"Do you know Rose Kilmer?"
Trip Start Aug 22, 2010
76Trip End Jul 01, 2011
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We almost missed this musical evening. I was too tired to read an email a few weeks ago from my neighbour Jen regarding various events in Suzhou, and which ones would we like to join her on? I didn’t get to the email and after being prodded a few times by Jen, managed only to print out the email as I left for work and asked John to take a look. He emailed me at work, asking if I had even glanced at the email? No, my reply – so I hadn’t seen the name of one of the bands coming to Suzhou: Five Finger Rapids….. had to be a Yukon connectionJ Performing last night at Ganesh was Five Finger Rapids from Whitehorse
The band members include Marg Tatam (the do you know Rose connection), Grant Simpson (we’d met years earlier when Marilyn Smith was doing Frantic Follies), Kate Weekes who I hadn’t met before and Rob Bergman. Rob was actually the first person I went up to in order to introduce myself. I knew he was a Bergman, as I’d met his brother years earlier playing in Victoria with Colin Campbell of my Oak Bay Band parents days. Well, it was a lovely foot in mouth experience, as I was thinking I was introducing myself to a Bergman brother living in the north, since the other one lived in Victoria playing music with Colin, but as I began my intro, I discovered this was the Bergman who played with Colin and so we’d already met, and of course I thought he looked like a Bergman, as he was the Bergman I’d already met! The many layers of common connections were explored both in Victoria and my time doing band trips to Cuba and Mexico with Colin, and in the north with the Globe Theatre & Tarahne, and how Rose and my co-Historical Society conspirator, Carrie, now lived so near each other on Salt Spring Island. I particularly enjoyed my chat with Marg who I hadn’t met before who I told all about our Mudu teaching life.
My friend Pat in Victoria would be proud of me, I managed to stay out for an entire set of Jazz musicJ The music was indeed a treat with two particular highlights. One was Grant doing a Fats Waller tune of 1929 (had to look that up!) called A Handful of Keys
It is now Saturday morning. John’s still asleep while I blog and catch up on the week. Thursday at school was our Halloween party. We really don’t have enough outlets/opportunities for the students to just have fun. They are scheduled 7 am to 8 pm and electricity is shut off in the dorms at 10 pm
I had lined up 5 staff (2 foreign, 3 Chinese) to be the costume judges and organized the prize certificates for the students. There really were some great ones. One of my grade 11s went in a box: Leon in a box, version 1.0 to be precise. It was quite clever, plus he went in early and sat motionless for a good long while, waited till the students around him didn’t know there was anyone in the box and then got a great startle reaction when he jumped up making the box leap into the air. Jim, another of my students was an Emperor – great costume with a funky head piece. His headpiece later became a prop for various pictures including one of our Mr. Tao. Mr. Tao speaks no English but is the Chinese office worker designated to take care of foreign teachers’ off campus needs
Many of the girls went with a Japanese theme and looked good. A few Mao outfits, military get ups, and a fair number of odd masks were in the mix too. Leo in my math 12 from Mexico came looking quite like Tiger Woods complete with red gold shirt, gloves, golf club and a black eye make-upped on. Madonna was a scare crow. John wore light-up devil’s horns - they went well with his black outfit. The kids played various games the 12s supervised: pin the wart on the witch, a mummy wrap competition, a bun on a stick version of the apple on the string game, a pass the pumpkin relay, a witch broom/volleyball relay game (fabulous local brooms see pic below), and of course played loud music and ate candy
I’ll include in the photos some other clothing pictures and a few videos. When I went to Shanghai the second time, to take Greg and Jeff to the airport and did the ‘check the fitting’ of the dress, the store manager very quickly started making a closure for the dress. It was not the style of closure I had initially picked two weeks earlier when the store manager hadn’t been there… but as I watched her so adeptly and quickly make this closure, I knew I had to go with the one I was getting to see being made. They are on the dress at the neck line and side slits – which are alarmingly high! Bending over to pick anything up is not recommended in this outfit! The weather has dramatically turned cold since I got the dress too and I was worried I’d freeze to death, but I had a pashmina I could press into duty and with over 100 students in our ‘activity room’, I had no trouble staying warm.
The sun is out today and I can see blue sky! On many days it is hazy and perhaps polluted so that non-rainy days aren’t often very bright
This posting has skipped the not-so-ho-ho aspects of the week, but that’s ok too. There’s always so many challenges at work, kid issues, we had some last minute schedule changes that threw us all for a loop, an intense staff meeting, a Chinese teacher who left so we all went out for a dinner for her, our first Mandarin lesson (exhausting!), and on it goes
I hope this weekend find everyone well. Thank you so much for the emails from home – they really are my life-line. I wish I was there to give Jill and Glen a special hug. They lost Jill’s mom Sheila since I last wrote. I don’t think there is a braver, stronger, more courageous way to journey through cancer than how Sheila did. I hope when my challenges come, I have 1/10th the grace I saw in Jill’s Mom over the last year. My thoughts are with Jill, Glen, and Sheila’s hubby of 54 years, Jack. Thinking of you all. With love from Suzhou,