Showing posts from October, 2008


A student wanted to draw on her face for Halloween so I dug out the colored markers supplied by the school to check whether they might be water soluble. So we got the laugh of the day out of this...later the kindergartens came trick or treating and the terrible thing happened - we ran out of candy! The boss supplied bags of candy to teachers and I even added to it with a bag of my own, but apparently the candy wasn't counted. Bummer

dirty games day

Dirty day. Cake, delicious, by "Awfully Chocolate." Cats lived in the WC. What the pictures don't show is us playing Uno, virtual bowling, virtual boxing, virtual tennis, pick up sticks and Jenga and drinking tea. We are on the upper floor of an old lane house in downtown, the kind that are fast disappearing.
New friend Juoum's photos of Shanghai and other spots in China...his pictures tell wonderful stories.

Spent all afternoon yesterday in a lane house game club, much like what I imagine a parlor was like in the 1800s. Though this was a modern one too with Wii sports, but we also played Uno and pick up sticks, ate chocolate cake, Chinese snacks and drank tea. There were 2 guitars, several rooms and an outdoor balcony room where we enjoyed ourselves. Afterward we went out for Shanghainese food for dinner. Somehow I didn't manage to get home until 10 pm!

student newspaper

Our students now publish their newspaper online. It is a work in progress, of course, but I'm really proud of them. Keep in mind our students are about 95% ESL students!

Connections Class

My students were required to produce a 'team' poster with their name and reflecting their class as we enter spirit week next week. At first they wanted to be the "Do Re Mis" until the name was laughed to death by their peers outside the class, so it was changed to "Do Your Best." Here are a few photos of their work. Connections class is like a home room; I see them for about a half hour in the morning and another 20 minutes at the end of the day when I convey any important information or they can study if they need to.

Autumn Image at LAS Shanghai

Students in our school, many of whom are not native English speakers, try to swear and it comes out sounding like "shee tah" . You can guess what they are trying to say. But today I learned that in Korean, this means "no" or "hate" so when a boy kept saying it over and over to another boy I told him to stop. But he was just saying no to the student next to him, not swearing. They at least pretended to understand that it didn't sound like good English. I told him to just say "no" in English.

I just saw an incredible article about a Japanese designer using crystals to create furniture. I am most impressed.

weekend madness

silk worms above, beer chicken below

Over the weekend I was invited to go to Bubba's chili cook off, which I did attend, but was so crowded I missed the chili tasting. My friends were smart enough to have nabbed a table upstairs away from the crowd with really comfy seating and a good time to be had. After that we moved to Big Bamboo, another rowdy restaurant where we sat outside until it was time to meet up with a dirty sista at a fabulous Yunnan restaurant in another part of town. Yunnan is a large, beautiful southwestern province of China. Included in the banquet was mashed potato, rabbit, Yunnan cheese, soup, yak, silkworms, fungus, eggplant, tofu and a yellow-alcohol-honey beverage. Also the restaurant let us try a new dish they hadn't named yet made with chicken and beer. It was a fantastic meal. Friends were from China, Israel, US, and South Africa. Sunday had brunch with friends that lasted ehm, 8 hours or so. It was so nice out, such low pollution and gorgeous …
So here I am, teacher, in Shanghai. Only not teaching much of my specialty, orchestra and violin. And no quartet to play with. It's like a mini-identity crisis...who am I now that I'm not front and center leading the quartet and being a professional violin player. This is the first time in my adult life, okay, second (first time was my first year in China) that I wasn't focused on being a professional player. I love to read - it helps me feel a little still connected to the violin world. And am dreaming of trying a David Burgess violin. Some people are all about fame and earning money, getting rich and investing well. I'm not against these endeavors at all. I'm more about investing in my life right now and on a moment by moment basis going after quality of life decisions. This is definitely a gargantuan and life long task. I'd love to have more money and become famous but I also live under the weight of making a living wage as a sel…

Japanese food

I ate BULL PENIS! My friend Naomi and I went to another friend's place in Songjiang, kind of a Shanghai suburb of only 700,000 people, spending several days together. We took an arduous day trip to Xitang, a little ancient water town, that was swarming with people because of the 'golden days' national holidays going on. We stayed an hour...then back to Songjiang where we went to "Little Lamb Hot Pot" - a familiar chain of 'hou gou' or fire pot in English. We ordered a ying yang pot, which is half "la" which means hot peppers, and half not-hot broth. We cooked tofu, lamb, beef, mushrooms, potato, bull penis, cabbage and spinach. The penis was a little chewy, kind of like chewable gristle. I don't recommend it. Not for the hot pot, anyway! And dessert was fried mantou, a kind of small bun, that we dipped into condensed milk. A Chinese treat.

I decided I better study Japanese while I am here because my friends are Japanese! We have a fe…