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.

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.

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.


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.


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 

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

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


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!

October 10th Blog entry:


Okay this week has been a bit complicated. First off we went to sign contracts. Paul talked to each of us and gave us the option of where we could work. Oliver and Allayna got contracts to work at Tianhe, Tomi is now working at a kindergarten that we've never been to and Kelly went to a brand new training center that just opened up.  Kenzie and I wanted to go to a kindergarten but there were only training centers left (Tomi go first dibs at the kindergarten because she wants to make a career out of it). So the options we were left with were to work at training centers or (if they had 2 spots open) move to Foshan to work at the kindergarten there (it's like 90min away by train). We told Paul that we would probably be willing to move in order to get a kindergarten so he looked into what our options were. Two days later he contacted us. We had spent those two days figuring out where we wanted to go (and buying groceries and a backpack because the shoulder strap bags were killing my back XP) and we had talked to one of our neighbors who warned us that Foshan  kind of  sucks to live if you're used to being able to find foreign stores, and things like that (I've been kind of depending on foreign stores) so we wanted to go and check out Foshan for ourselves to see if we'd be willing to live there... we had no clue how to get there so after about an hour of searching the internet and maps for bus and train routs (and an address to the school) we finally gave up (but we decided that we want to go see Foshan before we come back to Canada). So Paul got back to us and said there were 4 spots open. Unfortunately it was 1 at Foshan, 1 at Agile (the kindergarten we've been going to all month) 1 at Tian he and 1 at Leide. The only course of action that made any sense was to take the two training centers so our schedule's would at least some what match up. Kenzie took Leide (because that's Dogs training center and Dog scares me. But Kenzie isn't bothered by him and he actually requested that she work at his training center so it worked out) and I took Tian he (which was where I wanted to work in the first place three weeks ago when I wanted to work at a training center). 

Paul said that January is the end of the semester and there's a possibility that kindergarten positions will open up. He's going to keep us posted on that. 

-Love Brodie

Really from October 3rd.

I'm boycotting mosquitos!

Ni hao to everyone at home (that about wraps up 50% of the Chinese I know so far XP lol) I'd like to start this blog with an apology for not being as active on this blog as I should be. This month has been nuts... but oddly structured... controlled chaos I guess...... I don't know, doesn't matter. Anyway the past few weeks have been going great, we've learned so much about teaching in such a short amount of time it's hard for me to believe. Paul (if I havent mentioned this yet he's one of the top managers of the training centers, and also in charge of the ACT program that we're doing) he said that people have teaching personas that only are seen in the classroom. For example, Mark, one of the other managers (he just manages one school though but he's helping with the program) outside of class he's pretty relaxed and goofy but once he's teaching he looks somewhere between a drill Sargent and a crazy person. He gets crazy eyes, yells commands across the room with no warning and the kids get less than 5 seconds to accomplish any given task (not including things that take some time of course). But as crazy as he seems, his class looks like one of the more fun and successful classes because the kids are constantly on their toes with anticipation of his next move. I think my teaching persona so far involves my voice. I'm loud and sudden so I think I startled a few kids (which was my goal lol).
I'm pretty sure most of my stories are going to involve people I've met here, so I'll give you a list of all of them:

The ACT  group:

Tomi, she's canadian but moved to different countries for a good portion of her life and her parents and siblings currently live in Dubai. her and Kelly got off to a rough start and completely hated each other for the first week, but now their getting along (mostly because Oliver told Tomi to knock it off)
Alayna. she's canadian as well and she's the daughter of a librarian and he dad's job has something to do with physics or a university I think (she told me a few weeks ago and I don't remember). her personality is very orange (even though she doesn't believe us or give us time to explain what that even means XP very frustrating afternoon) but shes really nice and easy to get along with.
  Kelly, even though he has a girls name, he's a guy. Also from Canada, he's a pretty mellow guy who likes beer (but never seems to get drunk) and when the group walks down streets to get food or to find the next school, Alayna, Tomi and Oliver usually stick together and talk, and Kenzie and I hang out with Kelly. He hated Tomi's attitude and was constantly annoyed until she decided to be nicer, now they get along fine.

Oliver, our groups resident Australian, which is pretty cool. He (like Tomi) moved around a lot in his life and was actually born in Thailand. For the past 6 years he's lived in China and he's friends with a bunch of the teachers because they're from the same football team (soccer. lots of British people here). his accent makes me laugh because it sounds like some kind of Australian chinglish sometimes (chinglish being what chinese people sound like when they speak english and don't pronounce the words properly. He's become extremely germaphobic since moving here. His backpack never touches the floor (it gets a seat when the group goes to restaurants to eat), Tomi dropped her water bottle one time and he tried to not give it back to her because of all the germs it had now lol. I think he and Tomi like each other. He's a lot less socially awkward and looses that looks-uncomfortable-in-his-own-skin expression when he talks to her.

Sarah, she's our new room mate. they kind of sprung her on us without much warning. It was pretty much the night before she came Mark was like "Btw you're getting a new room mate. but thats all I know right now) we didn't hear anything about her till just before she got here, but Sarah's great! Isn't loud or obnoxious, doesn't make a mess, very polite, helps out with the shopping, the three of us went to the zoo with Karl and Hasan the other day, it was pretty fun.

At the kindergarten children start school at age 2 and then finish kindergarten and go to the next level at age 6. So the students are split up into different catagories based on their age: mini=2 year olds, small=3, medium=4, and big=5.
    The teachers I know are:
Beth. she teaches a mini class. She's from England and loves to talk about hot guys lol.

Brandon. he has a big class I believe. He's from Canada and has been teaching in China for 7 years. Every friday his class has a little party and he brings in pop and chips and stuff.

Nick. me and Nick are best buds, but don't get to hang out that much because of the ACT schedule, but we text all the time and he's really good at helping with homework. He's also a giant nerd which is awesome! Yesterday Kenzie, Nick and I played a super nerdy board game that I assume is similar to dungeons and dragons where you add pieces to the board as you go. He also has crude humor sometimes and his mind goes in the gutter sometimes. Usually its hilarious but it annoys Kenzie to no end lol.

Luke. he has a medium class. I think out of all the kindergarten teachers i've seen at that school, he's the one with the most control of his class. they're like dancing monkeys that do whatever he says, its awesome XD. I'm not 100% sure where he's from but it's definitely North America.

Natasha. she's one of the people from last years ACT group (there was 32 last year btw, very roudy and crazy), I think of all the teachers she is the weakest one as far as control. she's got a lot of things working against her, 1) she doesnt have a very good reward system. She tells the kids they'll get candy or stickers if their good and either forgets or decides that they were bad later and the kids don't see the stickers (this isn't for everything but it happens a lot) 2) I think she has trouble getting the kids to know what she wants so they get confused a lot and misbehave. 3) her life teacher is out to get her (in the kindergarten there are three teachers in the classroom aside from you. The teaching assistant, chinese teacher who does other classes like art with the kids, and the life teacher who gets the kids food and milk and stuff) this lady is constantly undermining Natasha's authority, trying to change systems and games that Natasha organized to make it more confusing, hiding supplies for the class, and being really mean to the kids and sometimes slapping them (btw if a kid gets hurt in the class its seen as the teachers fault and the teacher gets in trouble) so ya, that class isn't going over so well.

Stanley. I've never actually seen his class, but he's the manager for the kindergarten and I hear he has like 5 jobs or something crazy he has to juggle so he's always late. He's a tall Jamaican guy I think, based on his accent, but I could be wrong.

Dorothy. She's from Poland. she has either a big class or medium class. She's really nice, has three kids, and hates it when her class screams, hate hate haaates it! She made them sit quetly for a little while before they could go out and play because they were too loud.

D.J. teaches one of the younger classes. He has a wife and a newborn baby.

Jody does the same thing Paul does, except with the kindergarten instead of the training centre. He's always so busy so we don't see him very often. He's just as mellow as he was when we met him in Canada for the CIEO seminar.

Training center

(Dongshanko training center)

Mark he's the manger for the dongshanko training center (sounds like donkey show lol) he's from Las Vegas. It was him and Paul who picked us up from the airport. He's pretty relaxed (unless he's in class) and had crazy hair for the two weeks we were here, but he got a hair cut so he looks less goofy. It's him and Paul that we can call at any time if there's a problem.

Alex, she was part of the ACT group last year. She's Canadian and a total party girl and when she's in class she's like the girl verson of Mark's teaching persona. It's pretty cool because Mark's one of the best teachers I've seen.

Kristen she's American. She's not that bad of a teacher but I think compared to the other three teachers she'd be the weakest one, but her students love her and like coming to her class.

Erin she's from last years ACT class. She's good friends with Alex, and she's a great teacher.

(Toujin Training center)

Adam (dog) He grew up in Toronto with Paul and got his nickname because when he was a skateboarder he would put his leg in a funky poition to kick at the ground, but it looked like a dog leg so that's what Paul called him. He's a very no nonsence guy. Kind of intimidating and pretty much scared the crap out of me the first few weeks here, but I got over my fear when I had to teach part of a class with him watching. He manages a training center (small one- theres only 2 foreign teachers), and a kindergarten that I've never been to. He's an alright guy once you get to know him.

Neal I haven't known Neal for very long, but I had the opportunity to watch (and help teach) a few of his classes. He's a pretty fun guy, and he likes to bring candy for his kids when he goes home for vacations.

Steve we met Steve the day Kenzie and I got lost. When we finally found a phone and called Paul, he sent Dog to pick us up, and for whatever reason we got taken to a teachers meeting (which is where we met a whole bunch of them like Chino, A.C.Ritch, Dog, etc) I'm pretty sure he's the oldest teacher working in CIEO but he's really goofy. Occasionally creepy, but mostly goofy.

(Tian he training center)

Chris (chino) he's British, and is Erins boyfriend. he's the manager for Tian he training center, (sounds like tea-en-huh) it's pretty funny because he's slowly becoming Canadian. He walked around with a rough riders hat, knows a lot about hockey and whats going on with the teams, and I think I even heard him say "eh" one time lol.

Hasan he's of Arab decent but grew up in Detroit. He's Sharks room mate and he recently bought a rabbit from a street corner where they were selling them for meat. 

John one of the ACT students from last year. He has one of the craziest classes I have ever seen and I have a whole new respect for him because of it. He has a tired look on his face all the time and always manages to be broke (at least this month). He's an anime nerd, between classes I've seen him reading manga online.

Karl (Shark) he's from Detroit. He spent a good part of his life doing charity type things (would take his dog to hospitals with kids who have been abused by people with mean dogs, so they could see a well trained one and break the cycle so they don't grow up and train mean dogs. He also was in Africa with the peace core, it's pretty funny because he's tall, bald, and has a red beard so he's quite scary but he's the nicest guy you'll ever meet. (btw he's nicknamed Shark because there's a chunk missing from his leg and he tells people that a shark bit it off) he's also scifi and anime nerd.

Adam (A.C. Ritch) has an amazing memory. No one calls him A.C. Ritch except Paul, Kenzie and I (except to his face because the nickname isn't too well known and theres no risk of confusing him with Dog.

Jacob a mellow teacher, I've only seen his class once.

Aloy (Chocolate) he's from Africa, and he's so tall his head almost touches the roof. His class is amazingly controlled, he pretty much just has to write something on the board or hold up a sign and the class runs around to set up a game or calls out the words he wrote.

Alana, she's a pretty good teacher. she was part of the ACT group last year and we first met her on the trip over here. She likes to play 20 questions with her class as a warm up, and she picks really obscure random places for her answers. The one I saw was like the fifth largest city in Australia or something.

So now that I've introduced everybody, what should I talk about..

I HAAAAAATTTTEEEEE mosquitoes!!! They're driving me crazy! I am coated in mosquito bites that blow up to three times the normal size and are twice as itchy. Some of them broke open too, so now their itchy, pussy and disgusting! Makes me want to have an after-bite bath and live in bug spray. One of the buggers bit the tip of my nose so now i look like Rudolf, and I easily have 18 on my leg. The mosquitoes in China aren't even like the ones in Canada. Back home you can see them.. hear them coming... practically sense their presence.. and feel them when they bite you so you stand a chance.. in China they're like babies. Imagine a fruit fly. Now add big wings, long legs and a stinger and you have Chinese mosquitoes. They're almost silent (unless you're in a quiet room by yourself), you almost can't see them, and even when they land on you their almost invisible. But I'm way more allergic to these ones evidently...... ok maybe I shouldn't be ranting so much about stupid bugs, but they've kept me awake some nights (one night I didn't get to sleep till 5am then I think I woke up at 7 or 8am) and all day every day I have this annoying constant itching everywhere. It's like eczema (I know some people here that have it, not fun). so forgive me if i'm a little bitter at the mosquitoes.

     On a different note, I made a slightly depressing and disheartening discovery recently. Apparently there isn't just two dialects of Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin) there's over a hundred! Every small town, village and city has there own and no one could communicate with each other so they made Mandarin to be a unifying language that everyone will know as well as their home dialect. But Neal mentioned something about how 'mandarin is an orange not a language', so I'm assuming that that plan didn't blow over so well. So now there're thousands of Chinese people walking around and every one of them will give you a different version of the same word.... it's kind of frustrating actually. So I think I'm going to focus my efforts on reading and writing in chinese, and let Kenzie work on speaking it because for whatever reason she's crazy and not dismayed by the language collage.
    Karl lent me and Kenzie a book. it's called 1984 by George Orwell. so I'll let you know how it is when I'm done reading it. The beginning s good so far.
     When I got here I was looking forward to winter. I thought, "I'm Canadian I can handle positive 15 degrees any day..... but then some of the teachers let me know about the other aspect of winter. How damp it is- your clothes don't dry for weeks (and most people don't have dryers), it's like walking around soaking wet in the fall, and the houses aren't exactly built for winter either. We have an air conditioner, patches of house that don't close to the elements, and no heater (loving the thought of warm sweaters. Thank you Gramma). Also the towels have been awesome and the clothes that we brought from Canada are ten times stronger than the ones here. A vest that Kenzie bought started unraveling 2 days after she got it (both kinds of clothes were made in the same place but one is stronger... figure that one out).
     We have a 5 day vacation before we finish our classes and take our final exam. so we went to the zoo (bad idea it was crowded to the extreme. Imagine crowded... then imagine China crowded 0.0 I'm amazed we all managed to stick together). The next day we went to the water park, which was AWESOME! There were long line ups but the rides were so worth it. Definitely everyone's favorite ride was one where you get a tube and ride around this long ring shaped pool path that has waves, and beside it there's a fake volcano that erupts sometimes and played exciting music as your being swept down the man-made river. I'm pretty sure we stayed on that one for an hour easily lol.
     Today Kenzie and I had homework to do. But over the past month we haven't had one day where we just stay in our house the whole day. So we got hungry and stir crazy and decided to find somewhere else to do homework. We were thinking of this huge book store (because that would be quiet and have places to sit right? wrong.) it was crazy busy, and the little write up about it in our ACT guide book was totally wrong. The 6th floor is not the English section so don't listen to it (we found some good books on writing in chinese and maps and I found a book on the great wall of China that has half english and half Chinese. I figured out that the symbols for "great wall" look like "K thx" lol). What we did find was a face massage mask that scared me because I didn't know what it was and the chinese lady put it on my head and it pushed above and below my eyeball and I almost had a complete panic attack in the bookstore/mall place. By the end of the massage I was very relaxed though, almost fell asleep (I would have if I wasn't paranoid about people robbing me in my sleep lol). So after stopping to eat we decided to just go back to the metro and wound up doing our homework just sitting on the train for hours (when it hits the end of the line, turns out you can't just stay on and keep riding, because that makes people mad and they kick you off) after that we came home and attempted and failed to facetime back home. Then Alayna felt homesick and wanted to call back home and Paul's phone was the only one she could do that with (and Kenzie currently had it) so we went out and met her to give the phone to her, and had a good chat about her vacation so far (our group pretty much broke into two groups at the beginning of the vacation and we hadn't seen them since lol). Then kenzie and I got something to eat and ran into one of the security guards we know at the store (it's amazing how everything's funny when no one understands each other. I think 90% of the time that im laughing here it's because I tried to talk to a chinese person and they totally didn't get it XP). So now I'm back in my apartment typing half asleep. I think i'll go to bed now.... goodnight everybody, hope you're having a blast in Canada.

-miss you all, Brodie.