Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Bring It, Bitch

Spring Festival approaches, and with it we welcome the Year of the Dog. Plus the requisite Golden Week of Travel. Plus the prerequisite wining and dining. And more wining. Then maybe karaoke. Luckily, avoiding the trashy Russian bar everyone goes to when too tanked to function.

If you haven't guessed from the picture, I opted to show off my newly tailor-made three piece navy suit. Its quality. And I wont tell you how much it cost, because you probably wouldn't believe me. I'm going to have two more made, one grey flannel, and then an undetermined color. I don't think I'm a pinstripe guy, so I'm thinking of another color altogether, but I digress.

But take heed, if you don't expect rambling, you're at the wrong blog. Again, I digress.

Last night we had a bi-monthly full staff meeting. It lasted two hours, and we finally got these ridiculous teacher evaluations redesigned so that we can get applicable feedback from our classes. The old form had a question "Is the class too fast or too slow?" And all you'd be told is "9.6." What the hell did 9.6 mean? Is 10 fast and 1 slow? Is It Yes/No? What? Don't worry about it? Oh Christ. We're all pretty happy around the "waijiao bangongshi" (gongbanshi? i always get confused on this one) towards the change. Lesa gave a lecture on the psychology of toddlers and pre-teens. We played a crazy language/communication game that was surprisingly fun.

Then we got to the Golden Elephant, Harbin's 6 floor "Thai" hot spot. We got a history here: riotous feasting the evening after school-wide rafting trip and that first night I really got to know Bob and met a host at this very restaurant named Babu who makes these delicious peanut butter crisp cake dealies off-menu. Couldn't find ol' Babu last night, so no peanut butter delights. Most of what we got wasn't so much "Thai" as just high-end Chinense served in golden, elephant-shaped bowls. Don't get me wrong, it was well-received, but, I don't want to get into it now.

But we got entertainment on top of the food! The girls at our main branch put together a little song and dance routine that involved Sun, our driver, throwing a paper cut-out of dog turd around the floor. The girls from the other branch did the Macarena. Heeeeeey! Macarena! Ai! Ai! Ai! If we had any more Chinese staff I would have expected the Funky Chicken (isn't that the name of the crazy over-played polka that has a dance associated with it that invloves flapping your arms like chicken wings?). Maybe the Icky Shuffle.

But the foreign staff fired back, and returned with the ol' pretend-your-fishing-and-catch-a-fish-which-is-acted-out-by-some-other-person boogie. I remember shaking my own butt.

After eating more than a bit we had some games. Hula hoops were involved. I had been out of the room when they divided up teams, so when I walked in I was swarmed by these little Chinese girls, all my co-workers, pulling and fighting over me. It's good to be Bill.

At some point a trivia question went down and i walked away with 1/4 of the prizes with a total of three: a washcloth that became my hat, a dangly charm of coins sown together into a bucky-ball type shape, and a huge bag of sunshine flower seeds.

It wasn't all fun and games though: there was HaPi to enjoy. If I've never told you, Harbin was the first place I ever lost sobriety, so the local brew is a little special for me. No preservatives, so you can't get it outside the city, and its cheap and its good. Hoo-rah.

We were also welcoming back two teachers, one who had been home visiting parents and another who came back after a few months hiatus. All were in a celebrant mood.

We eventually degraded to karaoke, but soon everyone's interest drifted and we began to break up. Actually, I think we were asked to leave or something, maybe our time allotment for the reservation was up, the place was closing, or what, I dunno.

I'll be blogging like crazy tomorrow. Or at least so me thinks. I gotta get some stories out (Holiday House adventures, Travel Plans, other stuff) before I take off for my vacation in ShanXi on Thursday. Keep your eyes peeled.

Xin Nian Kuai Le.


At 9:09 AM, Blogger lex said...

I have never seen a more bizarre and disturbing group of photos in my life. These are not the colors of a varsity athlete.


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