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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Banquet, wholesale & exams

Drinking and eating with Chinese people and preparing exams for my students in the sun.

The last two weeks I finally found out why they call Kunming the "city of eternal spring"!! Temperatures during the day are between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius and at night it still is about 10-12 degrees. And the best part is that is doesn't rain! It has been dry almost the entire time. So even though it is almost Christmas, it really feels like spring here :-)
Besides enjoying the weather I finished my last full week of teaching. This week I will be giving reviews of all the material and on Thursday the first final exams start. So at this time I am busy preparing all of the final exams. Which is harder than expected. One part of me wants the exam to really test their knowledge of how to use what we studied, so let them explain why things happen. But if I would do that probably 70% of the students would fail or barely pass. Why? Well most Chinese exams they test on "how-well-can-you-learn-stuff-by-heart". So even if you have no clue what you are writing down you can still pass with a prefect grade. "When you are good at memorizing, you deserve high grades" seems to be the motto of many Chinese teachers. Too bad, but that's the way it is. So my other part wants to be nice to them and give them a fair shot at passing, so I am also including quite a few memorization questions.

Last Friday Shos was invited to a banquet for all her Ph.D. students and I was allowed to join. It was a nice, really Chinese events. Some speeches (way too loud), and lots of food and drinks. And of course they all tried to get Shos and me drunk in which they succeeded pretty well :-) Drinking a lot of jinjiu (a kind of Chinese Jägermeister) and toasting with the students resulted in us singing, dancing and playing around with a hoola hoop :-)
Yesterday we went to the wholesale market in Kunming. And we were so amazed by the size, chaos and shit ton of things that we didn't buy anything... But it is a great place to stroll around and amaze yourself about all the things Chinese buy and sell, ranging from the most hideous clothing ever seen, to big bags of balloons and jewelry. The thing they had the most of... Chinese people! ;-)
That's it. I am going on with making my exams. And my parents will leave for China in just 3 days, so mam and dad: Enjoy!!!

Bis schnell,
Ruud B.

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