Two weeks before school is finished, I have a five-day weekend. The Gao Kao is a national exam for seniors in high school that basically determines which university they'll go to. As one student put it this week, "we spend twelve years preparing for a two-day test that determines our future." The Gao Kao is a crazy exam and a blog topic for another time. There was no school today for setup for the exam, and then the test is tomorrow and Sunday. Monday is a national holiday - Dragon Boat Festival. The Senior I students (10th graders) have important exams on Tuesday, so my classes were canceled.
We have to move out of our apartment. Even though Anna and I are both returning for a second year, the school uses our apartments between contract dates (July 16 - August 20) for international students and guests of the school. We're trying to find a way out of packing everything up and putting it in storage, but it's not looking good right now. It's amazing how much stuff we've accumulated in ten months - and we arrived with just three suitcases! Hurray for IKEA in Beijing!
I got up early this morning and started a thorough cleaning of our apartment, washing the kitchen walls, cabinets, floor and moving on through the rest of the rooms. Now I'm taking advantage of the extra unexpected time to get my grades ready to turn in. Some students are coming over on Monday from Class 11 to play some games and hang out, maybe watch a movie. They're a cool bunch of students with great English.
After we studied ancient Greece and Rome in 10th grade Western History class, I assigned my students a writing exercise. They were to choose any Greek god to summarize, then retell the story in a modern way. It's been a lot of fun to read through them, laughing from time to time at some of the interesting phrases and words creatively strung together. Here's one written about Zeus:
"Zeus is sad to be the god of the gods, but he is probably the dinner of his father. His father, the best god of the Mt. Olympia, is sad to be beaten by his sons, so he swallowed all his sons, but the Zeus' mother want to have a son. So she changed Zeus into a stone and hid Zeus in some place. The Zeus' father swallowed the stone and after the Zeus' adultness, he forced his father to drink a drug which can make the drinker puke all his sons that he has swallowed. The Zeus and his brothers fight against their father, and they won. Zeus replaced his father's place in the Mount Olympus."
All of my students choose an English name for my class. Here are some of the more memorable ones from this semester:
Wen Ye Like Ken Ye