Monday, nothing major happened around on the house but I did go and teach my class on the new campus. In the morning we had to go to a bank to get some business taken care off. My new friend Ellie and I talked a bit on the school bus home and arranged for a meeting on Wednesday. Also a student of mine, Vivine is her English name, asked me to play a song at a graduation party for students later this month and another student, Ellen told me the meaning of the last name I have adopted over here…Song 宋.
Tuesday was an exciting day after our water delivery and Nate & Chuck finishing school we all took off for different directions. Nate went in search of busses to get me to my coffee shop meeting with Ellie on Wednesday while Chuck and I hit the road in search of more books for me Madame Bookworm to read. We rode our scooters to the street with Yo Pizza on it and had lunch. I wasn’t very fond of the noodles that I ordered but Chuck loved them and ate them all then we went to Abnormal Frie and got French fries. Chuck got Hawaiian style sauce on his and I got Mayo and black pepper. After we ate our fries we hit the road again to get to Zhengzhou University’s book store. I’ve mentioned this place before they have a large foreign language department and they have a wide selection of printed material in English. The books that I got my hands on are more like cliff notes in America but they give me access to literature that I would not be able to have any other way. Two of my book picks are basically comic books and one is a story that you the reader create. After buying the books and leaving the bookstore we took a walk down the side street and discovered lots of newstores but mainly we saw food vendors. We walked back to our scooters and took off in search of a toilet, we did find a WC but we also found an entire new back road to explore. Some of the buildings in this area were very old looking and again almost all of the stores here were restaurants. We kept our wandering up and were just driving to the edge of the city when I saw a pink guitar in a store window. We found a new music store StarLight Music Store. Of course we had to go in, I mean a musician pass by a music store, unheard of! Once in the store we were greeted by Pengfuqiang 蟛富强 the owner of the store who spoke a little bit of English, that with my little bit of Chinese and the universal language of music made for a fun afternoon. I got some of the musical items that I’ve not had for awhile and also got information on where to play. We left and went to have a snack and then we came home.
On Wednesday I got up early with Chuck, he went to school to teach his classes and I walked down to Vanguard super market to meet my friend Ellie. From there she showed me what city bus to take to get to Wanda Plaza. We went to a coffee shop that she likes to frequent. She is Chinese but she speaks and writes English very well, she spent some time in the UK working on school degrees and is a fun and down to earth person to talk too. We spent the morning talking and then at lunch time we headed back to our homes. After a fast lunch with Chuck at KFC, I caught the school bus to the new campus and sat with Lanfang and talked about her paper that she has written for her Masters degree. Once at the new campus I met my tutor Carol or Zhufang 朱芳. We walked around the campus in search of new earphones for my iPod and printing that Chuck asked me to do for him. The goal has changed in my Chinese lessons and that is a shift from learning to read and write Chinese to learning how to speak and understand Chinese when it is spoken to me.
Thursday and my teaching again! My students are used to how classes go now, I give them a homework assignment and the next class they read the assignment. Well for Thursday they had to describe a city or attraction by telling me and the class where this is, how to get there, and what you would see if you were there. We had lots of fun with this and one of my assistants insisted that I also tell about something. I talked about the very long tunnel from Detroit, MI to Ontario, Canada. A lot of students talked about their home towns and what they are most famous for so that seemed like a good fit. I also used some of the books that I got at the book store with my class. The first was a reading comprehension book, I read a story to them and they worked to tell me the different things in the story that I asked about. After our break I had them read the story book you create the ending for, it always starts out the same way, Your name is Chris you are a pilot of a small plane. You are flying in the Rocky Mountains and suddenly your engine sounds funny and you have to do a crash landing. You are asked to decide weather to go into the trees or if you go and land on a snow field. After that you have to decide the course of your story. Some choices will let the story continue, others will kill you and you have to start over again. I was surprised how into it we were when the bell rang to dismiss class. I hope to find more books like this one it was great fun seeing how well the students were listening to one another and see if a problem could be avoided. I also talked to my friend Vera. She was the high school student that we met at Moon Festival in September. I’ve emailed her from time to time, but Thursday night was the first time that I’ve talked to her in a long time. I was sending her a message and my phone decided that I needed to call. I was able to speak with her and her room mate for a little while.
That brings us to today, Friday. Although this is a school day, our school and most other schools in Zhengzhou are closed for a three day Expo that is happening here. The Expo is for Central China and it is held here the city that is the hub of transportation in China. I have been told that the PM of China is in town for this Expo and we did notice a heightened military presence in Wanda Plaza today.
Okay I let the cat out of the bag, today Chuck and I went to Wanda Plaza by bus. My goal was to see if I could follow the directions Ellie gave me earlier in the week on how to get to WP and I was successful!!!! While at Wanda we picked up a few things and then we went to the Korean Barbeque restaurant for lunch. We then took the number 210 bus home and I followed our progress on the bus route map I have and I was able to read the map in Chinese. I was asked why I got a map in Chinese and not one in English, well the street signs are all in Chinese so having an English map while way more comfortable to read for me, wouldn’t really help me learn Chinese or the names I see on street signs while out. I do wish that I could find a map that is written in pinyin the phonetic system of expressing Chinese words and characters using the letters of the English alphabet.
We are home now. Nate went out with a boy that he met at a local English corner and did some sight seeing, check his blog for mention of what he saw. Well, I better get to looking over Nate’s school work.