Ni Hao, Jia Kai!
Hopefully this will be an adequate recollection and re-creation of ...
what is your name? kalf. kef? kalf. kev? kalf. like calf? okay then.
as this was a smoky, pukey, karaoke-filled kind of weekend, and certainly an exhausting day of teaching, i figure recent events warrant a blog post.
the pukey friday night is not really an interesting story other than my friend molly felt a lot better after regurgitating the fried rice she purchased off of a street vendor at about 12 a.m. saturday morning. "you better not cheat me" were her words as she drunkenly stumbled around the periphery of the poor man's cart, lifting lids in an attempt to see (in double, i'm sure) what culinary delight she wanted him to craft for her. this was followed by a trip to a liquor store near my school, at which adam and i proceeded to argue over the grammatically correct sentence formation involving adjectives in mandarin so that he would be able to properly explain to the clerk, a bewildered looking chinese girl being accosted by drunken, bullish americans, that molly was "not good/well". yeah, okay there chinese scholar.
sunday was the famous trip to a ktv in huaqiangbei with that english teacher from molly's school, jennifer, and molly's infamous, would-be suitor, the 30-something art teacher mr. o. to be fair, we still haven't exactly figured out their intentions bringing him along, as every comment jennifer makes about him is that he "is not married, likes his freedom, likes to go to bars, music bars." one could ascertain then that she just wants to introduce him as a chinese friend with whom molly can go out and have a few beers . . . but molly and i are more amused (kind of) by the prospect of there being an ulterior motive, at least up to this point. too many more arranged hang out sessions and there may need to be an imaginary boyfriend crafted. the ktv place was really swanky, snacks were purchased and enjoyed, and oh, the songs that were sung. here was the weaver & mccluskey set list (we only trade in duets):
faith by george michael, lucky by britney spears, material girl by madonna, larger than life and quit playing games with my heart by backstreet boys, rollercoaster by b*witched, scarborough fair and el condor pasa by simon & garfunkel as a duet with jennifer and i, you are not alone by michael jackson, and let it be by the beatles.
that might be it unless i am failing to recall others . . . the chinese people who came later sang quite a lot of songs, and my oh my was mr. o the crooner; he puts steven tyler to shame. i think ktv normally involves a lot more alcohol, since copious amounts of beer and liquor eliminate the typical chinese reserve in this type of situation. however, at 2 p.m. on a sunday, anything more than the 2 beers i had would not have been a good idea. unfortunately for mr. o, there was no happy ending to be had as he left solo and took the bus home while jennifer drove us back.
now, onto this whole teaching english to chinese first and second graders thing . . . can i just say that thankfully, chinese teachers do not necessarily teach consecutive class periods for a full day, from 8:30-4:30 (albeit with a 2.5 hour lunch break). were i in their position if that were the case, i cannot say with any certainty that it would end well. perhaps i am exaggerating. after all, these are some of the cutest kids you'll ever see in your life, with names like kalf (of this blog entry's title), bobo, king, etc. they eagerly say "miss jessica", waving around their work to receive praise and some much-needed class-time attention. HOWEVER, they use their pencil cases like guns. they push each other. they squirm, and they engage in all the other normal activities marking the 6 year-old population, which renders teaching an incredibly arduous task. compound their astronomic level of energy with not really understanding the language i speak, and that is a recipe for classroom chaos. furthermore, each first grade class has a different english ability, and within each class, student comprehension varies markedly. do i sound like i'm complaining yet? i really shouldn't be, as i don't know the last time anyone was lucky enough to sing a little ditty called "hello, hello" for three 40-minute class periods in a row, waving like a lunatic, clapping, and just praying to god that the kids would remember how to say "stretch up high" after we had practiced 15 times in a row. perhaps stretch was a mite bit ambitious a word to use with 6 year olds at 9 a.m. all in all i meandered my way to the conclusion of my third class, thanks mainly to the chinese teachers who acted as translators/enforcers/teaching assistants. they were incredibly nice and sympathized greatly with my plight, but they also tactfully informed me that perhaps i had been overzealous in the quantity of material i had planned. i don't think they know exactly how thankful i was and am for their guidance.
i fear i'm getting too wordy in these posts, and as i cringe at the thought of droning on and inciting boredom in my loyal readers (wink, wink), i will end on that note.