school sports

Dec 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Eat up!

The teachers feastThe cooks get their turn

Yesterday, we had our annual Teachers’ Field Day and banquet. All teachers and staff from both campuses convened on the new school’s field in the afternoon for some raucous sporting … and ridiculous cheating. But it was all in good fun. The events included the three-legged race, balance the ping pong ball on the badminton racquet, jump rope, two people transport a volleyball using their backs and not their hands, and a good old-fashioned relay race. I was part of the latter, and my team WON! All in good fun.

After the games, everyone retired to the cafeteria for a holiday banquet. It wasn’t quite as luxurious as last year (they may have run through a lot of money opening the new school this fall), but it was really delicious, and everyone had a lot of fun. Dish after dish piled up on the table, and the cafeteria workers switched off serving so that they could also enjoy the feast. The principals made the rounds, toasting each table with the traditional baijiu … and then 30 minutes after it started, the fun was done.

We’re still getting used to the pace of Chinese formal dinners, but it was a nice time with our co-workers. Happy New Year!

Apr 16, 2012

Je suis tres sportive ici

Not really

I’ve run 23 miles of my goal of 50 for the month of April (an extraordinary pace that will not be maintained into May), and I just had a quick basketball session with some of my students in which I did not fare too badly. I’m so sporty over here!

Apr 13, 2012

The world-wide sports meeting

Our very own Olympics

This kids is fast

Through a confluence of events, from March 31 to April 15, we will only have had to work 4 days. And that’s paid time off.

We’ve had a national holiday 1, the kids had midterms, and now we’re in the middle of a school-wide track and field meet.

Yesterday morning was the opening ceremonies. They did ‘em Olympics-style, with each class from Junior 1, Senior 1 and Senior 2 (Senior 3 gets some days off, I guess) representing a different country. Each country’s representatives marched around the school track, stopping in front of the panel of judges in the bleachers to perform a little dance.

We actually marched with Argentina (Senior 2, class 22). Wendy, our neighbor, is their teacher, and she came over the night before to ask if we could dance with her class. We were very hesitant about the dancing, but we said that we’d go watch them practice. By the time we got down there, our potential roles had evolved into drumming on a plastic water bottle. That we could do.

By later that evening, our roles had changed again: Now we were to march in front of the group and carry the Argentinian flag they had made. Even better.

The festivities began at 8 am. Our group was second to last, so we sat up in the bleachers to watch the students. There was varying amounts of effort among the different classes put into costume and choreography, but they all were fun to watch. America (Senior 1, class 1 - my students!) was very funny - the class incorporated soldiers, Native Americans, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Santa and Michael Jackson into their display. This is not an inaccurate picture of how they view the U.S.

It was a little difficult to identify all the other countries - I’m pretty terrible with the flags of the world, and often there wasn’t any clue other than that as to each class’ nationality.

When we saw Argentina lining up, we ran over to join them. (On the way, we caught a glimpse of the kindergarteners next door having their own field day.) We unfurled our flag, and marched toward the podium. After we finished, the games began.

One of the classes in the march of countries

Click on the photo above for a slideshow from our Olympic games!

UPDATE: Argentina came in second!

1. April 4 was Qingming Festival, or Ancestors Day. It’s a public holiday where families go visit the graves of their deceased relatives, clean them off (the graves, not the relatives), and set off fireworks. Now the thing is, April 4 was a Wednesday, and the three-day weekend is not a foreign concept to the Chinese. But, whereas in the U.S. we’d move the holiday to be observed on a Monday, here, we moved Monday and Tuesday’s work to the Saturday and Sunday before. Having no ancestors here, we bought a computer instead.

Mar 16, 2012

Spring time for basketball!

It’s gorgeous out here

It's gorgeous out here

This week, the weather has been absolutely gorgeous: sixties and sunny every day! It could be a coincidence, but there’s also been a school-wide basketball tournament going on all week. We have six courts here on school grounds, and each court has been packed with four teams playing half-court. And the whole rest of the school has come out to support them. Even us! For a few minutes, anyway.