Wednesday, September 30, 2009
1) Shandong Province. Qingdao is on the coast.
2) Receiving the news about our holiday.
3) Me and the corn harvest.
4) Husking corn.
5) Stupid chicken stupid egg restaurant.
Chinese phrase of the day: 坐 火 车 zuò huŏchē (to take a train). At midnight tonight, I will board a night train to Qingdao, where one of my student Angela lives. I had been praying for an opportunity to go home with a student, so I'm excited for this answer to prayer. I will stay with her for a few days and then return to Qufu.
Remember when I said we didn't know if we would have our October holiday? Then we were told that the holiday was still on. Hooray! On Saturday night, we got a call from the foreign affairs director. Uh oh. I was biking with my teammate Lisa at the time, and we were sure they were going to tell us that the holiday was canceled after all. She answered the call, only to be told that 12 students on campus had swine flu, so October holiday would begin immediately. In just a few days, our holiday had gone from 8 days to 1 day to 8 days to 12 days. That's China -- plans can't keep up with changes!
Due to the flu on campus, the university sent all the students home. It's like a ghost town now, with only a few students remaining. They are strictly monitoring the campus gates, taking temperatures and checking IDs of everyone who enters and exits. For foolhardy foreign teachers like ourselves, who are in no way afraid of a little flu, the news has meant an extra four days to relax and enjoy Qufu. We spent an afternoon biking outside town, where the corn harvest makes everything colorful and bright. We discovered a restaurant where you eat in little huts and enjoy fresh free range chicken from the restaurant's "stupid chicken stupid egg selling department." (One of the best Chinglish signs I've seen so far!) It's been really nice to have a break.
Today I will pack, clean, and finish grading my students' writing homework. Then it's off to the coast!