Thursday, January 7, 2010

School's In

I was really excited to start teaching again after being on vacation. Spending time with my family and friends in Hong Kong was great and really rejuvenating, but I like teaching and I like my students, and spending a week away from them is always a little weird. Plus, I was looking forward to this week's lesson. Two weeks ago we told them that they would be writing skits while Gus and I were on vacation, and that they would perform them for us when we returned. So coming back to Guangzhou didn't only mean coming back to the classes I enjoy so much, it also meant coming back to those classes and not having to do any talking. And, most importantly, it meant getting to see my students again, the students I've worked with all semester and grown very fond of, with whom I've built relationships based on mutual trust and respect, and who really do, sometimes, teach me more than I teach them.

And then I walked into my very first class on Tuesday morning, and one of my students, who has been in my class every single week for the past 4 months, turned to me and said, "How was your vacation, Gus?"

You win some, you lose some. In his case it seems I've been losing him every week for the past 4 months.

Anyway, the presentations have been great. So far only two groups have used toy machine guns to kill each other at the end of their skit, and only one group has had a girl pretending to make herself throw up in the bathroom, and no groups have used any racial slurs! One group did use the word "fuck", as part of the difficult-to-parse phrase "Why do you fuck to me?" Oh, and on group had a girl wear a fake moustache made out of post-it notes. That was pretty cute.

One of the presentations in Gus's class taught me a new Chinese internet meme, based on this picture which turned up on a Chinese message board earlier this year:

The caption says, "What brother is eating isn't noodles, it's loneliness."

Variations on the caption became super popular a few months ago. As you can guess, it's pretty versatile. I think this meme is sort of funny, and it's doubtless something that I would joke about with my English-speaking friends here, if I had more than one English speaking friend. What brother is living isn't loneliness, it's...nope, still loneliness.

Just kidding, Gus. We can joke about it together. And we'll laugh and laugh.

In other news, after class today one of the other teachers came in and told Gus and me that we had won prizes for our performance in the Teachers' Sports Meet. A prize? Are you fuck to me? Gus and I lost or almost lost every event we entered. There is no way we deserve a prize, unless the prize is a consolation prize for losing/not being chinese.

But I won a prize! The prize was a plastic bag, inside which was a blue hand towel, a pink hand towel, a black hand towel, and a white hand towel embroidered with the picture of a running dog. This brings the total number of hand towels recieved in exchange for participation in the sports meet to: 5.