Sunday, 10 November 2013

Happy Singles Day 1 1 1 1

Today is Singles Day in China - its the 11/11 so auspicious numbers for singles. I do not know if this is a Hallmark anniversary or a bona fide Chinese anniversary - I guess wikipedia will tell us:

Singles' Day,or One's Day or Guanggun Jie (Chinese光棍节pinyinGuānggùn JiéWade–Giles: Kuang-kun chieh; literally "bare sticks holiday") is a pop culture entertaining holiday on November 11 for young Chinese to celebrate their bachelor life. The date is chosen for the connection between singles or bachelors and the number '1'. There is a substantial population of young single men in China, contributing to the popularity of the day.[1] This holiday became very popular among young Chinese people. In recognition of the day, young bachelors organize parties and Karaoke to meet new friends or try their fortunes.

Singles' Day or Bachelors' Day was initially celebrated at various universities in Nanjing during the 1990s, and originated from Nanjing University in 1993. It got the name "Singles' Day" because the date consists of four "ones". These college students have since graduated, and carried the university tradition into society. Singles' Day has been largely popularized in the internet era and is now a special day for all fashionable youths.

Anyway I'm stuck on Campus so no 'Singles Life' for me.  I have housework to do and today is also the start of the Mid Term Exams so no lessons but I have to invigilate a couple of exams later this afternoon.

 Its been a busy two weeks since I last posted. We've celebrated Halloween, had a visiting academic from Plymouth University, had an international day and I've attended two art gallery openings and made new friends.

Halloween was fun. I'm not a great fan of Halloween back home, but here its expected that you take part and get involved with the kids fun.  So I made a costume out of black rubbish bags and bought the hat and other accessories. Al;l of the school took part in some for or other, but the International Department had a party with games and fun and later horror films.

My costume

Julia and me, Julia is the Head Teacher for the Seniors

The pumpkin I made outside my flat. After the days events the kids came Trick or Treating to Stephen and my doors where we gave them candles for their pumpkins and sweets.

Some of the costumes, which ranged from a Banana to one of the boys dressing up as a girl!

A few of the kids had on 'Cos-Play' costumes.
 Stephen and Asce
 The juniors making their pumpkins

In the evening, after classes, so at 9 pm, we went out with the Chinese teaching staff to a bar for a couple of drinks and some fun. 

Its a local western style bar, Stephen and I found so we had drinks and snacks. The Chinese teaching staff are good fun and very friendly. To be out after 9 on a school day is unusual for them. In fact a couple of them live in the dorms which are locked after a certain time so they have to be in. I don't know how they managed this evening. 


Stephen, Ann our boss, Sheri, Jerrys girlfriend and Jerry.

Ann, our line manager.

Stephen and I paid for the whole evening out, for about 10 of us, with drinks and food it was 600 yuan - about £60. Thats reasonably cheap and for us gives us huge bonus points. Ann thinks she might be able to claim the money back from the school as part of the Halloween event expenses, but we have told her that if she does, put the money in the pot for the next Teachers night out - which we think is a Hot Pot night in about a week or so.

Its Orange season in China, so there are millions of Oranges everywhere. people sell them off the backs of lorries loaded with them 10 for 10 yuan - about £1. Or a big bag of the mini mandarins which are especially sweet for 5 yuan or 50p. 

On the Saturday, after my classes, I stayed in town to meet up with a visiting Academic that I had invited to my school from Plymouth University. Dr. Patrick Holden. We had a drink and were joined by one of the teachers from my school, Chen Chen, who then took us to a Beijing Duck Restaurant. 

Then on the Sunday me and Snooky went down town to meet up with Patrick again and I took him to the Fuzimiow area of Nanjing which is a tourist spot containing a Confucius Temple.  As dogs are not allowed on public transport so I've had to buy a bag to shove Snooks in for the journeys. 

Patrick at Fuzimiow

Snooks made a new friend too

 Patrick was feeling a bit unwell so he retired to his hotel mid afternoon and Snooks and I jumped on the Metro to go to an Art Gallery opening that we had been invited too. This was at the far end of the Metro line but still in Jiangning which is the area I live in. Jo Jo, in the pink (below) and the artist with me and snooks.

This is me, Konstantin a Russian Sculptor, Barbara a mad American woman (in the hat), a Canadian woman and Mark a Brit.
Shots of the gallery

I'm not too sure if I liked the art, but it was good to go to and make new friends, both expats and Chinese. Snooks also met a Chinese dog there too.

Later I went with Konstantin for a meal. In the restaurant they wanted me to put Snooks in a box! You can guess what I said!

This is the Wending Plaza which is near to the new art gallery and where the new photography gallery is

In the restaurant that wanted me to box Snooks

Boys on the Metro on the way home

On Monday Patrick came to our school where first we had lunch in a private room in the canteen

This is the principle (middle) flanked by Jerry and Shawn and Julia.

Patrick with Ann and Sheri

The main problem for me with these formal meals is that they are generally made up on lots of offal and fat. I ate ducks gizzards mistaking them for tofu strips and had to pass on a lot of it. Fortunately there is often a selection of vegetables so I can pick at them and have some of the more identifiable meat.

Then Patrick gave a lecture to the International Department kids. 

This week I was also covering Stephens classes as he was in Shanghai doing a CELTA qualification.  So I was busy. But I was invited out on Tuesday evening to the Wending Plaza to meet up with Mark and Konstantin for dinner.

A sweet and sour vegetable dish
 Spicy Cabbage
 A meat dish
 The girl on the left is Marks girlfriend Ariel I think she's called. 
 This is Lily a Portuguese teacher - teaching Portuguese at a local University


On Wednesday evening I had students around my place helping me make a pumpkin, carrot and apple soup for there next days International Day - So they were put to work chopping and peeling.

This is Jeremy and Niven from my Senior A class

This is Eva and Ira

The soup

And delicious it is too

Then my willing sous chefs washed up!

Sandwiches, or at least the makings of sandwiches were made in the office on Thursday

This is Ann, Shawn and ???

The International Event was held in the canteen - each table had the makings of sandwiches put on it.(not the whole canteen btw, just about 6 tables)

The seniors were setting something else up

This is the ground floor of the canteen, there are two floors for the 3000 kids and a 3 floor for staff

Stuart a Canadian colleague, was to teach the kids how to make a sandwich

Eva and Ira playing a clapping game

Cheri and Grace two teacher colleagues

Of course we were filmed

Stuart taught sandwiches and I taught soup!

On Friday after school I was off to Wending Plaza to meet up with Konstantin for the opening of a Photography Gallery called Logos. The opening show was by a Spanish Photographer. It was quite busy and of course there was wine and nibbles. Lots of students.

This is JiHanqiu a girl I met, with her boyfriend on Wednesday, when he was practising a speech he was making at a speaking competition. 

Some Finnish students who are hear learning Chinese

Finnish boys

Mark, the owner of the gallery/coffee bar

JiHanqiu's boyfriend, Jack. They are a cool couple. 


We went for dinner later Konstantin, JiHanqiu whose English name is Jane I think, and her boyfriend, for pizza which was not too good. 

Saturday was back to teaching

This is Lucia! (Which is also the name of my daughters mum!)

By Saturday evening I was exhausted so made it back home and watched a DVD and went to bed early. Yesterday, Sunday, I went back into town to meet up with AJ and Steve for a few beers and chat. 

So its been a busy time.  Today its Mid Term exams, so no teaching, just invigilating a couple of exams. 

We're now swiftly moving towards the Spring break and the Chinese New Year festivals, also Thanksgiving will be here soon and Christmas which I believe we will be teaching through. But Im sure there will be some parties, food and fun.

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