China



Dear Friends and Family,
"Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!" is the current instrumental song playing in our Q English office right now! ‘Tis the season!! Yet here in Chengdu we're mostly just getting...air pollution. Due to that, the past few days the bus has been free, because the city is trying to encourage people to get on the bus instead of driving their own cars, to clear the air (haha, like THAT would help! Most of the pollution is caused by other things. :)) Anyway, most people are too busy and cold in Chengdu's winter to give up such a luxury as driving their own car. Ahhh, well. For those of us who normally take the bus, a few free rides is nothing to complain about!! I'll definitely take it as another Christmas blessing!! :)
Talking about being at Q English...we're finally getting on top of things here!! The Christmas decorations are up, including a small Christmas tree on top of one of our bookshelves! The bookshelves themselves are stocked full of books, because I FINALLY finished organizing, labeling, and placing ALL the books that were in our storage room on the shelves!! I'm glad to be finished with THAT big project, although I still have to make a book log for the teachers to be able to access whenever they want, if they need a book for their class. But at least I finished the main part. :)
Last week I figured out how to be able to handle my class of four boys a little better! Two of them especially, no matter what I did, continued to play with each other in class or just goof around, spring-boarding off each other. Therefore, I moved the tables so that they sat on opposite sides by themselves, and the two better-behaved boys sat together opposite me. Now there is one boy on each side, unable to reach each other...which often reminds me of them being on their own little island! Or at least, their own little table, even though the tables are joined. :) But it helps A LOT with them actually being able to listen in class, and LEARN!! It's been awesome since I adjusted the tables, since now they're answering questions and focusing!! I'm really excited for future classes!! :)
As for my other classes, they have been really good. My youngest group of students has developed an adversity toward coloring, an activity which is often included in their worksheets (which I can't understand..who couldn't love coloring?? ;) Just kidding, Father made each person differently!). I'm considering shifting their coloring activity to something a little different, like a maze or a word search, or something like that, to complement the other activities!! It'll be fun watching their reaction when I tell them that they won't have to color! :)
Something really funny happened in my classes a couple weeks ago, due to a misunderstanding on the students' part... It comes with a little back-story first, though, so I'm going to tell you all that before heading on to the children's hilarious interpretation.
This summer I had a bad case of parasites which wormed (pun intended) their way into my stomach. Though I was treated for that, my stomach's natural system has been really struggling to recover, and I've had a very hard time eating normally. So yeah...the good news is that this week I've actually started improving, after eating yogurt every day (which has a good dose of probiotics. I would buy actual probiotics here...but I'm not sure I trust the purity or quality of some Over-the-Counter meds here ;)) Anyway, that's the story of my health. I would really appreciate you all lifting it up to Father, that I'll continue to improve. Also, I have 2 months off of work (cause we have a Christmas break and a Chinese New Year break which is always long), so I'll be coming home December 21st and staying until February 23rd! Hopefully, during that time at home, I'll be able to fully improve!! :)
So, back to the misunderstanding with my slightly older students, who are about 8 years old. One week I was really feeling bad, and had to have other people at Q English teach for me. One of the teachers (Audrey, the Chinese teacher who started teaching with me when I first arrived) told the children, in English, that I wasn't feeling well, which is why I wasn't teaching that day. The children didn't understand, so she drew a picture of a person lying on a bed crying. "Ohhh, teacher Becca is crying!! That's why she didn't come!" the kids all very sympathetically said. Audrey told them no, and proceeded to draw a crying face on my stomach, which was SUPPOSED to represent the fact that my stomach wasn't feeling well! Can you guess what the children thought instead?? "Ohhh, Teacher Becca has a baby!!" they all said! Before any more misunderstandings or rumors could take place, Audrey hurriedly explained in Chinese. Thankfully. Because NO, I definitely DO NOT have a baby! ;)
All in all, it's been a super fun semester with my kids, learning new ways to teach them, and also having hilarious kid moments!!
Talking about hilarious kid moments...Wednesday night was my last tutoring night of the semester (I teach the kids at Audrey's house, who come from families who don't know Father). I might not be able to tutor them again next semester because they will be studying for high school. With that in mind, and it being Christmas, I knitted the five of them Christmas stockings and put some chocolate candy inside for them to enjoy! I also gave Michael, Audrey's 5-year-old son, a stocking (with chocolate). He was sooooo happy, he then proceeded to try to give me EVERYTHING in the house!!! Audrey jokingly told me that she was glad he didn't know where her bank card was hidden!! :) It was really touching seeing how my simple gift affected all my students, though, cause they all were telling each other, "Oh, let's buy a gift for teacher!" I'm so grateful I had this chance to reach out to them, and hopefully, if I'm not able to tutor them next semester, I'll still be able to see them sometimes! They usually come over to Audrey's house to hang out with David, so I might see them there. Also, Audrey is planning on having me tutor some of her younger classes (such as the ones with Michael in them!). Therefore I'll still be in touch with her family and hopefully the older kids through them. :)
So yes!! It's been a great semester being able to really reach out to the people around me, particularly the students, and I'm looking forward to coming back (hopefully in full health) next semester with ALL my energy in order to have more opportunities to do the same!! :)
Thank you all for your support and talks with Father!! I look forward to seeing most, if not ALL, of you during my LOOONG break! :) If anyone has any questions before I come home, I'd love to answer them!! My email is brbBecca18@yahoo.com. Have a great Christmas, don't forget WHO it is all about, and stay warm!!! Maybe enjoy a cup of hot chocolate by a fire! ;)
 
Sincerely, Rebecca Wallace