Greetings all, just got home from a long day of teaching. Classes go by very fast and are really no trouble anymore, so that is good. The kids are well behaved and intelligent overall, but it really is shocking how unimaginative the vast majority of them are. Today I had students play a game where they had to say 3 things: one thing had to be a lie, and two things had to be true. They would get a card (a reward) if the first person to guess did not guess which of the 3 was a lie correctly. I gave them examples and expected to hear some interesting and funny responses. The first person to go said “I will eat tonight. I will go to sleep tonight. I will go to Beijing tonight.” Obviously the lie was discovered immediately. After about 6 people used 2 of “I will sleep tonight…I will eat tonight…I will go home tonight,” I explained that using these obvious true statements made it too easy to guess what is a lie. I then gave multiple examples, and some of them started to understand. I was pretty stunned at how bad they were at just coming up with something on their own, and most of the time I do have classes try to make up their own story/game/activity, they just try to copy something directly from the book. Creative thinking just isn’t viewed as positively here (Confucius quote at bottom is a good example of why), and it makes teaching a little bit different.

I think we are basically over the initial culture shock that we felt since we arrived here. Things aren’t as strange or amusing as they were not very long ago, they just are the way they are. That being said, there are some things that will be impossible to get used to and which will always be somewhat shocking. I have mentioned the lack of logic used by drivers, bikers and pedestrians, but another frustrating thing is just the general lack of quality. Things just don’t last here, because things aren’t BUILT to last. Buildings are built quickly and cheaply and are expected to either collapse or be torn down in 30-60 years. That isn’t really shocking or noticeable, but walk through the grocery stores and you will be shocked by lots of things. One of these things is the lack of freshness/cleanliness with most of the produce, but that isn’t as glaring as things that have expiration dates. Every single type of cheese that the supermarket had was AT LEAST 3 months expired. Most of these cheeses were in a refrigerated aisle and had visible mold on them. Anything with a shelf life of less than a year is expired and the more expired they are, the lower the sales go. The cheese passed the 3 months expired mark, so they were on a nice sale, but its just amazing to me that nobody seems to even care. The expiration dates are written in Chinese, but I guess nobody looks at them, cares, or understands them. If you can’t beat them, join them, so more very expired cheese for me! Yummy!

Alrighty, another day of teaching awaits us tomorrow. We are both excited and ready to go to Hong Kong, because it is still pretty darn cold here. I don’t know how people deal with this kind of weather all the time, but if you don’t know any better or have no way of moving, I guess you just make do. Get on skype if you want to chat. Please help me with my St. Baldricks event (thanks Gabby and Danny for being the first to donate!!!!):

The Master said, “He who sets to work upon a different strand destroys the whole fabric.” Analects, 2.16 (I and most Americans would probably strongly disagree with this statement)