Sunday, February 27, 2011

Back to public school.

Suzanne went downtown the other day and got her nails done, ears pierced and bought some glamour glasses.
I vy English school will have seven teachers this year; Scott is from California.
Scott, George, the Alexander family and the four of us had to go register for our new resident permits a few days ago. Like most government things anywhere, it was hurry-up and wait.
DJ was so tired one day that she couldn't finish her lunch before taking her nap. She is really getting a good work-out pushing that stool around. And with both hands busy holding things, she will now stand for a short time and take a few steps, without holding onto someone or something.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lantern Festival

Mei treated the Alexander family, Connie and I to dinner tonight. This is the 15th day of the first lunar month which means it is Lantern Festival and the last day of the Chinese New Year two week long celebrations. We had a very nice dinner of mostly different fish and vegetables because David is vegetarian. We went next door to TCBY for ice cream after dinner. It is still −16 ̊ C (3 ̊ F) outside but the TCBY was busier than I have seen them during the summer because of the festival. The restaurant and TCBY are next to the river and more than half the two million population of the city was at the river. Mei’s husband purchased a paper balloon for Tigh to send up. There was probably over 50 balloons in the sky that you could count before they went too high or too far and went out of sight. Normally there is room down by the river for kids to roller blade but there were so many people that you could hardly walk without just shuffling your feet. I didn’t take my ear muffs with me and my ears felt like they were on fire because they were so cold. I new we were close to where I lived so I said my goodbyes and started my way home. The road along the river was basically closed because of so many people. There must have been around 10% of the people that were coming or going at any given time. I walked past a restaurant that Deb and I had been too once and they were setting off a huge display of fireworks. I stopped just in front to take a short video and then proceeded home. I was reaching the end of my trip and warmth for my ears when I walked past the end of our building just as someone on the fifth or sixth floor decided to set off some firecrackers hanging from their window showering me with sparks and debris. The Chinese really do love their fireworks. I am headed out tomorrow to buy us a new laptop since this one is more than two years old and nearing the end of its life. I will save it and try to get it refurbished so Susan can have a laptop for college.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Back to work.

The Spring Festival holiday is over and it is time to get back to work. We had Rita over for chili one evening. I found cumin already ground-up for the chili, but since I already had the mortar and pestle, I purchased the whole cumin. Next time I will buy the ground-up; cumin seeds are hard to grind by hand. I did go ahead and buy the chili powder instead of making my own. If you check the packet of chili seasoning mix, you will find that chili is not the only ingredient; here it is. I made the mistake of putting in the whole packet and it was too hot even for me. Rita ate a whole bowl. Other than the heat, it was very good and I will have to make it again. As usual, DJ enjoyed the company and had a good time. DJ took a bath and played with her toys after Rita left.

Debora had the social meeting again this week and will for the next two weeks before Sharon comes back to take over. One of the kids that came brought their dog to make friends with Spot. It looks like he had a great time. Another boy gave us a drawing he had done of Confucius. It is beautiful. And still another person gave us a special calendar that their grandfather does calligraphy for that is very beautiful. Our Chinese friends are so nice and special to us.

Like I said, it is time to get back to work. I went in on Monday to prepare for classes that started back yesterday. Andrea and David got their schedules. I had to cover for Connie's first two spoken classes, since she was still on a plane from Beijing, coming back from Canada. David just sat in on some classes, but Andrea was given a couple of George's classes, since he won't be back until next week. I also learned that we will be having a total of seven foreign teachers this year. The last teacher is arriving from America on Sunday. Mei is very excited that the school will have five teachers from America.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Great Company + Great Food = Great Time

Tigh had a sleep over last night and enjoyed playing video games. Suzanne went out on a date to play badminton on the 17th floor of a hospital that is next door to New-Mart. Then after having ice cream they went to get a massage and to have their backs scraped. The boy and his mother she went out with is Alex, the same boy that was playing the piano a few post back. He is 20. She knows it can't be serious but she can still be friends and have a good time. He is coming over one day soon so they can fix pizza for lunch. This morning I took Tigh and Suzanne to the arcade. He is like the brother she never got a chance to spend time with because of John dying. This evening the Alexander's came over for dinner and games. David is a vegetarian. I fixed a fresh vegetable salad, rice with egg and green onion and some toasted rolls. For desert we had a warm fruit salad with honey.