I feel like I've been so busy (but in a good way) and that I'm booked every weekend through mid-December, so I wanted to pause and take a moment and catch up here while I have a chance. Truthfully, I wasn't going to blog tonight, but my friend We Chatted (is it a verb?) me to let me know that tonight the internet was "the fastest it has ever been" for him so far in China. There have been many times that I've just given up even attempting to blog in the evening because it has just been too slow, so now that it's finally working well, I couldn't pass up the chance!
Today was the day we gave our students their midterm exams. It's a big deal at our school, and it made me a little nervous because of the procedure and the overall importance of the tests. An hour after the students completed the test, parents were already e-mailing me about their child's score. The testing process is a bit intense for first graders, but at least my students got a half-day so that they could relax (aka study more) for the rest of the day before having to take another test the following day. I'm a little delirious now because I graded for about four hours straight, but I can't really complain because first grade work is nothing like high school work. Those poor high school teachers are going to be swamped for awhile!
In other news, I'm trying to avoid the "contagious eye infection" that is spreading like wildfire among the students in my class. Four students are currently out with it--eek! We've been telling our students to wash their hands frequently and to not touch their eyes, so hopefully that's the last of it, which may be wishful thinking on my part. Those four students missed their midterms and their parents are worried. I just found out that the make up test for the midterm isn't right away and could possibly be months away, which makes me a little nervous. We've been playing so many review games and now all the material is fresh in their minds, but hopefully they'll be able to remember later on, too...
Also, what do you think about my new blog design? I figured that since I'm in China now, a fresh design was a must! I'm beyond happy with the results and can't wait to start working on my new travel page that has been added at the top.
Speaking of traveling, I finalized my accommodation for the Maldives with Rachael and Scott and am so, so thrilled to be staying at over-the-water bungalow! The Maldives has been on my travel wishlist for such a long time, so to actually have a date set for our trip makes me extremely happy. How cool will it be to just be able to jump from our place and go directly into the ocean? Even though our water villa is considered to be a "budget" one, it still cost a pretty penny. Travel is one thing I do not mind splurging on once in awhile. The cost does include a flight on a sea plane over to the island where we will be staying. Now to decide if $325 USD is worth it for dinner at an underwater restaurant... Rachael and Scott are my "splurge friends," so I'll probably do it if I'm satisfied with the reviews I see!
Our school had a charity fair a few weeks back, and it was AWESOME! Most of the students' parents were very involved and they sold a ton of items to help raise money for students in need of supplies. All of our students were allowed to spend a certain amount of money that got converted into tokens. Then, they could wander from booth to booth buying items that they liked. Some of the parents sold some stuff that I genuinely wanted like an adult coloring book, a flower crown, baked goods, and pretty notebooks and stationery. I ended up buying from all of my student's parents, though. One of them even asked me, "Are you sure you want to buy this rice?" Ha ha ha! I gave it to my co-teacher. The funniest thing I ended up with was this "lotion." It was labeled as lotion and the mom also told me that it was. Later on, when I looked at it, I saw that there were all of these vegetables on the front of it. The product was from Japan, so I asked my co-teacher to translate and she told me it was some kind of special soap you could use to wash your vegetables. Hilarious!
Halloween was pretty fun--I was glad to celebrate it this year with my students. I was told I wasn't allowed to at the school I worked at last year in the States, but my co-teacher at my current school said that we could even encourage the kids to dress up. Every single one of my students dressed up! My favorite costume was the girl who came as a flight attendant. I also had a really cute Harry Potter. Since I hadn't dressed up for Halloween in about six years or more, I decided to go ahead and spend some extra cash on a costume this year. Scott wanted us to go as Hansel and Gretel, so we found pictures of costumes we liked online and took them to the Fabric Market to see if we could get them made for us. It turned out that there is a store on the third floor that specializes in dirndls, so we tried to get a matching dirndl and lederhosen set. For some reason they wanted to charge us $400 USD for both, and we said no way. I mean, especially not for the lederhosen because they were just made out of regular fabric. Usually you can haggle and get sellers to go down on their prices, but the workers in the shop weren't having it, so we left. Scott later decided to be a unicorn. I wasn't going to be anything, but my students kept telling me things like, "Oh, Ms. K, we know your costume must be really special because you have kept it a surprise from us!" I decided to go back to the Fabric Market again and see about the dirndl. This time around, their initial price was $130, which was way better than $200 already. I bargained and got them down to about $120, but it seemed like they wouldn't go any lower. Even though it's more than I anticipated spending on a Halloween costume, it's tailored to my body and there were three pieces to it. I figure that I'll wear it again for Halloween in the future and possibly to an Oktoberfest if I ever have enough guts! My students LOVED my costume and all cheered, "You're Anna! Anna! We love Frozen!" I just went with it. :) I also wore it out to a party later that evening, but other people changed their costumes like Scott who transformed into a vampire.
Other than that, I've just been going out to eat at some phenomenal restaurants here in Shanghai. Scott found one called Chi-Q on the Bund. It was probably the most I've ever spent on Korean barbecue, but I would go back for a nice dinner out. We almost got turned away because we didn't make any reservations on a Tuesday night, so I assume it's a pretty popular place. It was full when we left, anyway.
What do you like to splurge on?