Vice-dean Liang Ling wanted to give me a happy send-off farewell so she planned that for yesterday evening: a restaurant dinner party.
There weren’t very many of us. Many teachers are on the Chongzuo campus as they commute and others were busy marking exams or just tired from a very long day dealing with the graduating students. Yesterday afternoon, the graduation ceremony took place meaning that all the certificates had to be signed and ready for students to pick up. Several in our English department have those duties so they were pretty exhausted by 6 p.m. Thus it was a small group of 8, including Margaret’s husband and Ms. Zhou, not English teachers but department helpers.
Mr. Lan, the English head teacher in charge of English Education majors, chose the dishes. Fish, bean soup, special greens, minced meat balls, dove and roast duck, and cold cucumber salad graced the table. We spun the lazy susan around again and again to gobble down all the goodies.
Lots of happy talk, and afterwards, everyone gathered around the flat screen TV in our private banquet room to wail away with the KTV (karaoke) provided. It’s all computerized and you just select the song and video you want (English songs are available as well), grab up a microphone and away you go.
As always with the Chinese, it was LOUD and very much off-key for our singers but they were enjoying themselves. Hard to talk over the racket but many in our group rarely do this so it was special. Plus the department was paying for the room and the privilege of using it for 4 hours so they wanted to get their money’s worth.
I did call it quits at 9:15 p.m., along with Margaret. Her husband, however, was keen on staying and belting out his favorite songs so we left everyone to continue their singing while we walked back to campus together.
My Porch Plants Find A Home
Margaret loves plants and I was happy that my little porch buddies that I’ve looked after for 3 years would find a good home with her. It was just too sad to let the poor things die when I moved, leaving the balcony ledge lined with dried, dead, brittle stalks for who knows how long.
That evening, I helped her carry a rosebush and flowering plant to her home. We’ll move the others in a few days.
Change of Schools: Some Faculty Kids Having to Adjust
When we walked over the plants to Margaret’s apartment, her daughter (Ruby) was watching TV, taking a break from her studies. She is quite unhappy about the move to Chongzuo and the change of schools. She has just finished 7th grade in Longzhou, having high marks and being the top in her class. But in Chongzuo, she will be forced to repeat the school year because the Longzhou school doesn’t teach Physics. This subject is taught in Chongzuo. Her entrance exam scores for science were too low to qualify her to move onward so it’s back to 7th grade again.
Ruby is also a very big girl. Margaret is from the far north, Gansu Province, where people are big-boned, fleshier and taller due to their dairy and meat consumption. Her daughter takes after her, the spitting image of her mom. These tiny southerners are dwarf-sized compared to Ruby. Combine that with adolescent years, where girls sprout up faster than boys, and she’ll be the giant in her class.
Ruby is a strong girl, however, like her mom. She speaks her mind and won’t be bullied or pushed around, I’m sure. Still, the new environment will be an adjustment for her, as it will for many other of our teachers and their children come September.
Farewell Dinnter Two
Another dinner is tonight, with Joe’s family in celebration of his graduation from junior high. He’ll be off to high school after the summer holidays. We are having dumplings and will be enjoying a very happy time together so be looking for another report coming soon about yet another farewell dinner in Longzhou.
As always, Ping An (Peace) for your day!