I have spent the two weeks with a class of twenty-six English teachers to help improve their spoken English and to teach them about Canadian culture. These teachers have a wide range of abilities but none of them have studied outside of China or have had a "foriegn" teacher so they really value the chance to be immersed in the language. I'm sure they didn't all appreciate having to take the first two weeks of their summer vacation to attend a two week in service but they have proven to be one of the best group of people I have ever worked with. We have had many laughs and they have taught me as much about China as I have taught them about Canada. They have tried to help me with my spoken Chinese (which is limited to about ten words) and I'm sure have had many laughs at my horrible pronunciation!
|Nan Ton University. On our way to class.|
Most of the students do not live in Nantong so they have stayed in the hotel at the sports stadium with my fellow foreign teachers and myself. Each morning we all gather for breakfast at 8am and then take a bus to the nearby Nantong University. Morning class was from 9 to 11 and then we returned to the hotel for a three and a half hour lunch and nap! We returned to the university for afternoon classes from 2:30 to 4:30. Being an afficionado of the afternoon nap myself, I quickly adapted to this schedule and plan to put forward the suggestion back home that this would be an optimal schedule!
The students kindly give themselves English names since it would be impossible to try to remember, or pronounce their actual names. This leads to some very interesting names. In my class I have a Lemon, four Lilies, a girl named Ross, Apple, and various other fruits or vegetables!
|Bus ride in the morning.|
One of the highlights of this time in Nantong has been meeting Mr. Ying, a man who enjoys his white rice wine and wants others to enjoy it with him. The one word I learned from Mr. Ying was "gambay" which roughly means to drink your entire glass of spirits in one go and try to beat the person suggesting this event. I explained to Mr. Ying that we might use the phrase "chug" to convey the same meaning. Echo has happily translated many of Mr. Ying's conversation during our meals and since the use of pronouns is not common she would start her translation with, "Mr. Ying says..." These are just a few of the Mr. Yingisms we have heard:
Mr. Ying says, "Gambay!" (heard several times during celebratory dinners)
Mr. Ying says, "Chug!" (after I taught him this word)
Mr. Ying says, "Do not leave any beer on the table!" (in other words, drink up)
Mr. Ying says, "You need to come back to Nan Tong next summer!" (I think he liked us)
Zai jian, Nan Tong!