I posted some pics of the sports competition a couple weeks back, but here are some glimpses of what else I've been up to in recent weeks:
Strawberry picking with Janet, Sarah, and David (sophomore students). I seem to be pleased with my find here.
An outdoor concert I was invited to put on by the "music association" (as they call themselves) on campus. There was a program of performers, but as I expected from past experience, I was asked to perform last minute. I borrowed a guitar and after jokingly playing the first two lines of "Kan Guo Lai," a popular Chinese song we teachers performed back in September, I played "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" (Death Cab) and "Where the Streets Have no Name" (U2). I heard a couple faint voices plead for "My Heart Will Go On" but I was able to finagle my way out of playing that.
A shot of a wedding I attended a few weeks back of my friend Christina's (Chen Ying) brother. Unlike a typical American wedding, with a rather tame ceremony and lively reception, the ceremony was much more of a party. The lighting was unique, the officiator/minister was more like an MC trying to enliven the guests, people sat at tables instead of in rows while eating and drinking (a lot), kids had little noise-maker devices...VERY different atmosphere. Christina's family was honored at my presence. One bizarre occurrence...the bride was in tears after the wedding, seemingly kind of freaked out about her impending new life. But as I found out later, this is tradition. The bride is supposed to cry after the wedding, I guess symbolizing the painful separation from her family. But also, she's moving in with her new husband's family, and their "honeymoon" will take place in the bedroom adjacent to his parent's bedroom. No offense to any of my or Joann's family...but I'd be freaked out too if I were her.
Teaching my students how to play Uno in Wuhan. We had a three-day weekend for China's "Labor Day" and several of us met up here at Mr Mais (think I've mentioned this place before), with some Wuhan friends of mine joining us as well. I look like I'm not messing around in this picture.
A shot of some of the gang outside of Mr Mai's. From L to R: Alex, Catherine, Cary (he's not my student but one of my friend Marilyn's students in Wuhan), Anna, Katie, Grace, Sophia. Or, if you prefer, now that I've finally learned their Chinese names: Zhang Zheng, Zhou Ting, Cary (don't know his name), Pan Xing Ru, Hu Pei, Guan Yue Zhu, Wang Pian.
I threw a dinner party for my freshman students...meaning, they prepared nearly everything, with most students preparing at least one dish (I did contribute one "Chinese dish" which I don't think they thought was all that Chinese). It's fun to observe how much more comfortable and relaxed we all are with one another, compared to the beginning of the school year.
My "pets." I've had the pleasure of watching the whole process of these baby birds being born, from several weeks ago when mama bird starting gathering twigs to prepare this nest. That took a while in itself, before the bird actually began to hang out there more, outside the window on the less windy side of my sixth story apartment. Over time I saw one, then two eggs total. No kidding, every day I've checked to see their progress, and it's become as much a part of my routine as my morning cup of coffee. I discovered they'd been born a few days ago, though they've probably been alive longer but just hidden from view by their mother, perched on top of them. This was taken three days ago. It's been fun to enjoy a process so delicate, deliberate, unhurried. In sadder, this-is-the-way-of-things news, I checked this morning...and they're gone. The nest is empty.