Birthday's and Hearts - Chicken hearts

Trip Start May 05, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2013

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Flag of China  , Tianjin Shi,
Sunday, June 10, 2012

Firstly I would like to say a big thank you for all the Birthday wishes that I received yesterday, it made my day to hear from everyone!  I promise I will email back those who sent emails - hopefully in the next week.

I had a really lovely Birthday.  We went out for lunch at a supposedly Greek style restaurant, which did really nice western food.  We were very pleasantly surprised! At about 5pm the weather closed in and the thunder, lightning, and rain began - clearing the muggy air and putting on a very impressive show for us.  The rain was quite annoying though because it makes taxis ten times harder to catch.  When we finished work at 8 the rain had just stopped (which was lucky because none of us had umbrellas) and we tried to get a taxi home with two other foreign teachers.  It was impossible!   But we did get a nice surprise of a fireworks display as we were waiting. It took us about 40 minutes to get a taxi (on a normal bad night we might wait 5 -10mins).  Not only was the weather bad, but there was also a concert on at the Tianjin Olympic stadium (which is just down the road from work) making competition for taxis extremely difficult.  We eventually jumped in a taxi just as the rain began to fall again. Talk about good timing!

We both had a gap in our classes at 4pm today, so we went for a walk down to the water park (the park Evan explored last weekend).  It was actually really beautiful today. The sky was blue and the temperature was pleasant (not too hot) thanks to the storm yesterday and this morning.  Check out the pics we took there today, also note Tianjin's version of the sky tower (the TV tower), it is much prettier from a distance or at night when you cannot see how dirty it is! 

Today (Sunday) is my busiest day at work.  I had prepared a lot for classes this week though, so I was very keen to see how my games/activities worked.  My youngest maths class (6-7 year olds) was finishing 'patterns', and the lesson plan was extremely boring, filled with work that they had done the last 4 weeks.  I decided to teach them a clapping 'pattern' game (clap, slap knees, clap, slap knees) and get them counting to 10 around the circle.  Once they mastered this (it took a while!!) we then played it by missing the number 5.  My TA had been very sceptical about whether it would work, but the students loved it!  Whoever stuffed up had to answer the revision question - a good way for them to have fun and cover the material. 

In my older maths class (10 year olds) I've been introducing English pop songs as a warm up activity and explaining what they mean and extending the class' vocabulary (they now know what "bling"and  "fairy tales" are).  The first week I played "Price-tag" by Jessi Jay, then "Black and White" by Michael Jackson, and today I played "I'm a believer"- the Shrek version.  At the end of the lesson I asked if they had any song requests.  The boys (all four of them) were unanimous in requesting Lady Gaga's "Telephone".  This made me giggle so much - will be an interesting class next week - I may have to pick and choose what lyrics to include in our discussion (I think this song is pretty PG anyway, it could have been worse)! 

For lunch today we went to a Japanese restaurant at Ao Cheng with another foreign teacher.  Along with our ramen noodles, we also ordered a plate of skewers.  Each skewer had different meat on it.  Evan picked up the first skewer and had a bite.  He then told me to try it with a funny look on his face.  I tried it, and it tasted like BBQ'ed meat- but it wasn't a normal texture for what we would normally eat.  It was nice actually, but I did feel a little bit strange when Taj told us it was chicken heart.  The Chinese apparently love Chicken hearts, and while it tasted quite nice, I don't think I would order it again!  There were also other weird skewers.  For example one was the fat and gristle off meat, BBQ'ed on a skewer (literally the fat and gristle: no meat at all!) which wasn't very nice, and some "is it a vegetable or is it meat" skewers that we decided to leave.  An interesting experience for lunch! I wish I had thought to take pictures.

Earlier this week I had a girls night out with some other foreign teachers, TAs and Chinese girlfriends of foreign teachers.  We went out to "the best pizza place in Tianjin" - an Italian place called Pizza Bianco.  They served delicious Italian style pizza, and had mozzarella cheese with tomato and basil.  Delicious!  We then decided to head to the bar called "Sitong" downstairs.  We have heard a lot about this bar from the foreign teachers, and I was keen to hear the Phillipino band which plays there - we had been told they were amazing, and they were!  They played English club music live, which was pretty impressive and were a very polished act.  We had a bit of a dance there and then headed home - a very nice way to spend the evening.  I think that Evan was also pleased to have the apartment to himself for the whole night too - a win win situation. 

Tomorrow Evan and I are going to go to Beijing.  It takes only a half hour bullet train ride from Tianjin to arrive in Beijing central (the train travels at 350km/h - Evan is so excited!).  Hopefully we are able to: a) buy the right ticket so we end up in Beijing, and then b) negotiate the subway which is so much bigger than Tianjin's.  We are planning on going to Tienanmen square and then have a bit of a look at the forbidden city.  We will let you know how we get on!
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