Tuesday, August 30, 2011
We visited it at night this past weekend. It is quite a site at night so many lights. We took a cab into the city Saturday night to St. Stephen's Cathedral for a catholic Mass. Definitely NOT father Pat, and we miss him, but none the less interesting. We left the church and decided to head through the streets to the river. This was about a 2 mile meander through the streets of Shanghai, parks, cafe's, watermelon on a stick, Jing Ling Lu (home of many a guitar shop I plan to return to) and finally the river. Technology today is something else. I think nothing of wandering the streets of this Asian metropolis with my family armed with a smart phone. Link to the web and follow my nose while holding various hands in route. We got caught feeling very hungry in the middle of an international trendy restaurant area and spent a bit too much for soup and small dishes. $9 for a bottle of sparkling water. Very good!
There is a very well defined academic culture here. You can sense it the moment I make a move as a teacher to get something done. The atmosphere suggests that each kid intends on not missing a thing I do. I've been in classrooms before where no kid cared about Anything I did. High schoolers do homework like 3rd graders do - just because it's there and this is how you learn!
It is a very Asian population. Although it is international - and it it - most of these families are international families of Asian descent. And they all have very american first names. Quinn stands out with her name. Unlike Overland, there aren't any ethnic names beyond Daniel and Tiffany. The classes are very homogeneous and focused like all get out.
I'm the assistant volley ball coach. Varsity sports are allowed 4 contacts per week - 3 practices and a game on Saturdays. JV are allowed 3 contacts. This is to promote balance. Practices must be no more than 2 hours and we honor that. The head coach, John Vietch is an experienced and good coach from New Zealand. After try outs we ended up with 12 athletes on Varsity. One Sr. We are not tall. Two kids at maybe 6' 1" (although they'll tell you it is 1.85 and then you realize its metric...oh yeah) We've got one white kid - the tallest kid. I told Vietch I've got no Volley Ball experience and he laughed and is kindly helping me out as I learn. We have a tourny with local international schools this weekend and will head to Hong Kong for a tourny in late sept - perk of the job?
It is quite a treat to see Quinn at High School. She pops in each day to my classroom and either needs help with something or is just saying hi. She joined the photography club, the eggchange (community service) club and is considering yoga. She is plowing ahead and trying to fit in. Josephine, working on her strokes with Bridget, tried out for the heavily competitive swim team. I was mighty proud of her, showing up in a bikini and going for it. She has improved quite a bit as a swimmer but not enough to make the cut. She is enjoying her classes, friends, Mr. Fisher, and her chinese class. She speaks Chinese with our ayi while at home.
Jon and Mike put in some hours and finished the Cuttbow CD. 10 songs are at http://www.reverbnation.com/cuttbow
So good to listen to this and so painful to not continue AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
For some reason the site is often blocked here in China - Must be because Cuttbow is so powerful and controversial in the state that the Chinese government isn't sure what to think! Anyhow, great music and keeps me smiling listening to it. We covered a Ted Rosenzweig song - Silent Kind of Girl - which he and his band have developed their own version of so it showed be good to hear the Last Train verison of this Ted Classic.
Bidget and I are looking at our pad and figuring how to move forward. We enjoy the minimal expanse it has become and don't want to change that just yet. She is trying to commission Quinn to do some artwork for us and we'd both like some more plants. It is clean and simple. We have some Janet McShain originals that need to be hung.
The toilet seat in the wash room broke and she called the management company. (They fix everything here.) As usual they sent about 4 people on the job. Communicated to Bridget that all they had was the wooden toilet seat and would she prefer that over the plastic one? Of course she would!! So the next day the team showed up to install the wooden toilette seat and left. Well the wooden toilette seat is shaped and lovely and completely unsanded. We're talking #4 grain wild wood. No one in their right mind would sit on this baby although Josephine and I wanted to try - We held off. The next day they brought the more desired plastic toilette seat.