Nothing quite like a hot yam from my friendly corner street yam man on a cold winter's day. Odd? Heck no! You'll find most of Chengde munching on a hot yam these days. Walking down the street... shopping at the black market... people are snacking all the time. In fact, just the other day I saw a man take a bite of his 3 year old daughter's hot dog, chew it a bit and then attempt to feed it to her like a bird. Yay China!
Christmas is upon us, blah blah blah... I'll have more to say once it's over. So far the Chinese have done a wonderful job of decorating for a holiday most of them don't celebrate. Scary Santas and oddly colored (and placed for that matter) tinsle are their special-ity.
There is also, officially, a job opening here at the Chengde Medical College. Anna, the girl who was to take my dear Andrea's place has bailed out for reasons idiotic to me, but I suppose that's why I'm here and she's staying in the US. Hey, I'm sure we'd all like to be a live in nanny instead, but the job market's just too tough for me... Anyway, Laura, my foreign affairs officer has asked me if I have any friends who'd like to teach. I laughed, knowing most of you pretty well, but then realized she was serious and thought I'd atleast throw it out there. You all know I'm having a blast, so if you're unsure about what you want to do with your life from March to July maybe you can consider eating yams in China with me.
My students have all been studying like mad for their upcoming exams, which, from my observation of the time they spend reading their crazy medical books, would make me cry and curl up into the fetal position. Because of this I have decided to make my exams the easiest thing I could possibly imagine, which for some is still a strugle (meaning I gave them a B instead of an A). "If you were very very rich, and had a lot of money, what would you do with it? You say you'd buy a car? and a house by the sea for your parents? What's that? You think I'm beautiful? The whole class does? A+!" How am I going to go back to America where no one tells me I'm pretty or makes me oragami swans?
I have a favorite class of Junior English Nursing students. There are supposed to be about 42 students in my class but only about 10 come on a regular basis. When Cathy volunteered to be first for the exam I was surprised but she's pretty much always smiling at me so I didn't think too much of her enthusiasm. After sitting down and picking a topic to talk about for the next 2 minutes she was very quiet at first, which made me a little worried that I had overestimated her English skills or perhaps just made her really really nervous. No. Soon she just blurted it all out... "Oh, Stephanie... I'm afraid my English isn't very good today. My head is just so full from studying for these exams (and points to a particularly thick book). We study every day! Sometimes until 11 o'clock at night! and I hate it! Ohhh, it's so dull. I'm so happy I have a chance to stop and talk with you." God I love her. Attitude so rarely comes through with many of my students because their English isn't very developed. Any time they get a little sassy just makes me giggle so much.
And speaking of sassy, I have a new obsession: the hot Chinese girl band S.H.E.! Selina is the really pretty, cute one with long, light brown hair. Hebe is the really pretty, sassy one with bangs. Ella is the odd, butch one with short hair and a low voice. Aaaaaaaaaand I love them. My favorite class continued to secured their "favorite" status by writing the lyrics to my favorite song, "Super Star", for me. Brandon has loned me his VCD of S.H.E. music videos, which I might lose by accident... so Cathy Lee and I have been rocking out and practicing the best song ever. THEN tonight on the news I heard that the girls of S.H.E. will be in Beijing this weekend promoting their new CD. Where, I don't know, but if they're anywhere near our hotel you better believe they will have 3 overly excited white girls, and Brandon, jumping around in line to get autographs. This is yet another reason why Cathy Lee and I have to practice Super Star... so that we can wow them with our superb and shocking knowledge of the Chinese language and subtle nuances of their genious lyrics! Next year for Halloween I shall be Hebe. Cathy Lee really likes Ella, so I guess she'll be wearing some sort of mullet-esk wig... and Andrea will have to constantly squint into the cutest little moon shaped happy eyes you've ever seen. And we will rock out on our air guitars at you singing "ni shi dian, ni shi guang, ni shi wei yi de shen hua! wo zhi ai ni, you are my super star..." (you are electric, you are light, you are only a thought of a myth. I only love you, you are my super star) I might piddle just thinking about it.
Tomorrow I'll be on the happiest train ever, drinking Great Wall wine and knitting my lovely mother a scarf while humming "Super Star" and drooling over thoughts of TGI Friday's and OutBack Steakhouse...