It’s been a LONG time!
How strange to have this space filled with Chicago for so long when China adventures have been filling my days for the past 2 months.
Couple of reasons for my lack of updates:
VPN Cutting Out
My VPN server (which re-routes me out of China) has been cutting off on me since my arrival in my new apartment. I have heard the same goes for my Peace Corp friends, Blake (at the Luzhou Medical College) and Jackie (here at my school). I get snippets of connection time and this is one of them, when I can actually place something on my site.
Ah, the Dreaded Make-up Days!
Second has just been the extreme hectic schedule of the semester. A new teaching schedule has several evenings full with classes and mornings as well. We’ve had one-day holidays that also caused some discomfort to my well-planned days.
For some reason, one of our vice-presidents (the individual in charge of student affairs) has decided that all national holidays must be made up. Teachers are required to talk to students, find out free times for all, book a classroom during the regularly scheduled week and teach the lesson that was missed during a holiday.
It’s crazy, I know, but this is the rule of our school.
I’m guessing the vice-president is of the old guard, from years ago when China had no holidays except Golden Week (Oct. 1-7 for the founding of the PRC) and the 3 days allotted for Labor Day, celebrated May 1st – 3rd. When I first came to China 25 years ago, those were the only holidays we had during the school year, with a month given for the Chinese New Year holiday which separated the fall and spring semesters.
Just during the past 10 years, the government has been adding traditional Chinese days to the holiday schedule to boost consumerism by enticing people to spend more money traveling, eating out with friends or taking advantage of shop discounts which store managers are encouraged to advertise.
Now in China, our holidays are: National Day (Golden Week, Oct 1-7), Mid-Autumn Festival (Sept. or Oct., depending on the Lunar calendar), world New Year’s Day (Jan. 1st), Spring Festival (Chinese NY), Lantern Festival (added this year, 15 days after the Chinese NY in Jan or Feb.), Tomb Sweeping Festival (April 5), and Dragon Boat Festival (in June).
And from the school’s end, we’ve had classes canceled one day in preparation for a weekend national college entrance exam taking place on our campus and 3 days for Sports Day, competitions between classes in a number of sports, such as ping pong, basketball, track events, and badminton.
Keeping up with make-up classes has kept me on my toes but also given the students quite a lot of fun. My extra evening classes have included movies, outdoor Easter competitive games and races (the candy bag hunt with special prizes for winners was the finale) and song nights.
Sure, there might be moans and groans from my students when make-up class nights are announced but once they attend, it’s all cheers, laughter and excited banter.
Tomb Sweeping on Monday
Tomorrow is yet another holiday, Tomb Sweeping Festival, but fortunately for me, I’ve already done my make-up classes for tomorrow. I’ll be off to the countryside, to check up on my Easter friends at a small church I attended a few weeks ago. Also, I’ll be visiting SP (Stairwell Puppy), a large dog who lived on our campus and now finally has a countryside home, thanks to me and a wonderful Chinese friend who posted her plight on her website account.
Stories of SP and Easter will have to wait for another day.
Once again, from China, here’s wishing you Ping An (Peace) for your day!