Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Culture & Cake Fights

I'm very aware of the cultural differences here.  Learning all I can about Chinese culture is one of my favorite things about living in China.  For the most part, it's all good or interesting, but every so often I find out something that is a bit heart breaking.  

This week I was grading my papers for my freshmen.  I asked them to tell me about the biggest surprise they've ever received.  Most of them talked about some birthday in their life where they didn't realize it was their birthday until their friends surprised them.  I had somewhere around 10 papers that told me their biggest surprise was a birthday when their father gave them a birthday gift... for the first time.  Almost all of these students said that this happened when they were about 15-20.  One girl said she and her brother thought their father disliked them because he never talked to them, but one year he bought her a gift.  She said the gift wasn't the best part, it was her father showing that he loved her.  UGH.  Those papers aren't easy to read.  

Teaching has been the best way to learn so much about this place.  I get to learn so much through their papers, I get to go hang out with them and have them show me food they like to eat, and I get to just learn about them.  They all have such interesting stories and it's such a blessing to get to know them and listen to what they have to say. 

Major topic change: I've been on a big tofu kick this week.  Thai noodles with tofu, tofu salad sandwiches, tofu ricotta grilled cheese, tofu ricotta & nutella filled french toast.  Yup.  I like tofu.  Weird.  But yesterday I needed lemon juice to make the ricotta.  I went to a new grocery store in the morning (it reminds me of Costco for some reason) and they didn't have lemons.  I needed bread so I went to another grocery store to grab that and look for lemons.  No luck.  In the afternoon I went to 2 more grocery stores: no lemons.  After going to 4 street markets, I gave up.  I had limes already.  Those worked.  Really though?  How hard is it to get lemons here?  Apparently, impossible this week. 

Tutoring yesterday was the most fun I've had yet!  I taught them the 'No more monkeys jumping on the bed' song and they LOVED it.  This one boy, Gordon, just melts my heart every time I look at him.  I want to take this kid home with me (don't worry, I know I can't).  One of the girls turned 8 yesterday so her mom brought in cake and they all got in a frosting fight, which I was dragged into of course.  It was a great night.

Finally, a video of where I tutor.  There were a few kids missing last night.  The little boy is Gordon.  He kept asking what his English name meant.  And the girls are just chasing each other, waiting for cake.
Cake fight. About 1/5 of what actually happened.

We were the cleanest ones in the fight.  Some of them had their entire arms and faces covered. 
Tomorrow my friend is taking me to the countryside for the day to celebrate Qing Ming Jie.  It's Tomb Sweeping Festival.  I'm very anxious to see what happens.  My camera is charging and I plan on having something cool to take pictures of.  It could just be a lot of good food, but that is totally alright with me!

Here's to the start of month 10!! I can't believe I'm 3/4 through the year already.  I still have 4 months to go though!

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