Note About Silence: Every so often, I am cut off from my website and not able to post blogs. WordPress, my website provider, as well as Facebook, are blocked in China. In the past, I’ve gotten around the WordPress block but for 3 weeks, it’s been a no-go. Thus I have asked a good friend in America to post for me until I can do it myself. Sorry for the long silence but that’s the reason.
It’s that time of year, when the English Association leaders start to swarm into my home for discussions about our annual school Halloween Party.
This tradition was started by the first foreign teachers to the campus, over 8 years ago. It’s filled with face painting, costume games, bobbing for apples, Trick-or-treat activities with the campus kids, and watermelon carving contests (Watermelons are our substitute for pumpkins, since pumpkins in China are oblong gourds, not round as in the States).
We are running into a bit of a dilemma this year, however.
Our Halloween weekend is already completely filled with other activities, including the national 21st Century Speech Contest prelims which were scheduled at the same time as the party.
This contest is one which requires a foreigner on the judging panel in order for winning contestants to move on to the provincial competition, held in Nanning. Since I’m the only foreigner within a hundred miles, looks like I’m a must to judge at our school.
As often happens, everyone in our language office assumed I knew about this. (I didn’t.) The person in charge was supposed to invite me to judge. (She didn’t.) Thus I only found out about this conflict of interest 3 days before we were to have the big night.
Being a pro-active person, I headed over to the office on Tuesday to discuss this with the secretary to find out if we could change one of the events.
After several phone calls to other English teachers and our dean (attending a conference in Nanning), we now will be having the speech contest on Sunday night. That leaves Halloween open for Friday evening.
Saturday night would have been an option except we are having the 1st year welcome gala on that night. For 3 hours, all the departments will be putting their best students forward for elaborate dance numbers, singing, skits, and a fashion show to display the upper classmen talents. School organizations and clubs (guitar, kungfu, rollerblading, ballroom dancing) will also be performing.
In other words, this weekend will be packed with events.
Added Guests to our Halloween Party List
As always at our party, the campus children will have their special time with their own “Trick-or-Treat” segment to get candy and a supervised watermelon carving activity.
Yet we will also have even more added youth to the college crowd: Joe’s 8th grade class!
15-year-old Joe is one of my faithful Saturday visitors for my time with the kids. I’ve already been to his home for a birthday party and then to his school last semester to give a lesson to his class. (See previous blog entries)
Last week, Joe invited me once again to visit his school. Since Halloween was just around the corner, I adapted my college Halloween unit to fit a 40-minute class for junior high. It came with a short reading about Halloween and then showing traditions of the day with class participation.
Ms. Nong, the English teacher for their class, was once again on hand to co-teach with me and help out when needed. She and I had just as much fun in the classroom as the students. Donning costumes for Trick-or-Treat re-enactments created roars of laughter and great fun, but the candy prizes were probably the biggest hit of all.
Before closing, I invited those who wanted to come to our college Halloween night. There was a cheer that went up when everyone heard the party was on Friday night. Usually, they have daily evening classes from 7 to 10 p.m. but not on Friday. They’re free to attend and it looks like quite a few will.
What’s In Store?
We start at 7 p.m. with independent activities at different stations: face painting, scary tattooing (water-based ones, courtesy of our US Dollar Store), mask making and costume wearing (witch, headless person, ghost, Chinese princess).
8 p.m. is the start-up with our Ballroom Dance Club opening the night with a few numbers. Then it’s onward into Halloween, with introductions and all the rest.
Our night closes with the Jack-o-Lantern contest to see which group has the best carved watermelon. We’ll be having 2 prizes: People’s Choice and Connie’s Favorite.
After that, it’s pictures galore while everyone scrambles to capture the last few memorable moments of the night.
Hoping for Website Access
I hope again for my website access to show you all the photos from our Halloween night and also from Joe’s classroom.
Until next time, here’s wishing you Ping An (peace) for your weekend.