Perhaps one of the most ironic things about China, is that despite its lack or interest in taking care of the environment in any way, shape, or form, there is clearly some good citizen in the city planning department that thought they should post signs about keeping the grass nice. These signs are all over the Kaifeng parks and all over the Henan University campus. They almost always result in some ridiculous Chinglish. Whenever I spot a new one it’s the highlight of my day!
Pictured above from left to right are Qin, Joe, and Eli. Joe is participating in something called the shirt roll– a technique used by men to cool themselves down on a particularly hot day. I have seen so many gross Chinese stomachs that I almost want to DIG my eyes out.
Following closely on the heels of ‘Students that care’ are my two reading classes. I taught these students both semesters and it was always a pleasure. Classes were never dull, and the students challenged me every bit as much as I challenged them. I feel like I learned a lot about literature as they learned.
I really appreciate these two classes.
This is Da Li Tang. The main auditorium on campus.
This is an embroidered picture of Da Li Tang, given to me on behalf of my Ph.D. class today (how the hell do I get this home? It’s HUGE). This week I’ve received a notebook filled with beautiful messages from my reading class as well as a really genuine notebook filled with special pictures and memories from one of my best students. On my birthday, one of my better students gave me a book that was significant to her and expressed her feelings about the class. My point here isn’t that these students are giving me gifts… It’s that in some small way, I (and the other foreign teachers) have made a difference.
On Tuesday, Marlie and I took out to dinner a group of students who are particularly special to use. At the end, one of them broke down in tears and began apologizing for asking too many questions and for being a bad student. It seems, in many ways, that this year has been a spectacular success. I believe we’ve pushed many of our students to think and express themselves in ways that they have never thought possible. Although the change isn’t significant in terms of numbers, there are a lot of students now who are more ‘free’ (in terms of thought) than they’ve ever been before. This post is for the students who care. As the time winds down, I realize more and more that I will really, really miss them.
Oh the Mailjazz Westem Cak… what? I can’t wait until I can read signs again… I can’t wait until the English is right.
Just what does this spray-painted message in the middle of rural China say? We encountered it on our adventure to Kaifeng’s coal burning plants, but we were unsurprised when we confirmed that it in fact says: “No Pooping,” or the eloquent equivalent in Chinese.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, pooping or peeing on the street and in other public places is a simple fact of life here. It’s not uncommon to see a child urinating on the street with little worry. Or to see an older person coaxing, even arguing with their child to go on the street.
(I did not take this photo. I am too bashful to take such a photo. This photo is from http://blog.emilyminor.com/, a lovely blog about life in Shanghai.)
Often, you will see an older chinese person holding the legs of a baby open so that they can do their business. They hold them over highways, curbs, and even bags!
My personal favorite time I’ve witnessed such an event,was when I was on the 34 hour train from Shenzhen to Kaifeng in February. Sitting in the lower bunk of my compartment was a family with a one year old child. Throughout the course of the train ride they continuously held the child over a paper bag in order for it to pee. The bag, of course, broke and leaked urine all over the floor. Diapers. Diapers. Diapers.
(I did not take this picture. It is from the Shanghaist).
Walking on a street in China requires extreme concentration, or else you WILL become a shitwalker. Be careful. Be conscientious. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!
I started teaching at DaShan at the very beginning of March. Every Sunday I catch a bus to the downtown area and meet with my two 16 year olds for an hour. They’re a real ray of hope as they aren’t yet jaded by the system. We’ve enjoyed watching Hoosiers and talking about fun ways to fix the problems that are inherent in the Chinese system. Sometimes I think I push the limits for what I should be talking about with them, but they’re incredibly intelligent and capable young individuals. DaShan pays decently, but aside from the money aspect it’s just an all around good time!