Friday, May 15, 2009

Bits and Pieces

Angelyn and I have a current list running of Things to do Before We Leave, from eating crawdads on BBQ street to finally going to the Shiyan sauna. We are also on the hunt for something that is truly "Epic". We feel this need to leave our mark on the city in a big way - it seems like we have gotten close a few times. The discovery of Tribal Leisure Bar was nearly epic...the tree sitting was almost exactly epic. Showing the Passion of the Christ as a classroom movie, that would be epic. When it happens, we will know. But until then we will grab every opportunity, and if it ever stops raining we will be unstoppable. Things that we have done recently:

Our dream of tree-sitting finally became a reality. Last Sunday Barry, Angelyn, Megan and I climbed (with the helpful aid of a few friends) the trees that line the street at the bottom of the hill, and gave the Chinese a reason to stare aside from our white skin. It was childish, crazy, and as great as we thought it would be! We all took sunflower seeds up in our pockets and there was a Sound of Music singing moment.

Angelyn, Katherine and I went to the Chinese dentist (aka, the hospital) and had our teeth cleaned - not at all scary to open your mouth and allow it to be violated by a woman you can't understand when she tells you NOT to swallow the water.

Megan, Angelyn and I went to Cherry Valley to pick strawberries and cherries with two teachers from Megan's school. The locals were just shocked when we climbed our own cherry trees and picked them ourselves. And per your suggestion Heather, I did wear pigtails.

I had a particularly nasty run in with a student that left me a little shaken. After class, Trent worked his magic and cheered me up by taking me to buy turtles! After we rescued 5 turtles from a really rough turtle wrangler, we bought some paint and proceeded to give them some flair. Trent had this dream of releasing them into the pond outside his house with painted shells so we could find them. We painted them perfectly, then proceeded to watch as Kicks attempted to mount Red and then carry pink footprints across the rest of their backs as he made his way through the group.

Trifecta - painted with a tri-color target on his back was the beast of the group
Star - never came out of his shell
Rosie Red - always the lady
Kicks - given a soccer ball pattern on his back because of his constant need to kick me with his back left leg
Giggles - had no personality

It was too late to release them, so I came back the next day to do so. In that time, Kicks had carried paint from turtle to turtle and they had all turned into weird Bubble-Eyed Monsters (see photos) Turns out its a defense mechanism in the turtle's body to protect their eyes, but Trent and I thought they had all gone blind from eye infections! (The guilt was overwhelming, I was seriously questioning our ability to ever be parents) In an attempt to save Kicks - even though he was the instigator of their mutations, he was still my favorite - we cleaned his shell and decided to keep him for a while. He is now lost somewhere in my house.

So when Jessica attempts to read "waterproof" in Chinese, turns out she can't. We released the 4 turtles into the water, which they all immediately left water trails of orange, white and pink behind their sinking bodies. We worried for a minute that perhaps these particular Chinese turtles don't swim and we made a terrible mistake...until Trifecta surfaced and made a desperate attempt to try to get back up to Trent! They were adorable, we had such a sense of pride watching Star make his way out into the scary water world.

Here are some PHOTOS - strawberries, turtles and the UN.

Yes, the UN.

Trent's students are amazing. Last week we were invited to UN Meeting, and we were not really sure what to expect. Turns out, it was a staged-comedy of a United Nations Council Meeting, to which even North Korea was allowed to attend. It was completely organized by the students, not one teacher was present. They did a fantastic job!
*Screaming match between "good" and "evil", left and right side of the table, (America, Britain, France, India, Japan and South Korea) versus (China, Russia, South Korea, Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia)
*Peace speech made by the Saudi Arabian representative to the background tune of Amazing Grace
*Trent's 15 year old student Teddy sitting behind us translating into English verbatim every word said. (Later, he became my favorite person by being the first Chinese to ever ask to see my engagement ring)
*Somalian pirates breaking into the meeting carrying guns of brooms and a squirt gun to hold the United Nations Council hostage.
*The head of the Somalian pirate ring marrying the UN Council Secretary to form a binding peace treaty. You can't make this stuff up!

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