Thursday, September 23, 2010

Life is up and running...sort of.

Hey there!
It is 2:45pm on Thursday the 23rd here.
I don't have an art class right now so I'm going to stop lesson planning and write you.
I have tried to write you in the past from the school's internet, but sometimes it doesn't work, and as you know, we don't have internet at home. EVERYTHING is harder here. LOL
We had to find a company to hire to move all our things from 5 different places and then up 6 flights of stairs! Finally they moved our things. Then we had to find someone to hire to clean our new apt. After a long story it was kind of cleaned...but good enough.
We finally got into our new apt on the 18th, only to find out there is no hot water! So, on Saturday the 19th we waited ALL day for a plumber to fix our hot water...yeah, all day. But, by the end, we had hot water in the shower and kitchen sink (that's it). We don't have any water in the room where our washer is hooked up...We are trying to get that fixed. UG! Guess I'll do it the ol' fashion way for now. Blah! Next: the internet. Supposedly someone is going to come tonight to just look at what they can hook up and get our info. Then, we have to wait another week before they hook up the internet. YES....EVERYTHING IS HARDER IN CHINA!!!!! And it's not like I can get this all done myself. NO! I don't speak Chinese (other than to say "Hello. How are you? Very good. Thank you. I don't know. How much? I'm sorry/excuse me." and some other things (we a have Chinese class every Thursday for 45min)) No. I have to rely on others to make these phone calls and talk to these people to get all these little things done.
It is crazy to say that Jeff and I have been here a month and we are just getting moved in. It's also crazy just to say that Jeff and I have been here a month. Period!
I now have 10 students. Six of them are not English speakers. Two of the six speak NO English. Three of the six speak VERY LITTLE English. And one of the six is actually ok. Then, I have 4 English speakers. It is SOOOOO hard to find a balance teaching this mix. For the ESL kiddos I have to go slow and for the English speakers I need to speed it up. So…I am doing my best. And this weekend I will have an individual plan for EACH student and have a parent helper come in twice or three times a week to work one-on-one with each kiddo. Also, I have a Chinese helper named Ms. Judy.
Humph. And just a thought…how do you get 6 students to do as you ask and obey when they don’t understand what you are saying!?!?! NOT EASY! But you can bet that when I come back to the states I will be an expert in acting out charades!!!!!! LOL.
But hey, it’s REALLY a good thing that teaching is my job and my calling in life…otherwise I’d be outta here! LOL. And it’s an even better thing that Jeff and I have HIM on our side!
It makes me think, “Who do people yarp to, or look to, or trust in when life is this tough? And who do they praise or thank when the load lifts?”
Jeff has 6 students 3 of which are ESL students. Jeff is working REALLY hard as this is his first year teaching and his background is in Kinder and 1st. We help each other out a lot with ideas (: I mainly give him classroom management and lesson ideas…and he reminds me to have fun…which, believe me, I need those reminders (:
I don’t mean to complain…please don’t think that is my tone. It is just tough being “molded”…but I’m smiling, knowing that Jeff and I are going to be wonderful “pots” when it’s done.
We have an October holiday coming up the first week of October. Jeff and I might be going to Yushu (where the bad earthquake happened recently). It is another 1,000 or so feet up. We will stay in tents and have no running water. It is a one day bus ride there. It won’t be glamorous, but we will be able to see another part of China, and help out people (: It’ll be like camping for 4 days…silly.
Well, there is much more to say, and many more stories. But I have to go. I am going to be part of a woman’s group here in Xining to help support other ex-pats like myself. I figure when I reach out, there will be others to take my hand and we can help each other (:
Kristine and Jeff Hole

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