Chinese Spring Festival

It snowed for 2 days in Shanghai last week, which is a rare occurrence.  A proper amount of snow as our fellow British teachers would say.   Being from North Dakota and Montana it is not even close to a proper amount, it was more like a dusting.  But it has been bloody cold out, it is not the dry cold like back home but the air has bitter, wet, bite to it.   We joked with the students that we brought the snow with us.  We hear that our dear Colorado is in a drought and hope all the snow comes your way from here on out.

Can you tell we are picking up other accents?  We teach with a handful of Brits, which makes work life interesting.  They talk a lot, have strong opinions and accents.  There are a handful of Canadians, Americans (one is even from Fort Collins, Colorado), South Africans and Spanish teachers.  The students tell us they like our accents best as they can understand us better!  We have been slowly getting the low down from our fellow teachers on the best burger joints, Thai restaurants and markets.  We found 2 places that have buy one, get one free on burgers, which will be dangerous for us. And guess what, the Shanghai Brewery is just up the road about 20 minutes from our apartment, how appropriate!   There is also a nearby Western market for any item we are missing from back home but you will pay for it.  Eating local means eating cheap.

Our attitudes and outlooks on life have slightly improved since our last post.  Zane got thrown right in on his first official teaching day with teaching 5 different classes, which is the amount of classes we will normally be teaching each day.  He was nervous but did excellent and the confidence started to return.  As we get more practice it will continually get better but we have mixed feelings about the company that we are not sure will change.  We decided to set monthly checkpoints to look forward to where we will reevaluate our situation and make sure everything is going well for both of us.  This has eased our minds and we also have accepted that we will have bad days and to try to learn to anticipate them. 

The Chinese New Year was celebrated this whole past week and we got 3 extra days off from teaching.  2013 is the year of the Snake and the holiday is based off of a lunar cycle.  We attended a potluck party on the actual New Year’s Eve night with some new teacher friends.  The fireworks were out of control!  At midnight that evening, we had never seen anything like it.  Fireworks set off between every high rise building over and over, car alarms going off and piles of used fireworks lined the streets.  It looked as if the buildings were going to explode!  Afterwards, the sky was a foggy red color as if the air quality is not bad enough here.

These fireworks are commercial grade but they are not set off by professionals.  They are set off by anyone in the city who wishes to light a fuse.  Our students tell us they have been setting off fireworks since they were 3 or 4 years old as it such a huge part of their culture.  The fireworks have continued for a week straight.   On the 5th night of the holiday it was like the New Year’s Eve night all over again because this is when all of the businesses set their fireworks off for good fortune for the next year.  Needless to say, we have not been getting the best of sleep since some nights they will go until 1AM and then start again at 6AM.

We finally got a chance to start to explore the city.  So far, it is pretty underwhelming.  Way too many people, lots of pollution and grey skies.  We have never missed trees, clean air and the Colorado sunshine more.  The Oriental Pearl Tower, in the financial district is a pretty cool attraction.  Near there is an area called ‘The Bund’, which is the river front walkway with some unique buildings.  We also made it to People’s Square which has a couple parks, the Shanghai Museum, the Grand Theatre and Nanjian Road which is a pedestrian walking mall. It was great to people watch in the parks and hug some trees.  In People’s Park on the weekends, parents hang out with the pictures and stats of their single adult children to try to set up with other people’s children.  It was quite a scene with a couple hundred of them trying to sell their sons and daughters to the best suitor!   They would love to set their daughters up with foreigners so I am ready to put up a fight for my Zane.

We sent our love to everyone back home.  We apologize that we still don’t have internet at our apartment so it has been much more difficult to keep in touch the last 2 weeks.  Sending big hugs!

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3 Responses to Chinese Spring Festival

  1. Lee Schwartz says:

    Hey Katie and Zane! Great to hear from you. Sounds like lots of stuff to experience. How are the burgers?

    Cruising through the winter up here, snow keeps piling up. Morgan turned 16! Sam is leading his team, one more tourney then state. I’m cruising, Evolv is growing nicely, AS is steady, was just in Atlanta, back into yoga (rec’d a little gift from a special lady), days are getting longer…and that means one thing…water skiing is just around the corner!

    Love you guys,

    Lee, Morgan, Samuel

  2. Leah says:

    Wow Fireworks shows back home will never compare. Katie, how are you feeling about teaching? 5 classes a day sounds exhausting. Perry hit his 500 flight hours last week. Now only 500 more to go. He is busy with a good number of students so we hope it’ll be by the end of the year. Power is almost potty trained, talking more everyday and as tall as a 5 year old. Diane visits in Monday 2/18 – Friday 2/22.
    We’re excited to spend time with her

  3. leslie jacobs says:

    So good to hear from you..! I like all the different people you are meeting. A friend ( bed) in every port will hopefully be the outcome.
    Richard and I went up to Montana to look for a Morgan horse at the ranch where Sukurs was bred. Although we looked at 40 horses I did not find one I wanted to take back. But It was a fun long trip. Richard is not going to Kansas this year, or ever, so these new
    orders Jan 21 are for one more year in Salt Lake City. I am still at the hospital.. and looking out on an always sunny, clear fresh skies in Lander WY.
    Love you two

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