One day at a time!

Well semester one of Uni is officially over. Next week we have our exams and then we are finished until September. Unfortunately my character learning has slowed, well it’s actually at a stand still. I don’t know all the characters, but I decided not to stress about it. Theres no point in worrying over something that doesn’t need to be worried about. I’m not exactly under pressure to learn them, only from myself!

So I do my exams, work the next few days, then Ireland! Or in Chinese 爱尔兰 ‘ài ěr lán’ . Ireland pronounced in Mandarin is very similar to the English pronunciation, as are many other countries. The Chinese just pronounce them phonetically. So ‘chocolate’,  ‘bacon’ ‘pizza’ ‘hamburger’ ‘coca cola’ among others sound quite similar to English, check them out and you’ll see!

Packing wise for Ireland, everything is shaping up nicely. We’ve gotten our euro’s, giving us 500euro notes which I was surprised about! But, easier to bring back with me.

I’ve also bought some things from the internet so I have to wait for them to arrive. But apart from that everything is going fine.

I’ve made a list for my Mum to cook us while we are there, and each day, it’s growing longer. I haven’t eaten my Mum’s food in like forever, so I want to make the most of our time at home by indulging her cooking again. God knows when I’ll be back, as I’m going to be broke when I return to China. Working part time does have it’s drawbacks unfortunately.

In China, this weekend there is a festival; The Dragon Boat Festival. I’m not sure what it’s actually about, but I know the Chinese eat these sticky rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves. I’ve tasted one last year and it was ok, not amazing, but ok. But I’m guessing there are many varieties so you just have to find out which ones you like.

Usually during Festivals many students cancel, but so far, none of mine have yet to cancel! And I know for a fact one group will be coming on Monday. I’m guessing I’m such a good teacher that they really want to have English class. ha. But if they do cancel, that means I’m loosing out on pay, but then that equals more free time. It’s a catch-22 situation. But, if they choose not to come, I won’t be too disappointed anyway.

So at the moment nothing too exciting is happening. Slowly counting my days until home time; Rafael is fed up of me showing him how many days we have left on my countdown app. I’m sure he can certainly figure it out himself. But, it gets me excited anyway!

The only thing I’m worrying about is the weather. All I want is no rain. Maybe no wind either. I don’t mind if it’s cloudy and no sun, but just no rain. I’m not being too picky! If the sun does come out, then I’ll be extremely happy, but for now, just having the clouds ( and no rain) will do me fine.

再见!

Aisling.

Why do electronics hate me?

Why do electronics hate me? On Tuesday, I arrived in my classroom with my Elective Group, set up the computer and power-point, and proceeded to teach my lesson. I was showing them Tongue Twisters. (It was funny listening to the students try and say them) I was looking at my own computer and all I hear is ‘oh’. I look up and wonder what’s wrong, and they point to the screen on the wall. I look up and see that half of the screen is covered with a big grey square, covering half my power-point. So that was that, I couldn’t do the power-point. My assistant went downstairs to see if we could move to another class. So that was fine. ‘The computer will be fixed tomorrow, it will be fine’ was what I thought.

So then I carried on with my week. Yesterday I arrived to class with my 1st years, switched on the computer, then proceeded to set up my lesson. So, I’m all ready, my students patiently waiting, until the computer freezes! There are 2 computer screens. 1 screen is mine, and the other screen allows me to connect my computer to all of my students so they can see my power-point. In this classroom each student has their own computer. So now my students couldn’t see anything. 

I started to get flustered now; I have 90 minutes to keep 48 students entertained without a computer. And typical, this all happens when I have no teaching assistant! In each class I have a teaching assistant who would translate what I have said to the students. To be totally honest, I would prefer not to have one. My Elective classes all understand me perfectly, so all my assistants do is sit and watch, so it’s really just the Required classes that I need assistants because their English is quite poor.

So I asked my student Lidia (that’s how she spells it) could she go and find someone to try and fix it. I told my students to get into groups and each think of a word that rhymes with the previous word, like sat, mat, hat.

There was no luck finding anyone, so 3 students got up to try and figure out what was wrong with it. One said, rather solemnly ‘teacher, it is broke’. Great. So I was resigned to the fact that I would have to think of activities for the remainder of the class.

But suddenly, it worked! I have no idea what happened it but at least it worked! This actually happened me a few weeks ago with my other Required class. Typical, my assistant wasn’t in that day, and the computer wasn’t working. So there I was, wandering the classroom hallways with 2 of my students looking for somebody to help me. One boy arrived and said in Chinese that he couldn’t fix it. I rang my advisor; no answer. I then rang my other teaching assistant and said could he come up and help. He sounded groggy making me think he was asleep when I rang!

So I talked to the students until he arrived, where after a few minutes he fixed the computer. I was so grateful and said to my students ‘Now say thank you to Liang for fixing the computer’. Ha all the students shouted ‘THANK YOU!!!’ I’m pretty sure he got a bit embarrassed, and as the Chinese say ‘lost face’.

Back to my previous situation,  for the remainder of the lesson I put on a video about Chengdu and its food. It’s called ‘Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure’ There are 4 parts to it, so I put on the Chengdu one and they loved it! A video is only meant to last a maximum of 15minutes, so after 15minutes, I paused it, asked them questions about it, then watched another 15 minutes. In one part, the people were eating pig’s brain. I asked the students ‘do all of you eat pigs brain?’ a collective ‘YES, IT IS DELICIOUS!’ rang out, and I was quite shocked! I didn’t expect them all of them to say they eat it. So after all that, the class went ok in the end.

So I had my next lesson after lunch, in classroom 208, where my lesson on Tuesday had to be moved. I thought ‘there were other classes in here today, I’m sure it’s fixed’. WRONG. I set it up, was half way through an activity, then that dirty grey square arrived on the screen! So we had to move our classes again. Hopefully for next week it will be fixed!

Our apartment isn’t even safe! 2 days ago, the water went off. Apparently a pipe broke. So no showers. I had to wash my hair over the sink, and I missed half the back of my hair, so one patch of hair is greasy while the rest is lovely and clean. Nice! And we aren’t getting it back until tomorrow. Then yesterday at 5, the ELECTRICITY went off. So at 6:30, I was getting ready in darkness for my class at 7. Pity it didn’t go off all over the college. Thankfully it came back at 10pm so at least we have electricity. I realise now how dependent we actually are on electricity.

Now I can’t wait until the water is back, I can have a hot shower and wash ALL of my hair this time!

Aisling.