China Team Journal

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday June 25, 2010

Opening Thought for the Day:
Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won't come in. Alan Alda

Friday, the last day of the teaching week. And this Friday the last teaching day of our first week was typical with skits, vocabulary drills, pronunciation improvements, battles against shyness and the many other methods we employ to make the program work.
Today, as in previous days, had its range of emotions. “Do they not understand anything I am saying”, to “yes, they are excited, they are speaking to each other in English.” Two weeks to go! It can work!

Ah, lunch, that round table of opinions, memories, advice perhaps solicited, perhaps not, as well as sincere offers of help and encouragement. We heard at length from two volunteers who have the audacity to not follow American football or any major sport. They will not be asked to offer a talk on the benefits of our professional sports, nor even contrast it with the gladiators of Rome. And there was no encouragement today for Brett Farve that aging quarterback formerly associated with the Green Bay Packers. But we did learn that in Milwaukee the team mascots, the sausage people, whose capers and races still bring the crowd to its collective feet. And know well that the Polish, German, Italian and Mexican fans cheer their sausage with fervor and joy.

And so the afternoon moves on at a scheduled pace for some, and unscheduled wandering and exploration for others.

All this occurring in Kunming, China where the vehicular traffic like that in the rest of China, at least in the China I have seen, has the oxymoronic quality of controlled chaos; of a dance where one cannot distinguish the dancers from the dance. Newcomers to China are terrified by the variety of challenges imposed by the flow of an immense number of motorized and non motorized conveyances. Seek no cover on the sidewalks; they drive there too. Accept the notion that the driver will probably not hit you, especially you, a Westerner. Since you are now part of it, relax and enjoy the dance.

Closing Thought for the Day:
Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.
…Japanese proverb