November 12, 2008

12:2 Time November 2008

Halloween English Corner

Even in China, we celebrate Halloween. Our teammates, Calvin, Maddie, and Parker dressed up for Halloween and came to our door for candy. The funny part of the whole deal was that their mom, Joy, gave us some candy to give to them the day before. Probably so we wouldn’t forget to get candy and so that her kids could receive something.

Harbin Engineering University Teammates

After the 20th floor trick-or-treating, we headed out the English Corner. English corner is a weekly event hosted by the English Association on campuses across China. Students are elected officers and run the organization just like any student organization you would find on campuses in America. English corner is a chance for the students to come together with the purpose of speaking and practicing their English. Each week, the topic changes. For weeks past, the topics range from “Take me to your home” to “Movie Appreciation.” Since English was meeting on Halloween, the topic of course was Halloween.

We got Kanyon all dresses up in a makeshift costume. He of course was the hit of the party, which by the way is not because of the costume, but because of the foreigner baby fascination. To celebrate the holiday, there were some carnival type games and prizes. One of the games reinvented bobbing for apples. Instead of bobbing for apples, the students competed to see who could eat an apple the fastest. Another game was a candle blowing contest to see who could blow out a candle from the further away. (Not that candles are really a Halloween tradition other than the ones inside of jack o’lanterns.)

The prizes were just as unique. The winners of the apple eating contest received a special prize they had to drink as fast as they could. Only one catch though, you never knew what you might be drinking. Some cups were filled with Sprite, while others were filled with salt water. Chinese and other eastern cultures love the idea of punishment. This is one reason why the game Uno can be popular for students. The “Draw 4” card is a form of punishment for the other players.

Celebrating Halloween at English Corner

All in all, English corner is a great chance to get to talk with the students outside the classroom. It’s a chance to lead the conversation to deeper heart issues and prod the students to think about things they may not have thought about before. It’s a great way to challenge some of the students’ view of the world.

Crazy Sports World

Every time we leave the country the sports world goes absolutely crazy. And by crazy, I mean crazy good! Just take a look at this year. Texas Tech football is having the best season ever. They are ranked #2 in the nation and have defeated two top ten teams. Given the fact that we are out of the country, I would not be the least surprised if by some crazy miracle Tech ends up in on the best bowls games ever. We are in the same position here as our teammate from Alabama. He’s feeling the same pain as his Crimson Tide are ranked #1 in the nation. We are both hoping for a national championship rematch of the Cotton Bowl a couple of years ago. But there is plenty of football left.

The last time we came to China the sports world also went nuts. M’Lynn’s cousin on the Wall Lady Hawks basketball team made it to the state championship game. The Denver Broncos had one of their best years in recent memory by making it the AFC championship game before falling to the eventual Super Bowl champion Steelers. The Valley Patriots (Jeremy’s high school) reached the state championship game in six man football.

Baby Kanyon Update

Kanyon has been learning to walk since the airport in Beijing. He is still not to the point of standing and walking on cue, but he is getting better. He often walks before he realizes what he has done, taking 4-6 steps trying to get something he really wants.

His teeth continue to come in. Now he is making the transition from baby food to real food. It’s a good thing, because there are some crazy baby food combinations here (tomato and salmon, tomato and tuna, bone marrow, pumpkin and dates). One of his favorites is lotus seed and tremella. We really don’t know what it is, but it is sweet and he really likes it.

It becomes a chore to bundle up the little guy to venture outside, but we have managed. We even purchased a great snow suit for him. Hopefully soon, we get a video up showing all the layers being put on.

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