Thank you for your emails wondering about our safety after a large earthquake hit in Central and Northern China. We were not affected, although many of our students said they felt it. Our building made strange creaking noises yesterday afternoon but I chalked it up to building construction. However, since it coincided with the time of the earthquake, I realize now that's probably what it was.
The news reports are now saying that more than 18,000 people have died in the quake around Chengdu. We have some teacher friends who went there so we are anxious to hear whether they are alright.
I have several students who come from that region, so hopefully their families are safe. I didn't bring it up yet in class but probably will tomorrow. I have heard many people comment about how 2008 has been a difficult year for China. First, the biggest snowstorm in 100 years. Next, the EV71 virus scare, and now the earthquake. Hopefully China's luck will change as the Olympics approach!
Today I did a culture lesson talking about step by step instructions. We had a lesson where we made Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches with about 80 students which was a lot of fun. Lots of sticky Chinese people! Ninety percent of them thought they were delicious; the other 10% thought they were disgustingly sweet. Next, we watched the opening scene from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" which they also enjoyed.
Although the boys haven't been to their school for about the past few months, they stopped by today to say goodbye to their classmates. The classmates had gifts and well wishes for them. It reminded Peter and Jack of their previous difficult experiences and they have been thankful for the homeschooling we have been doing for them lately. Going to the school with no "Chinese as a Second Language" support was very difficult for them. I think they will have great empathy for ESL students when they return to the U.S.! At any rate, it was good "closure" for them and they are looking forward to seeing their U.S. friends again!