Sunday, October 21, 2012

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.

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