I don’t have too much to write about, because this week was a pretty typical week of school. Today was the first day that we did not have a ‘dragon time’ schedule. Our mascot is a dragon, and dragon time is basically advisory time. The school is on block schedule, and boy, does a full 90 minutes feel like a long time. I am going to have to work hard to function successfully in a 90 minute class period! We have been moderately sociable with our friends in the evenings, including a trip to Brilliance Mall. There is a Decathalon store there, which is a large sporting goods store. I needed to buy swimming trunks, and our new friend Candice needed to stock up on some clothes. Angela was along for the ride. While we were at the mall, there was some sort of variety type show. The first thing I saw was three women singing in Chinese, dressed very fancy. The next act was a magician, who was very good. I was reminded a little bit of Gob from ‘Arrested Development’ as this magician liked to put a little flash into his ‘illusions’. I was disappointed that the Final Countdown was never played. The last act before we left was a fan dance, which was neat but a little less exciting, and we were ready to go home. Last night we had dinner with our new Canadian friend Kat, and then a small group of us hung out at our apartment.
I teach a section of beginning band, and today I had students write a simple rhythm on the board for all to clap and count. All the students did a nice job working with eighth notes, quarter notes, half notes, whole notes and the rests of all lengths. I was entertained when one student wrote up for his rhythm a full measure of alternating 16th rests and 16th notes. We had not talked about those yet. I found that several times when a student got up, I had to explain a new concept to the class. They are bright cookies. We tested instruments today and all of the students were very excited.
High school band is difficult because I do not have the resources that I am used to, and buying things from the music store is a little more difficult. However, the kids have been adjusting to me well and I have gotten to know many of them, and shared some laughs with a few others. They are very nice kids.
I find that I have to deal with waves of homesickness occasionally when something happens that is a result of the international climate. The school is wonderful, but sometimes I get frustrated when I can’t do something, or buy a musical item I need and find myself pining for Iowa. So it goes – starting a new job is always difficult. I could not have asked for better colleagues or a more awesome girl to have come here with though, so life is good.
Tomorrow is Friday, and we have much to look forward to. Happy hour for us middle school teachers after school, and a school barbecue on Saturday. The pollution levels have been incredibly low for Shanghai, so the weather has been warm, but breezy and blue skies and sunshine.