We had a very busy morning today, with the first ever Homecoming Parade of our university, followed by the Homecoming Ceremony and Performance. But instead of getting ahead of myself, I’d better let the pictures speak … Homecoming Parade Homecoming Performance
Chinese people love wishes of luck and blessings. You can tell by the many messages they send, reminding you to stay dressed warmly, to drink much water, to wish you a happy everyday. Usually, you can tell, when the end of the month is near, because then the number of such messages increases significantly, because due to the number of free messages allowed by the cell phone companies, people want to make sure they use up all their free messages. Well then, happy everyday to you, too! Messages displayed here are by courtesy of one of my colleagues.
I’ve been trying to keep up with exercising this spring, and exercising for me means: Tennis. Usually, I play on the weekends, when there are no classes and the tennis courts are available for everyone. This weekend, however, there’s not much tennis-playing going on for me. They’ve organized a tennis tournament, but I decided not to take part. Last time I played in a tournament, I made first place in the female category, and that despite the fact that I had just started playing tennis two months before that! Nope, I’m not a tennis super talent. It’s just that the competition is rather poor! So I decided, instead of playing tennis, I’d rather just play “audience,” hang out with the referees (most of them I know from playing with them before), and catch every chance I can to play for fun whenever one of the courts isn’t used for a match. Tomorrow the tournament will conclude with the finals, and maybe those will actually be worth watching!
Our last bake sale has been quite a while ago. If you remember, it was back during the Christmas season in December. So, this bake sale was long anticipated! And not only that, but probably it’ll be the last bake sale in a while, since most of my colleagues who usually organize it are leaving after this semester :-(. Anyways, the profits usually go towards an organization that supports orphanages in our area, which makes buying these delicacies all the more justifiable. Though the line of those wanting to indulge was long, and the best goodies sold out immediately, I still was able to get my hands on some of the treats. Don’t ask me what exactly they were, for I don’t remember much beyond the peanut butter cups, peanut oatmeal non-bake cookies, and a cupcake. But I sure did enjoy to give myself a treat!
Unlike the shopping experience in the West, many stores in provincial China don’t have a great variety of products readily available in the stores. Choices usually are rather limited, and shopping like that can be rather frustrating at times. But we have taobao! Everyone here knows what taobao is, and thanks to this huge online market, I’ve been able to purchase quite a range of goods. Rumor has it, that there is nothing taobao doesn’t offer, though – of course – that is a bit of an exaggeration. The truth, however, is that you really can get almost anything you need – from simple groceries, to clothes, office supplies, electronics, … anything! In the past, I’ve ordered things like vanilla extract, as well as printing cartridges, external harddrives, sharpie markers, tennis balls, and countless other goods. This online market basically is a place where lots of sellers offer their products, and usually for a really low price. I couldn’t imagine my life without taobao. After all, I had my last order arrive in the mail …
Very late, but Easter has finally come this year! At least in many parts of the world this weekend is the official Easter Holiday. Here in China, Easter is very little known of, and of course, it’s not a holiday here at all. While life is continuing just like usually, I thought I’d give some of my students a little surprise. We colored Easter eggs. Admitted, it’s a little late to start putting up Easter decoration now, but then I always think: better late than never! So, I had my students go through the whole process of blowing the eggs, rinsing, drying and painting. Of course, at first, they didn’t really understand why I would go through the hassle of blowing the eggs, instead of simply cracking them open, but once they understood, they got all excited. For them, it was the first time ever to decorate Easter eggs, and they diligently colored them with plain colors, striped designs, and faces! Happy Easter, everyone!
Did I ever tell you about my balcony? I love my balcony. It’s the one thing that makes my little place more like a home for me. The only problem is the dirt factor. You may remember, that a couple of weeks ago, I told you about the dust bunnies that so love to intrude our lives here. Well, if the dust loves our apartments, it loves my balcony even more. So much so, that – in fact – whenever I clean my balcony, after two days you hear the dust crunching under each step you take out there. For that reason, I’ve given up trying to keep my balcony clean over the winter. This, however, means cleaning the balcony for the first time after months is quite the task. Just a couple of weeks ago, I took on the task: During After Now, with all the dust storms we’ve recently had, my balcony is almost back to stage 1 again. Looks like I have to start another bucket & water campaign!
It’s hard to believe that exactly one week ago it was snowing, whereas today, many of us were out to get a tan! This years spring weather has been quite an escapade: cold one day, summery hot the next. Overall, though, it has been on the rather chilly side of things, lately, and without the heat, some of us have been quite freezing in our homes. All the more, do we enjoy days like this when it’s warm and summery outside. And we are not the only ones. Everywhere students ventured outside, sat on the various grass patches around campus, played sports, or like in the image above: practiced for the upcoming sports day.
Every year, the soccer tournament between the different departments of our university takes place in March. Some members of the foreign faculty also take part in the matches, together with a group of Chinese teachers. Yesterday was the final. And even though it kind of is to be expected that the PE department wins every year, for the last couple of years, the teacher’s team won the trophy. This year, however, fighting not only against the other team, but also against a dust storm that made playing almost impossible, the PE students had the upper hand, and finally won the tournament. For us by-standers, however, being exposed to all the gusts of wind and dust, we were almost as much in need of a shower after watching the game as the players themselves!
Today, I am so thankful, because … … the sun is shining, and the flowers are blooming, and because spring is everywhere! … I made a new friend, and was able to play tennis with someone from the PE department this morning. … I could ride my bike to the tennis court, and no one bothered me by forcing me to put it behind the swimming pool where no one keeps an eye on it! … the sky was blue (yes, I said, blue), which is a rare thing and must make anyone who misses blue skies happy! … because I could be outside and wear a t-shirt and not feel cold! … because I got my balcony cleaned today (the first time in months!). … because I enjoyed a cup of milk and ovomaltine (a delicious Swiss chocolate drink) & some chocolate chip cookies tonight. Is there anything you are thankful for today?