Friday, September 7, 2007

End of Hangzhou Week 2!

We have finished our second week in Hangzhou, and the kids have finished their first full week of school!  Peter and Jack have been moved into 1st Grade Chinese, but they are at their age level for everything else.  This is perfect because they are starting at the beginning in 1st grade.  They sit at the back of the class and the 1st graders are turning around all of the time to check out the gargantuan Americans behind them!  They both came  home with smiles on their faces - they did some Tai chi like exercises at school today did some running, stairs, and basketball in PE.  Their muscles are sore from all of the exercise!

Relaxing after a long day:

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Sophie took me to her school's art wall where she proudly showed me some art she did in class today.  She got another star on her forehead so she must have taken a nap again today although tonight she looks tired.

I went back to the barber shop where I took Peter and Jack previously for a haircut and it was quite an experience!  For about $8 US the girl shampooed my hair, gave me a 20 min head massage, rinsed my hair off, gave me a head, neck and shoulder massage.  Then she transferred me to the barber who cut my hair with a very exacting manner.  He spent a long time trying to make it just perfect cutting away hairs I couldn't even see! Then he styled it to make sure it would look ok.  Next it was back to the basin where they washed my hair again, and then back to the barber where he restyled, blow dried, and moussed it all up, and then I was ready for the street!  The whole ordeal was about 90 minutes - I didn't think I was ever going to get out of there but it was very relaxing.

Next, I bought Sue a cell phone and a couple hours of talk time for about $80 US so that we could communicate with each other.  It is much more convenient now that we each have one!  Then it was back to meet Sue for lunch, and off to the store to do some shopping.  It was funny to watch Sue on her bicycle, talking on her cell phone!  Some things don't change!

We are having dinner at some friends' house tonight - an American couple with 2 small boys.  They have been here for 2 months; Enrique, the father, used to live in Tucson, is in the Air Force and is studying for his Master's Degree here.

Other random stuff

This is the year of the Pig of course, so there are a lot of things with pigs on them!  I bought some slippers (you never wear your shoes inside, in China, how gauche!)  These struck my fancy - I wonder how someone came up with a blindfolded pig smoking a pipe (or blowing bubbles??) ? 

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Every morning the teachers do a calisthenics routine before going off to their classrooms.  The kids sit in the classrooms and read out loud to themselves while the teachers do their stretching.  Nice idea!  Sounds like something for the Human Resources Dept. of Prescott Unified School District to implement :).

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This is Sophie's school; it doesn't look like much from the outside but the classrooms are quite nice.  I wonder if those Disney images are licensed?

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Inside of Sophie's classroom before the rest of the children have arrived...Hangzhou 122 

This is a wonderful little market next to the school.  It seems to have one of everything!  I recharged my cell phone minutes here - I paid my money and then they took my phone and typed a bunch of numbers into it.  Finally, I received a text message from the phone company confirming that it was recharged (in Chinese!).  Cool!

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The weirdest thing I saw this week  

This week we were standing in line at the checkout counter and there were 3 monks in line with a Costco sized package of toilet paper.  Hilarious!  I didn't think it prudent to put a camera in their face so sorry no photo!

When we were at the monastery this week I took a picture of a monk.  He was not very pleased and shouted "No Picture!  One Dollar! One Dollar!"  I told him I was sorry, so no more pictures of monks! (Unless it is with the telephoto!  :) )

Sue went to the park this afternoon - there is a Womens' College nearby and 4 girls from the college happened up on her yesterday and offered to help her with her Chinese, and she is helping them with their English.  I don't think Sue will be lonely here!  I think 1/4 of China has Sue's cell phone # now and its only 2 hours old! 

Tomorrow Sue gets the 6:30am bus to the University, and she has to work 1/2 day registration/orientation.  I look forward to hearing what she will say about it, and send her with a camera! 

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