Friday, December 7, 2012

Students Addendum

See I told you that another post was coming soon!
I just remembered a story that I wanted to add to the "Students" post, so I suppose I'll just make a new post of it.

A few weeks ago, I caught a pretty bad cold [see the hatred illness text reference in previous post] and struggled with intense bouts of coughing and nose-blowing for over a week. Still I managed to get through classes with lots of tea and cough drops. However, during my last class of the day, after about 5 1/2 hours of teaching, I ran out of tea. I thought I could make do with some cough drops (which is always fun to try to teach with one in my mouth) and letting my students give some practice speeches.

While listening to one of these speeches, a monster of a coughing attack came rising up my lungs. After futilely trying to suppress it, I ran out of the class into the nearby bathroom and proceeded to cough nonstop for about 2 minutes. A concerned student brought me some water which helped, but I could barely speak. My nose was running and my eyes were watering uncontrollably.

I managed to get back to class and croaked to my students that class was over five minutes early. The look on my students' faces was one of absolute  worry and pity. Many of them brought me tissues on their way out and told me to feel better. Some stayed as I was packing up, and I apologized for this bad cold. They seemed a bit surprised and very concerned.

After arriving at home, Ben came in a few minutes later and immediately wanted to know if I was alright. I said yes, but I just had a coughing attack in class.

My face was a compilation of the picture above and below...only less cute.

He replied, "Oh! A couple of your students ran into my class exclaiming that Rachel is crying and to come quick!"

Hearing this news almost brought on another coughing/crying episode. I could not believe that my students thought the tears on my face were from crying not the explosive coughing! Apparently many thought that I was homesick or something and got emotional and had to leave. Of course, the erroneous version spread like wildfire and the next day after running into some of Ben's students on the bus from an entirely different class, they asked how I was doing because they heard I started crying yesterday.

This story does have a happy ending (no, reading about how Rachel humiliated herself does not
Magical (and cheap) Chinese medicine
count as a happy ending). Some of my wonderful students who stayed after class and discovered the truth took me to the school clinic to get some medicine for the cough. A quick
consultation and 30 rmb ($5) later, I left with more drugs than I have ever owned in my life. Most were herbal remedies and not too scary looking. And though I did not take the recommended 38+ pills a day (I think I got down 4 max), after about two days I felt dramatically better. By the time Monday classes began, I could confidently teach without worrying my students that I am nearing an emotional breakdown...this time.

Perhaps I need to wear more clothes like this adorable Chinese dog! Sweet tips :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Students Say and Do the Darndest Things!

Wow, it has been a long time since we've last posted. Lots has happened to us, and we will try our best to catch you up on the highlights and spare you from the not-so-pleasant parts.

This post is mostly dedicated our students-- all 400+ of them between the two of us. They bring us so much joy, laughter, and yes, sometimes frustration. Truly, they teach us just as much as we do, them; learning firsthand about culture, food, language, relationships through these 19 and 20-year-olds has been wonderfully enlightening.

One of our favorite quirks about our students is their English names that most of them chose for themselves last year. Most of them have normal names like Mark, Tiffany, and Lori. But there is always one or two kids in our classes that may be trying too hard to emulate some Hollywood celebrities' kids' names.

We don't have a Blue Ivy, one of our friends' student's name is Blue Goat! 

For example, we have a Cookie, Brain, Bunny, Barraatt, Wytte, Jezebel, Nokia, Bieber, Pluto, Nemo, and Deal. We don't know why most of them choose their names, but it is always a bit amusing to compare unusual names with the other teachers. One has best friends with the name of Coca and Cola, and we all have a [not] surprising number of Bryants and Jeremys.

Our students love to send us the most touching and inadvertently funny texts and im messages to us.
Here is just a sampling of the texts they have sent:

  •  Hey, the weather is low temperature today! It turns cold. Need to wear more clothes! Sweet tips :)

  • Good bye, Rachel! Hope you and your lover Ben will have a good night. 

  • Dear Teacher, I am Mary. Please wear warming! Care yourself. I love you. Thank you. 

- T: Yes, I am so sad to hear that [you will not be going home for Christmas]. But I think it is so happiness together with Ben for you
- Me: Oh don't be sad, we will be fine! Yes, Ben and I are excited to spend our first Christmas together
- T: Yes. I think so. The power of love is great.

  • I am so thankful for good friends like you, too! I hope my sweet words can help you feel comfortable and joyful, and then you can forget the hatred illness! 

Another interesting (and much appreciated) quirk of teaching is the number of food related gifts we receive. Giving apples to a teacher is not an antiqued tradition-- I received almost two dozen of the juiciest and most delicious apples from one of my students recently.

We have also received kilos of pomellos (giant grapefruit), bananas, and even purple yams. We have some of the most kindhearted and generous students, and we are so thankful for the opportunity to teach them. [Shameless plug: hiring for Sias University is beginning soon! If you are interested in a life changing and rewarding experience, send me an email or fb!].
Just some of the yams given to us

The inside! Such purple-y goodness!

Speaking of thankfulness and food, Thanksgiving was such a special and fun time for us. We began with an intense tournament of flag football with the other foreign faculty, followed by a barrage of students from our classes giving us cards thanking us for being their teacher, and then a massively delicious feast that left us catatonic for hours.

Not messing around!

Ugh, the ONLY time Ben's guy caught the ball!
Some of our many Thanksgiving cards <3
The beautiful Thanksgiving banquet

Ok, that's all (as my students say). Care yourself, my dear friends and family. I love you!