This week was fun though because in my first class with my new students (last week) I gave them the homework assignment to give themselves an English name to be used in class. This is generally a fun thing for them to choose a name that is all their own and "exotic" sounding. I share my Chinese name with them, in hopes that they don't think I am trying to "westernize" them.
Sidenote: My name is Ke Xiao Mei. And I love it! A lady from my chu.rch gave me this name. Ke is the family name, same as hers. Xiao means the morning, dawn, or the point when the sun reaches the horizon. Mei is a kind of flower that is native to Hangzhou, my home in Chi.na. To the Chinese ear, it literally means, "flower blooming in the morning".
So I began class today by having my students introduce to me their English name and why they chose it. There was the expected bunch of "Allen"'s after Allen Iverson and "Bruce"'s after Bruce Lee. Many "James"'s for James Bond and girls love fruit and flowers, "Cherry", "Mango", "Rose", and "Lily" are all popular.
The student who wanted, "a name to rock someone" chose to call himself, "Wind". I think it's great. I also have a male student named Constantine. And a Lucifer. I accidentally laughed when I saw Lucifer write his name and asked him if he knew what it meant. He said yes and went into a detailed explaination..."Lucifer is a fallen angel and everyone has problems like me so I like the name because he is a fallen angel." Well, that makes sense to me, I guess.
I was a little disappointed in the lack of weird, off the wall names. haha. The strangest I have this year (besides Lucifer and Wind) are guys named Fish, Constantine, Lock, and Bell. One girl names herself Kachisha. I told her it sounds Russian and she explained that she wants this name because her Chinese name is very simple and she wants a more interesting English name. haha. Kachusha.
In other news: Today I was planning to have dinner with some friends out at Huanglong Stadium. I stood by the street for over 30 minutes waiting for a taxi and finally gave up. I can't wait til I can ride my bike again, this foot is taking forever to heal, or even feel a tiny bit better. Working on it all day isn't helping. I think this is one time where my stubbornness may get the best of me.
Also, plans for the upcoming National Holiday have been bouncing around. Me and the infamous CREW planned to travel 40 hours by train each way to the Sichuan Province; home of pandas, spicy food, and word's most giant Buddha carved into a mountain side. Because Chi.na does not have their ticket system online (dumb) I waited in a line for over an hour only to be denied a ticket and yelled (kaui dian! "hurry up") at by the people waiting behind me. Oh Well. Because we are the CREW and are used to having 98547358974 itineraries for any given trip, we are now planning to escape to the island oasis of Xiamen. It is the gateway into T..a.i.won. Today's plan is to purchase a bus ticket. Hopefully this will go better than the train ticket attempt. haha. If not, I'm sure we will come up with something else just as awesome. We always do. It always works out. The plan for traveling constantly migrating country is to be as fluid as possible...rolling with the wind (or smog).
I have also given in and decided to drink the Chinese medicine given to us foreign teachers to prevent swine flu. Yesterday my throat was hurting and I felt weird. I knew if I got sick that they would ask me if I drank the "bittery" tea, so I gave in. I opened the plastic bag and emptied it into a ceramic bowl, warmed it in the microwave and drank it with a diet coke chaser. Not too bad. Cheers.
Things are rolling along. I've given up constant wonder for routine and I think I like it. I am glad to experience China in both ways. This week has reestablished my thought from last year that a person can do anything for a year, but it is after the wonder and newness subsides that the real test of survival begins. I like knowing Hangzhou like it is my home, like I belong here, and not like it is some exotic local that I just happen to be existing in temporarily.
I also found out today that the two new dude foreign teachers at my school are a couple. That makes me the only young, straight, non-super serious relationship (depending on the day) teacher under the age of 50. Awesome.
Things on the thesis-front are rather slow. I am hoping to be done with a draft by Wednesday, the day I go to Xiamen for a week. Let's see how that goes. Oh APA style, how you torture me. Those 4 years spent under the MLA doctrine at Flagler are of no help to me now that I am so close to my master's degree. It's ok, though, I am actually enjoying my thesis process, which I think is monumental to be able to admit. I love my thesis. whoooo Chinese babies galore.
babies, funny student names, interesting co-workers, travel plans on the horizon, life is good in the Red Country.