I think we've finally found a bit of a groove when it comes to our group of kids and how to teach them now. We've separated all of our kids into "homerooms" that they stay with throughout their rotations, and by doing so, we've separated all of the "handful" kids into different groups that make them easier to manage. I took Walter in mine, and I've made a TON of progress with him; and at the end of every day, he comes back to my room to say goodbye to me. I love it. I love teaching him and the rest of my kids. I've also made it a goal to go say goodnight to them AT least once a week, because they love that and it helps them bond with us and behave better for us. And who wouldn't love tucking in those precious faces and singing them lullabies?
Yesterday (Saturday) we went into town on our own (as in, without our Head Teachers) and we didn't get lost! We caught the 38 bus to go to the JiaJiaYue and the bank and we spent all afternoon looking at shoes, trying on clothes and buying food. The Chinese LOVE shoes, and they love sparkles, so it's impossible to find shoes that haven't been bedazzled. The Chinese also have tiny feet compared to us Americans, so it's also impossible to find a shoe that fits. I've been in need of boots, and after trying on almost a dozen pairs that were too small or too sparkly (usually both) I found a pair of imitation uggs that have super thick rubber soles, and are BRIGHT red. Also, they are lined with white fluff, so it seriously looks like Santa Clause turned into a pair of boots. They are still a little small, but I love them and they are warm and I got them for 79 Quai, which is about 13 American dollars. Can't go wrong there! After, we took a Rabbit Taxi back to our school, and then almost left again with our group and took caught the 30 bus into downtown Weihai. (We live on the outer most suburb of the city). Kelly, our foreign coordinator, had gotten us coupons for McDonald's, so we went there to sink our teeth into hamburgers! It was a lot easier to order there, because we just gave them our coupons which had pictures of what we wanted on them. And my big mac tasted so yummy, it took every ounce of willpower I had not to go get another one!
Our group broke off after McDonalds, and we were in a bit of panic for a minute, because we didn't remember where we were, or how to get to any of the markets, but we found the bus stop, grabbed the 30 back to the JiaJia, and got off and went to the night market there. We were so proud of ourselves! It was a big boost in confidence for us, because we now knew we could navigate the bus system and the city on our own.
Today, after church, we took a fifteen minute walk to the international BEACH! Yes, I live 15 minutes away from one of the coolest beaches in the world! There are about six different castles that are on the beach, and from what I could tell, there used to be an amusement park on one end too, but it looks like it's been out of business for a while. The beach was beautiful, the sun was shining and we took a ton of fun and pretty pictures that I will hopefully be able to have Symone post soon. It was refreshing to see the ocean and to see BLUE skies (it's smoggy hear 90% of the time) and to feel the sun soak into my pores. I like standing by the sea an awful lot; it reminds me how small I am, but that I still count for something anyway.
We're relaxing right now, before we start another round of meetings, lesson planning and crafting for this week of teaching. I'm gearing up to do Snow White and the 7 Dwarves with my kids this week in Drama and I think it'll go well, as long as I keep control of them.
We're going on day three without hot water. Yes, my hair is gross. Yes, I did put it up into a "hair bow" a la Lady Gaga. and yes, every little girl I taught on Friday pointed to it and said: "Teeecha, BEAUTIFUL!"