Sunday, October 30, 2011

The China Diaries: Breath

Hallowe'en is, well, it's today, come to think of it. But here at English First, we celebrated Hallowe'en last Thursday with a party for our HF students, between the ages of 6 and 10. It was a fun night, but I'm not here to recount that. As a result of the party, all the teachers ended up with only two days for lesson planning, which is not a lot. I got through my classes with all my supplies and lesson plans intact (literally finished the last supply for my last lesson about five minutes before the lesson), which is great, but now I am horrendously behind with correspondence. This is my moment to breath, and relax. I was stressed for five days.

A few things I've learned in that time;

1. You think a Hallowe'en party is going to be a great opportunity to scare all the kids you don't like. Turns out the only ones who cry are the sweet young children who were your favourites in the first place. You feel bad.

2. I can't do impromptu face-painting. I have to have a picture or something very specific in mind. One of my coworkers wanted to look like a monster. By the time I was done, it looked like I'd tried to paint the continent of Africa and the Atlantic on his face.

3. If you ever decide you want your face painted for Earth Day, I'm really, really good at that.

4. You can listen to "The Ocean Doesn't Want Me Today" by Tom Waits 47 times in the course of a 60-or-so-minute Hallowe'en party when you have it looped as the background music for your room.

5. When you have a lot to get done at work, you will get all of it done in an impossible blur of effort and dedication, only to wake up and realize you dreamed your entire work day.

6. Three days of being at work for 12 hours is just about as bad as it sounds. Particularly when you don't drink coffee.

7. The "Very Slowly" movement of Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring is the kindest music that's ever been written. That, "Air" from Bach's Suite No. 3, and Annie's "Heartbeat" can seemingly get you through anything.

This is not, I'm aware, a funny list, as my 10 Things I've Learned in China list was. That's okay. I had an adventure to the Muslim Quarter on Tuesday, which I'll write about here during a day off. in the middle of this week. Not much to tell, but a fair amount, I think, to show.

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