This week has trundled by. We’ve been doing lesson observations every day at school, ready to start actual teaching on Monday. It’s been fairly grey, rainy and humid as well. But! This week Luke and I did get our first drawings from one of the students, in fact, Luke got two.
I’m going to be teaching a Jump class of 7 challenging non-English speaking students with learning difficulties, and one of the boys gave me this awesome picture:
I originally thought it was a dinosaur with an aeroplane flying overhead, but actually it’s a t-rex with a pterodactyl flying overhead, silly me.
Giving gifts is a massive part of the culture here, though you have to be careful what it is you give:
- You cannot give clocks – they are related to funeral rituals and can symbolise time running out of a relationship.
- No scissors or knives – they infer the severing of relationships.
- No umbrellas – the word ‘umbrella’ and ‘parting’ are very similar in Chinese, thus giving an umbrella to a friend indicates you are parting ways.
- No shoes – they imply you are walking away from the relationship.
- No green hats – it infers a man’s wife is cheating on him; the hat is similar to a turtle’s shell and implies that the man is a coward hiding in his shell.
We received a ridiculously awesome amount of gifts this week! One of Luke’s students’ parents gave us an incredible amount of bakery goods: three garlic breads, a small malted cream cheese and apricot loaf, and a massive madeira-type cake wrapped in pastry. Not to mention the various coffees and bubble tea drinks from the staff at work. We moved into our new apartment last night as well and as I was walking in from the rain just now, the neighbour in the flat above gave me some iced coffee to welcome us!
Super-best of all, the previous occupants of our apartment, two lovely and artistically-minded South Africans, left us with a number of canvas paintings, pastel drawings, hand-made lesson materials and wall-art! We will get round to photographing and uploading them soon…