Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bike Touring Greater Linfen

I hooked up with this bike touring group through a local bike shop in town. The owner and a girl from the group have been really great to me. I just finished my second trip with them today. Last weekend we bike about 35km (22 miles) north to a town called Hongdong(洪洞). Today we did about the same distance in the opposite direction to a place called Dingcun (丁村). This place had a nice little museum about the history and stuff. Biking around has turned out to be great fun, and this group does exactly what I was going to attempt on my own.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Fen River

The Chinese built a lovely dam across the Fen river to give the allusion that a robust river runs through the town. But in actuality, not to far beyond the last bridge is this dam followed by the bed where the river used to be.

Went on a short bike ride along the Fen river yesterday, after which Linfen is named.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Synchronized Competition

The other week I got a phone call saying one of my afternoon classes was canceled because of some competition. So with no class to teach I thought I'd walk over to the sports field and check it out. Turns out all the freshman were required to compete in this synchronized movement competition. Group after group marched to the center of the field and performed the same movements to the same music counting from 1 to 8. I didn't quite understand the point but I watched a while, said hello to some of my students and went on my way.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Jinci and Shanxi Museum

Shanxi Museum

Journey to the West paper cut outs.

Linfen on a nice smoggy morning.

Last weekend my school sponsored a trip to Taiyuan for all the foreign teachers. Only half of us went but it included the cute 71-year-old Japanese man that lives above me. We actually bunked together Saturday night; he's a pretty interesting guy. His Chinese is quite good and his English isn't too bad either. One of the other teacher's husband could speak some Japanese and it wasn't unusual to hear any mixture of Chinese, English and Japanese circulated through our conversations. They took us to Jinci (晋祠) and Shanxi Museum (山西博物馆), both were pretty impressive.

Monday, November 22, 2010

First a teacher now a coach

These are from three weeks ago, I've just been lazy about posting. I went to China North University (中北大学)for the provincial English competition. It's a school just outside of the capital city of Taiyuan. I was one of two teachers sent by our school to act as coaches for our two students. Our students didn't place too high, one got 9th place out of 39, but the trip was still pretty fun. I thought the judging was a little skewed anyways and there seemed to very little basis for the awarded scores. Our students were good sports though and we were able to just enjoy ourselves. We climbed up one of the mountains neighboring the school, which was really cool to see. The other teacher was Chinese, fairly young and spoke really good English. She was really nice and helped to teach me some more Chinese too.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chinese Halloween Party

The English Association put on a Halloween celebration Sunday night. It wasn't really a party nor did it really have much resemblance Halloween. The thing opened with a video of a Halloween themed rave, followed by a series of random student performances such as singing and dancing. The decorations were purple and pink balloons and the 'O' in Halloween banner was a heart. All the foreign teachers attended but, aside from a couple children, were the only ones in costume. And it was no surprise when they sat us on display in the front row facing the crowd. Even though the party was sort of a bust it had its entertaining moments, the worst part is now there are at least 50 pictures floating around of me dressed as a fisherman.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Update on Life at Shida.

I've been in Linfen for almost 3 weeks now. I'm teaching regularly now, 7 two hour classes a week, supposed to be 8 but I'm not complaining. All but one of my classes are Freshman non-English majors, the other being post grad non-English. Most classes are about 50 students and mostly girls, as this college is mainly for students who want to become teachers. Life here has been good so far, I have made a few Chinese friends, explored the city some and tried quite a few new dishes.

I apologize for the lack of pictures on here lately, I haven't been carrying my camera around too much, mostly because I'm still getting comfortable here. I already draw a lot of attention being a white foreigner and a giant camera just adds to it, but also I don't want to get into any trouble with the law so I want to feel out the political climate a little more too. Lately I've been devoting a lot of my free time to studying Chinese, I'm trying to regain a lot of what I have forgotten and get my conversational up to speed.

For now I've included a night-scape of Shanxi Shida, short for Shīfàn Dàxué (or Normal University). Also here's a picture of an asian style burger i concocted up from meat I bought at the butcher, and lastly a pumpkin I carved because, well, things like this make me happy.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pet Fish!

I bought some additions for the apartment. Meet Carlton and Marty. I also picked up this tree at the market. It's nicknamed "Facai shu" or "get rich tree". I looked it up and it's real name is Malabar Chestnut.