A lot of nothing has happened since I last reported, but I guess it really is the small things that make a life of experiences so I will share anyway.
I started teaching 2 classes 1 day a week and a local high school. In an incredible turn of events, I was presented with text books for both classes before I started teaching and all of my studenst have the same books. One class is called Amercian Album and is a sweet set of videos and related activities following a 'typical American family'. While the book was published in the late 90's I am sure all of the material is from the 80's. I don't think the students believe me when I tell them people in America don't really have huge hair, giant reading glasses, and neon clothes. The other class is supposed to be a review of American history. I asked the students what an American was and they said an attractive person with blonde hair and blue eyes, who is tall, rich, and kindhearted and who speaks English very well while doing whatever they want. I am really started from ground zero there.
We had 3 days off of school/teaching for a sport meeting that lasted equally as long. All of the foreign teachers participated in the opening ceremonies which began with an Olympic-esque passing of the torch. As for the actual sports events, Andreana and I were the most active participants (as usual) and did fun stuff like 3 legged races and 10 people (in a line with your hands on the shoulders of the person in front of you) train races. Clyde and I ran with Bill (Chinese teacher) and a bunch of female students in the 3000 meter run and smoked them all. Bill apparently doesn't know how to do anything slow and, despite running in jeans, ran almost 2 miles in under 12 minutes. Clyde also smoked me in some crazy attempt to catch Bill so I thought I was doing terribly, but I finished 3rd at a time of 13:08. That is roughly a 6:30 minute mile. What? Do I think I am in high school again? Andreana and I also participated in the 4x100 meter relay. All of the events were department vs. department. The Foreign Language Department therefore smoked the other departments on the relay and I think we won by a good 100 meters. It's like they weren't even trying to catch us!
All of the foreign teachers and 3 of our students took a day trip to Changsha, the capital city of the Hunan Province. It is where I flew into when I first came to China but didn't have any time to check out. It's a 2 hour train ride west of Pingxiang. We did a ridiculous amount of walking and apparently didn't do the one thing one must do when visiting Changsha so we have to go back. The city was big and we found a really cool bar were I had a nice draught German beer. That was the highlight.
Halloween, one of the best holidays in the world, was indeed sub par. Andreana and I decided to dress up even though Halloween isn't celebrated here despite what the Chinese people think. They know it is a holiday so they celebrate, they just don't do much else. We mistakenly agreed to go to 2 different parties thinking they were the same so the evening started with a bit of drama. The short version is Andreana was a nerd, I was a witch, and we went to 2 bars were Andreana danced her butt off and I tried to keep everyone happy but failed. Boo!
I donated blood for the first time in my life. I didn't pass out but definitely turned pale and a little blue which I am sure Heather is all too familiar with. I found out I have O positive blood which I believe makes me a universal donor. I feel some sort of call to donate now despite the fact I hate needles, have a low tolerance for pain, and want to faint and the sight of my own blood. I think it will be restricted when I return though... I suppose I will just deal with that when I get back to the States.
Between Andreana and I, we have adopted 4 fish, 1 bunny, and 1 puppy - none of which lived past a week so we are giving up on pets in China.
I have taken up a new hobby - cross stitch. While my first attempt was rather lame I would like to blame it on the lack of instructions and the provided instructions being in Chinese. Before you start thinking I am turning into a little old lady hear this: this afternoon I, along with the other foreign teachers and a handful of students, will be performing a song at the opening ceremonies for the 2nd Annual Pingxiang College Cultural Festival. Again, all is right with the world.
New pictures have been posted in the following albums: Pingxiang October and November, Trip to Changsha. Disclaimer: In the October album, there is a picture of a dog at a meat market. While the picture is not very explicit in itself, it is still a dog and I don't want to shock anyone.