped on. After about half an hour it was clear that I was on the wrong bus. And I made double sure by texting Kenzie and asking what bus I should have taken. I texted Nick that I’d be late and he texted back “run forest run” lol. So after about an hour I made it back to the bus stop and got on the right bus and made it to agile half an hour late (luckily there was a sub for the first half hour). And it turns out that I would have been late even if I had caught my bus because Gavin (Irish teacher who teaches mini class, who takes the same second bus as me) was also late because there was an 8 car pile up on the road in front of the bus and delayed it a lot.
            The second day I was almost late because I decided to test out a new bus (#5) because I saw it at the bus stop and I had always wondered where it led to. For most of the trip I panicked because I thought It must have been a different 5 bus that I saw at the bus station and this one was taking me on another random detour….but it turns out it just takes an extra long time to get there and I made it to the bus stop and to work with plenty of time to spare.

Love
Brodie


I like to squat and hug my knees. I like to put my head down and lean forward. 

Because that's how I roll


At Liede the girl who’s in charge of schedules is named Christine. She’s my favorite Chinese staff member because (1) she’s the one I know the best and (2) she’s just plain awesome . She’s never met Brodie before and I don’t think I’ve even told her I have siblings but today she saw her. It was Brodie, Chris, Adam and I talking in the foreign teacher’s office after work and Christine came in to ask Adam something. She saw me and said hi, saw Brodie and looked shocked. This was the best reaction, by far, that I’ve ever seen of someone noticing we’re twins. She did a double take and just stared, a look of confusion on her face. Adam tried answering her question but she didn’t hear him and was sort of lost in thought (it was hilarious!). She snapped out of it after a second and then laughed and left, but yeah, I love my job .

I checked out the fancy restaurant underneath the school (which was a shock) I was told by Chris that this was a cheap place to eat at, but he was talking about somewhere completely different. This was expensive fancy food and they had a chef that was famous apparently. Also no one there speaks any English. I ordered the cheapest thing on the menu; it was some kind of beef buns (really tasty; sweet on the outside, beef stew-like stuff on the inside. It sounds gross but it was good). I got it to-go and usually restaurants give you Styrofoam containers but this place gave me a plastic one (now I don’t have to buy one :D I’m so cheep). This restaurant had like eleven fish tanks and was super duper fancy. For some reason they gave me a glass of hot water (I though maybe it was for tea but they didn't bring tea, and it was in a glass not a mug. Weird). 

            So that was the highlight of my day. 

Oh I forgot to mention. We went to Fabric Island (Brodie’s and my nickname for it) and tried to buy buttons from a small booth. I think the lady freaked me out so I had Brodie do the talking. The lady did not speak any English. The buttons were cheap so we figured we’d buy a bunch and so we took out a metal bowl we had just bought and put a button in it. Then the lady shook her hand and said something. We blankly stared at her, she stared back, we put another button in and she did the same thing. I though she was worried we didn’t know that each button was a certain price or something. At some point she had enough of our crazy button grabbing or something and put the buttons back and glared at us. We were like “Ok? We’re missing something important here and its time for us to leave.” So we high tailed it out of there. 
We came across another button place and I asked shyly if they would be mad if we bought buttons. The guy laughed and the girl behind the counter showed us how much everything was. We slowly picked up a few buttons and put them carefully on the counter. The lady put the buttons in a bag and said something in Chinese. We asked the price and she shook her hand and gave us the bag. We looked baffled at the guy and he smiled and waved while saying “Bye bye.” to us. We were completely shocked and confused at why they were free (I figured it was because we bought like 4 kuah worth of buttons and looked like we thought the buttons may explode if we bump them wrong. I love that booth!! 
So yeah, very drastic turn of events with buttons. And the button drama is crazy for some reason.

That's all for now. 

Thanks for reading 
Love 
Makenzie


Today I had my first parent teacher meeting. This is something strictly for the kindergartens, training centers get open classes where the parents watch the class but kindergartens have that AND have to talk to the parents individually… sort of. Most of the parents don't speak English so the Chinese teacher and T.A. talk to them. The foreign teacher comes…says about five minutes of “your child is very good at English. They participate and do very good in class,” (in this meeting I said almost nothing. I would have and then the Chinese teacher and T.A. take over for the next hour and a half…. Ya. A very long meeting with you in a room with three Chinese ladies and all u hear is wha wha wha wha blab la wha blablabla wha wha… said nothing but one of the moms could speak a bit of English and she translated some of the conversation. Then she drove me home because it was late :D go nice mom!). I almost fell asleep a few times. Don’t get me wrong, they are all very sweet and polite and apologetic about keeping me at the school till 8:00pm when I barely said a word, but in all honesty the only reason, it seems, to even have the English teacher there was so the parents could see that there are actually foreigners in the school actually teaching their children (they made a new rule recently where we have to stay an extra 2 hours three days a week. That is also so the parents see foreign faces, and so they can talk to their kids teachers if need be (need doesn’t usually be) I don’t mind because I practically live there anyway, because I have a lot of paper work and stuff to catch up on. But most teachers nap, watch movies or shows on a tablet, or go on the Internet because they nothing to do XP)
            It turns out that since I’m so young and this is first class that I’ve ever had, the Chinese teacher and I had to feed the parents a bit of bull shit so they wouldn’t pull their kids out of the school. The reason is that if they realized that I’m only 19 they wont think I know what I’m doing, and if they learn that this is my first class that will make them think that I REALLY don’t know what I’m doing and won't want their kids being taught by someone who doesn’t know what they're doing. So the “story” that the parents get is that I’m a former teacher at the Liede training center and when the kindergarten needed a teacher they asked Liede for one, and they sent me there. And when the parents ask how old I am the Chinese teacher say that where I come from, asking someone their age is very rude. So the parents have no clue how old I am. I had to add some of my own bull shit when one of the parents asked how long I’ve been in China (there’s no way I could say 1 month or else bye-bye fool proof story. So I told her that I lost track of how long I’ve been here, but I like it very much in China. 
            This morning I was going to wake up at 5:30am so I could get to work extra early because I had been either slightly late or right on time, so I wanted to be early. So I got home around 6pm and was exhausted so I went to sleep. Kenzie got home really late last night because she was hanging out with dog and Chris. And she had insomnia for most of the night and when she finally fell asleap, her phone decided to be evil and an alarm went off at 1am…. *sigh* so Kenzie was really REALLY tired and I was wide awake because I went to sleep early. So we were both awake at a ridiculous hour with completely different problems lol. Luckily we both got back to sleep (we were sleeping in the living room because we have bed bugs in our beds, and the couches are comfier anyway, after the alarm went off Kenzie went to my room to sleep), and then in the morning I woke up and it was daytime… and I had a heart attack. There’s no sun at 5:30am. Looking at my clock I saw it was about 6:40am. (my phone is rubbish and likes to randomly turn off. So it did that and my alarm didn’t go off because It was on the phone) I rushed and got ready in like 5 minutes and woke Kenzie up on the way out the door (she was going to come to work with me to help decorate my theme board, but there was no way that was happening now- she came later though). And the past few days where I was almost late, those days I was experimenting with different busses to find which ones get to the school fastest, and I figured it out and I took that rout today and made it….early. Waking up an hour after I planned I managed to get there early. Go figure. 
            I love my class. They’re sooooo cute. I have the oldest class in the school so they’re the easiest to have because they already know the drill. They’re names are Tony -he’s awesome. He knows where all the class rooms are (I have asked the 6 year old where to go & he handled it like a pro lol), and he’s always the first one to go to the bathroom, drink water, and sit down), Tammy (very silly and easily distracted), Justin (love him. he love, love LOVES games. And I swear he’d play the same game all day if we let him lol. He always has a smile and is adorable and kind of looks like Jayden too), Jack (it was his birthday today, I haven’t gotten to know him very well because he’s very quiet),  Simon, Angel, Daniel, Qian Qian (ch-ian ch-ian she has an English name but keeps forgetting it) Kevin, Cherry, Eric, Season, Sunny, Crystal, Nicol, ………………..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz………. it’s late. I was at school till 8pm. I’m tired. I’ll finish telling you about the class next blog entry.

Goodnight everyone
Brodie

When it rains it pours!




‘When it rains, it pours.’ I understand the origins of that saying now. It rained here for about ten minutes and the street was flooding. Brodie and I were hiding under an umbrella and we still got drenched. The funny part about it was that we were on Facetime with Mom and Dad earlier and had just finished explaining that there had been no rain since we came to China. Not two hours later it rained. Lord you have a great sense of humor ☺. 

Oct 5th 
Brodie and I went to Ikea (yes we found Ikea!) and we bought a bunch of stuff like kitchen supplies. We were carrying everything in a fabric bag and I was walking down the street and the bag broke and so did the plates. The first thing to run through my mind was “Aww, now I’ll have to buy new plates,” The second thing was “those people who clean the streets are gonna be pissed!” Then we quickly picked up the broken pieces and threw them into a garbage can. We were walking over to a taxi when this happened and while we were driving away he tried to ask if we still had the broken plate pieces. I had no idea what he was trying to say for the longest time but it was kinda funny after we figured it out. We probably freaked the taxi driver out with our sharp plate shards. Woops.


Two days left until we teach our first full lesson. Our 90 minute class is on Sunday and I think our written exam is on Tuesday, so we are almost done our training!!

 For the past month we’ve have been watching other teachers while they teach their English classes and we have been getting teaching lessons. Now we are coming to the end of our training and we’re going to be teaching our own classes soon. 
 Our days are long and I discovered recently why that is. Last year they had thirty ACT kids come to China and take this program. They had two months to do the in-class watching (so they watched the kindergarten for the first month and the training center the second month). Since they had the different types of classes so segregated they had the ACT students do a 90 minute class and a kindergarten class as part of their training. Because they had only one class to watch, after they were done they just went out drinking and partying.
We have one month to do what they did with two. We watch both kindergarten and Training centers in one day so by the time we’re done we don’t have the time or energy to even think of going out to party. That part isn’t very upsetting for me but the workload sucks (on the plus side we only have to do one 90 minute class instead of two. ☺) 
Last year the school provided housing but there were thirty kids so it was hectic. One guy told me that there was one house with ten people in it (as far as I know the houses here are made for three to four people) and they completely trashed it. So this year we had to get to the house and check out everything and report any damages within one hour of arriving. It was like four in the morning when we finally arrived so I didn't even care (also Paul told us not to worry about that, it was just for insurance reason because of the last group. If we don't report the broken stuff right away it's the same as if we reported it that hour).
We are allowed to miss one day of classes, any more and we need a doctor’s note. Last year the kids kept getting drunk and calling in hung over. I am proud to say that I have not missed a full day of classes (the only class I missed was the kindergarten on day two when Brodie and I got lost... which I will blog about at some point in time. I asked Paul if that counted as a missed day and he said I’ve missed nowhere near enough days for it to actually be a problem. So yay!). 
Last year the ACT students were placed in a different gated community than the one we’re in and ACT printed booklets for the students to be able to find their way to the school. They printed half a million of these books so this year we each got one. Brodie and I soon found out that the most useful part of that booklet is the metro map. The bus stops and directions are either outdated or for a different garden (gated community) or both.  So we just ask the teachers for directions instead of using the books. I’m so happy that the metro map is there though; I would have been so lost this past month without it.
Today we were told what classes we’re going to be teaching. On a random note: Our homework scores are confidential so I’m not positive but I think I’m at the bottom of my class with scoring. Not that it matters at all because the only good these test scores are is to determine who is getting first dibs at a job… there’s six of us and we’ve had people wanting us to teach at their school since our plane landed so I’m not worried.  So I’m not positive and the way I came to my conclusion was by using my handy dandy detective skills. We were told first week that Allayna was top of the class with most of the homework. Then we were told that Tomi beat her at the last second (those two actually want to be teachers as a career. Tomi has been a teacher’s assistant for a year and they both went to this super intense school for kids who travel around the world. It’s like Math Pure but harder and for all the subjects, not just math. Safe to say I’m not surprised I’m not at the top of the class). So right away we know who the best in the class was. My scores for week one were terrible because I didn't fully understand the homework and bombed it. Brodie did a bit better than me, Kelly did a bit better then Brodie and I don’t know what Olliver had for a grade. I did hear that he did well this last week though. 
My homework grade has gone up now that I know what to do with the journal (we have a journal every week. We’re supposed to watch classes and talk about them. My first journal I got like 70 or something low like that, but my last journal I happily claimed 100% of it ☺. The only issue is my lesson plans, which was the rest of my homework grade. I can figure out half of the page, which would be what level is the class, what are you teaching, estimated problems for students and teacher and so on. This makes up maybe 30% of my mark but when it comes to the procedure (what order I’m going to be teaching the subject matter and how long it’ll probably take) that's when I completely mess it up and have no grasp of how to do the class (and that's why I’m at the bottom of the class, my lack of lesson planning skills). In the long run its not that important but yeah, because I know I’m lacking in these skills I’ve been working really hard to fix the problem and figure out exactly what I’m not understanding.

Wish me luck!


We got a five day vacation! Five!!! We were supposed to have 7 but Chinese people are weird. I know I sound mean but its true. In Canada when we get a vacation we work until our vacation, have our break and then get back to our normal work schedule. In China they work extra hard before and after the break to make up for the workdays they lost during the vacation. (this vacation was one week… I’m suddenly not looking forward to the two week vacations…) 
So anyway, this month the plan was to have a five day work week and have Sunday and Monday off, but for some reason they over looked the holiday (which was the Mid Autumn Festival and National day squashed into one! They had a lot of fire works on October first that we could just barely see over the tall buildings in the distance). Because the holiday was coming up Paul had a meeting with us (or I guess it was more of a chat before he started our teaching lesson) and asked if we wanted to have an extra week after the holiday to finish the lesson or just cram as much of it into the two weeks before the holiday. We picked the later one, which means we worked on Sundays as well and had extra classes to watch. I was practically a zombie by the holiday. 
First thing we did after the classes on Friday is Brodie and I met up with a friend of hers from the kindergarten named Nick and we ended up going to a restaurant thing and played a board game (it was called something like ‘Betrayal at the House on the Hill. Sort of like a hybrid between Clue and Dungeons and Dragons) it was pretty fun, but my character got cursed on the first round and it was just down hill from there for my character.
During the holiday we went with Karl and Hasan, two of the teachers from the Teinhe training center and Sarah, our new room mate, to the zoo (Teinhe sounds like Tea-Anne-Huh. We went to one kindergarten and four training centers all together) (there was a spot where you can go pet and feed giraffes, they had a baby tiger, white tigers and, because of the vacation, so many people you could barely move. The zoo ticket was only 16 kuah so compared to what we expected it was super cheep. 
The next day we went to the water park and stayed the whole day. That park has some awesome slides. There’s one where you're holding onto a tube (like what we use for tubing) and float along a stream thing in a giant circle. That water is heated so it was nice and relaxing. The fun part was that it was hooked up to a wave machine and if you were in the just the right spot the wave would fling you five feet in the air; it was so much fun! I think we stayed in that for like an hour.  There’s another slide that you have a foam mat and you sit on it and slide face first down a waterslide and race other people (there were I think 8 slides side by side). The lifeguard even had a flag and told you who won! Yep that was fun.
The next day Brodie and I decided to go out and try to find a book store because our booklet said that there was an English section on the sixth floor of this massive book store. We had no luck and ended up riding the metro for two hours so we could work on our homework (not sure why that plan was better than doing it at home, but it was way more interesting). The next day Karl was going to the bookstore and showed us that on the fourth floor (the unlucky one!) there’s a room full of English books! He’s kind of a book warm so he recommended a ton of classical and sci-fi books and we left with like ten of them.  and we also checked out the movie theater (which, by the way, was really freaking expensive!! Like 80 kuah each! We didn't know it was going to be that expensive until we were paying for it, but its supposed  to be American equivalent so it was like a fifteen dollars. We watched the movie Looper.
We didn’t see Kelly, Alayna or Tomi for most of the vacation and it sounds like they just went out to the bar every night with a few of the other teacher from the training centers. Tomi was getting used to sleeping in and getting twelve hours of sleep but the night before we had to go back to school she only was able to get about two hours of sleep. She was having a reeaaally long day but I hope tomorrow is better for her.
One thing that keeps happening is there’s this weird siren that I keep hearing. It sounds like a warning bell or something but no one seems to be bothered by it and it’s gone off at least five times since I came to China. I asked one of the Chinese staff what it was the first time I heard it and she told me that they were just doing a practice run. So I don’t know why its gone off so many times but its creepy. 

Well that is what’s been happening. 

Talk to you soon
Love Makenzie 

Oct 10/12
One month exactly since we came to China!

DONE! Our evaluation test where we teach for 90 minutes was on Sunday here, but Adam made us teach a 90 minute class the day before as practice. I can see the logic in that and I’m happy he made us do that but a little heads-up would have been nice. For a month the only thing we’ve taught is maybe 20 minutes or a game. Adam is good at springing stuff like this on us and us not knowing until we have like 30 minutes to prepare. All the other managers who help us figure out our schedule or teach our lessons also do things last minute but Adam’s schedule is usually the one that makes us all think “What?! Why? Noooo!!!” :P. 
My first class went poorly. They were doing construction in the room underneath my classroom and so I had to yell over that noise. Then the kids were trying to talk to each other instead of listening to me and they had to talk over the construction as well. So I was shouting at the top of my lungs for most of the class –I think I almost lost my voice.
Also I had to teach stories (…if you read these books you’d understand why most of the teachers I know and I don’t like teaching the story parts of them. They're odd and kind of annoying to read). The story I taught was called AJ and the Monkey and I have seen this story being taught like five different times. They always tell me to break the story up and make the kids learn each word (Chinese kids have a good memory I hear, and they’ll memorize the story without actually understanding any of it, so you have to break it down and explain it). I have tons of games to use with that so I was getting ready and I only had half an hour to prep for the class. About five minutes before class I asked Jacob (the teacher I was replacing that day and the next day for my evaluation test) what he would do to teach the class (so I had more of an idea of what this class would like and advice on a good teaching strategy. Jacob basically told me that these kids are gong to be standing up in front of their parents and reading the story perfectly, so don’t worry about them knowing it and just get them to memorize it; and that's where my lesson plan died. I had no idea how to get the class to just repeat the sentences in the book over and over AND make it fun. I kind of succeeded and I did learn a lot for tomorrow’s class. 
The evaluation test. Brodie was the first to go at 8:40 am and I was the second to teach at 10:30am, so we were able to leave the training centre pretty early. Kelly’s class was at 5pm but he arrived when Brodie and I did at 8:00am. It seemed weird because he could have slept in and stayed home till his class (which is what everyone else did) but he wanted to hear what advice Adam and Paul gave to everyone so he would hopefully have an easier time in class. Smart. 
Class went okay. I still need to work on my transition from activities to games and I was trying to play a game where two kids run to one side of the room and high five the Teacher’s assistant and then run over and high five me, then I ask a question and the first kid to get it right won. As far as I knew the High Five thing was supposed o slow them down but one kid nearly ran me over. 
Apparently a fight almost broke out in Brodies class and she had no idea until she got her homework back and had docked points for it. My problem was that my lesson was choppy and student safety (high five thing, woops).
Over all I think we did all right. Paul told us that at any point during this 6 months period we were able to retake the test and get a better mark. We are so doing that after we get more practice.
Written exam. At the beginning of training we were given ACT workbooks. I lost my first one, bought a new one, and then forgot it at a training center (the same day I got it >.<) and then Adam asked our room mate to bring the book home and somewhere along the way it got lost at her friends house. So she brought me a book from one of the ACT students from last year (it's a huge binder). It was the longest chapter in the book, grammar (this year they changed the book a little) and so since we had so much homework with that chapter we figured it was on the test. So we worked for hours and rewrote that whole chapter into a notebook and I am so glad we did! There’s two tests a really long one that covers most of the book and a shorter one that is just grammar. I liked the grammar test more than the other one, because I had to write out most of It, I knew where everything was!  
I was the second last to finish the grammar test. Paul told us that the other test was huge and to stretch our legs and go to the bathroom before we started. So after we handed in the grammar test we all did just that. Before the test we were asking how long it would take to complete and Paul said about three hours. We were starting at 2pm and supposed to stop at 5pm but Paul said he’d be fine if we went over time till like 5:30, but after 5:30 we weren’t his friends anymore :P. He was really busy all week and just wanted to go home. Brodie was the first to finish her second test and I was the last to be done my test and I finished at exactly 5:30! I found that pretty funny. 
Tomi, Alaynna and Oliver had already gone home, Kelly had just finished maybe ten minutes before I did so he hadn’t left yet and Brodie was waiting for me to be done. Kelly likes to wander around our garden and see if he can find anything interesting. He found a noodle restaurant and the food was cheep, so we checked it out before going home. Brodie and I order what looked like spaghetti on the menu but turned out to be a huge bowl of noodle soup, which tasted fine too, and Kelly ordered a rice thing. When our food came Brodie and I had chopsticks and a funny looking spoon to use. I was just poicking up the noodles with the chop sticks and ignoring the spoon but Brodie had trouble getting the desired amount of noodles she wanted, so she used the spoon to rap the noodles around the chopsticks and then eat them. It was the funniest way I had ever seen someone eat with chopstick. The owners of the store thought so to and took pity on her by walking over and giving her a fork to use. She just left the fork there, though, and, kept on wrapping up the noodles (which could have been ten feet long, they just went on forever). One of the guys ended up taking a picture, which was even funnier because he didn’t even try to be secretive about it. He sat down at the table next to us, which was like two feet away, and took the picture with the flash on and had a shutter sound. It was hilarious and Brodie tried getting a picture of him just to be funny.
So now I’m at home blogging and all the running around has made me easily stir crazy and I want to go check out the city some more, but we walked around the city so much after our evaluation test to try and get the internet stick working (we went to a store down town, needed a card for us to use, went home, searched the house with no luck but we found the package and thought it might work, went back down town (it takes about 40 minutes to get there from our house), found out that the package was useless and then wandered around the city trying to follow directions to a friends house (no we aren’t bad at following directions, these friends hardly ever take the metro and we always do so they just gave us bad directions because they didn’t actually know.). So by the time we got home my feet wanted to fall off and my ankle still hurts when I walk on it. Staying home it is… but I’m bored.

Oh! Dad I finished Vampire Zero yesterday!!! I did not expect that to happen at all! I mean that Vampire was smart but I thought the fight would be something boring for some reason. At the ending I was like “well that sucks, you didn’t even get good info from that guy with the frozen feet anyway.” I’ve started 23 hours and I’m still trying to figure out how David Wellington is going to have his main character fight vampires in the state that's she’s in, right now. 
Brodies been reading 1984 and is really close to finishing it (which is great for her but sucks for me because she’s almost done an entire book at the same time I just read the second half of a book… same old, same old). She seems to really like it so far  ☺.
Oh. There’s an underpass we take everyday to get the bus/metro and usually there are street venders down there; particularly a lady who sells umbrellas and socks, who we  like to call the ‘Umbrella lady’. Brodie and I say hi to her when ever we see her and she usually smiles and says hi back. Well the other day we walked past and said hi but she was reading something and didn't hear us, so we just continued down the tunnel. We were close to half way down the tunnel (she’s right next to the entrance) when suddenly we heard shouting and turned to see what it was. The umbrella lady was waving and trying to say hi to us. That was awesome and made mine and Brodie’s day ☺. 

Today at 2 we have to be at the Tienhe training center for our final grades ☺.

That's all for now

Love 
Makenzie


Oct 11/12

Alrighty we are just about finished and able to start teaching. We took the open book test and got 90s! (it’s open book so if you failed its really dumb but I’m still excited at the high grade anyway ☺. And one funny thing about this is for the first time, EVER, my grades are higher than Brodies when it has nothing to do with art! Its so weird!).
Yesterday all of the ACT students were signing contracts and all that fun stuff, except for Brodie and I.  Four of us were wanting to work at a kindergarten and the other two liked training centers, and as it always works out, there was over five training centre openings and only one kindergarten… ouch. Tomi actually wants to be a teacher as a career and basically called dibs the moment we stepped off the plane, so she got it. Kelly also wanted kindergarten but Paul figured he’d be perfect in this new training center that has just opened. Allayna and Oliver went to the same training center as Chino and that left Brodie and I.  Paul told us that there are two training centers we could go to. Tenhe (tea-an-huh),which is our favorite one and the one that Ally and Olie went to, or Leida (lay-a-duh) which is were Adam works at… he told us explicitly that if a teacher does something he doesn’t like at the school (like plays movies all the time instead of teaching) that he goes out of his way to try and fire them… so yeah… jumped on that opportunity. Apparently though he made a request to Paul to have me work there. No idea why, but I now really want to work there just to figure it out, Brodie on the other hand wants to avoid Leida like the plague. BUT Paul told us that there’s a chance we could work at a kindergarten! We would have to both take the metro and taxi to work every morning and night and that would take 90 minutes if we’re lucky or move. So naturally Brodie didn't hesitate to tell him we were all for moving if it meant a kindergarten. It would be easier to take that long trip to go visit everyone instead of going to work that way. The thing is that originally the school wanted two teachers, then they had a teacher’s interview and declared they only needed one (the Chinese staff like to count their chickens before they hatch), then they needed two and then one and then Paul figured no one was willing to move that far away and said we weren’t interested. So now he is calling and seeing if they still need two teachers. In the mean time we might have to work at a training center until a spot opens up (we’d probably go to Tenhe). 
We haven’t signed anything yet and are still waiting on the schools answer. We’ll keep you posted.

We made an awesome discovery that the bakery next to our garden has Wifi!! We were in the middle of the city looking for an Irish bar that had Wifi and a VPN when Allayna told us about the bakery but that's okay ☺. This is defiantly waaaaay easier to get to so I’m happy. We’ve been told that our Internet may be coming next week or the week after (which is what they thought since we got to China) so we’ll see.

Thanks for reading

Love you lots!
Makenzie.