Thursday, January 26, 2012

Christmas Show

We have our cast.


Frosty and Brian the World's Tallest Elf

Snow White and the Seven Tall Dwarfs

Frosty has treats!

He sees you when you're sleeping...

Don't kill Santa!

Merry Christmas!

Click the pix for larger picture.

Our new school will be opening in the middle of February. A lot of money has been sunk into remodeling an old government building to make a state of the art school where preschool kids get a strong foundation of skills to groom them for the rigors of the Chinese school system.
During the month of December we worked to promote the school with lots of publicity and some big events. Since it is an "international school", they wanted us to have a Christmas show.
First, we needed to decorate the school. Since Christmas is as alien to these folks as Chinese New Year is to Americans, they needed a crash course in what decorations to use. Fortunately, there is a street in our city where the shopkeepers have all loaded up on Christmas goodies. We took a group down to that street and had a heyday shopping. Once we had acquired a wealth of goodies, the teaching and administrative staff did a fine job decorating.
A talent search was conducted at one of our other kindergartens for kids who could sing, speak English, and who possessed the attention spans required to rehearse for long periods of time.
The show consisted of many shows and some games. There was a play of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", although the entire cast was pretty much dwarf sized. I read the "Night Before Christmas" with our teenage British friend who translated it into his excellent Mandarin. There was a traditional British family Christmas sketch, Frosty the Snowman, and several cute songs by the kids. I made a fool of myself as Santa Claus, with my son as the "World's Tallest Elf" and we did a duet of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".
The crowd was stoked. We then took our large bag of goodies to distribute and things got a bit sketchy. Chinese people do not politely queue up for anything. They crowd, and cut in and basically act like a bunch of American shoppers on Black Friday, sans pepper spray and tasers. This crowd was worse than some. I felt like a UN relief worker handing out food in Darfur. My Chinese assistant kept saying "move forward". Like one guy in a Santa suit was going to make headway through a couple of hundred parents and kids all vying for candy and mini teddy bears. When we ran out, I had a momentary sense of panic, but miraculously the crowd receded and we were able to gracefully exit to have our pictures taken by parents while posing with their cute rugrats.
It was a fun, successful event. We brought a bit of western culture to the Far East, and we introduced a new day on which children here can harass their parents for gifts.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Since my blogging has been lagging lately I guess I have some ‘splaining to do. I actually have been very busy, but also my life has experienced a bit of an upheaval. Without going into great personal detail inappropriate to such a public venue as a blog, I’ll just say that I am now divorced and had to move to a new place. It was no fun.

I’m OK, though. I intend to stay here in China and work. I also will blog more. Really.

Our new apartment is in a less upscale neighborhood next to a middle school and we are surrounded by teachers and retired teachers. It’s much quieter, and there is a great pianist nearby who gives us lots of lovely music.

Our old place, although in a hi tone neighborhood, was in an older complex. The ground floor garages had been converted to small apartments that were occupied primarily by large extended families of what the locals refer to as “countryside people”. These peasant yahoos have a different type of lifestyle than the other city folk here. They spend much time outside their overcrowded abodes speaking in a tone that could best be described as hollering. They had an old motorbike with a bad muffler, and rambunctious kids who like to play loudly at nap time. They always comforted their screaming babies outside and kept chickens and roosters. I hate roosters, especially at 5 am on my day off. Good riddance, peasants!

The Best Kind of Roosters