After a painfully long bus ride, we arrived at the river village outside Shanghai. There was a family with two Chinese girls, maybe 2 or 3 years old sitting next to us in the bus. Throughout the entire ride they were yelling, fighting, and crying. I had my ipod on with the volume pretty high, but I could still hear the girls! If I knew some Chinese I would have tried to exchange some words with them. The couple sitting in front of the girls moved all the way to the back of the bus. I was surprised that none of the Chinese people on the bus said anything to the parents.
We started exploring the river village. As we started walking around we passed by stands of pork wrapped in bamboo leaves, incredibly stinky tofu, and Chinese souvenirs. After walking around for a bit, we found a café to sit in called the bum café. We were the only people inside. We sat down by the windows next to the river. After sitting there for a while and sipping my Jasmine green tea, my friend noticed that they had wireless Internet! We both took out our Ipod touches and asked our waitress for the password.
The Internet was definitely slow. It took a while to load my e-mail, forget even trying facebook. I decided to check my school e-mail. I had three new messages to my surprise. I was a bit nervous about checking my school e-mail knowing that I had sent progress reports home that Friday before the vacation. As I read the message a parent sent, it said how they were thankful for my teaching and happy to hear from the progress report how their child was doing at school.
It’s always encouraging when I get positive feedback from parents about the work that I do. I know that often as teachers, the appreciation we get from parents can be limited. Well I thought it was pretty cool, that here I was at the bum café, checking my e-mail, and sipping on Jasmine green tea.
As we got back on the same bus, we realized that we would be on the bus with those same girls again. This time, they had these recorder-flute like instruments that they bought and were making a loud noise. We couldn’t believe it. Were they really going to be playing those instruments for the entire bus ride back? For the first good 15 minutes of the bus ride they were playing the instruments loudly and the mothers didn’t say anything to them. Finally, a man who we assumed to be the uncle or dad came to their seats and pulled their flutes out and told them to be quiet. Luckily they fell asleep on the ride back.
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