Friday, December 25, 2009

Who's my Voodoo daddy?

About 2 weeks ago I took a trip to downtown Hangzhou to do some exploring. I went down a famous street in this town I have been down before. It is called HeFung Lu(I think that is the correct spelling). It is a good street to go down to buy traditional Chinese souvenirs, try some different Chinese candies, etc. Here is a picture of what the street looks like.

I was traveling with a few of my friends here in China. Along with us was a Chinese teacher from my friends school. She lived in Arkansas for about 2 years and her English was really good. As we were walking down the street we came across a place I have never noticed before. When we walked in I was reminded of a scene from Harry Potter. The scene where Harry walks into the wand shop to purchase his wand and there are these huge shelves that go all the way up to the ceiling. It looked like this.

It turned out that this place was a traditional Chinese doctors office and the shelves included all kinds of weird things that they will give you to take. Most were flowers, roots, nuts, and strange dried up stuff. The Chinese teacher told us that people come here even when they are well just to be safe. What I heard was, "this could be a cool experience and I want to go see a doctor." So that is what we did. We went upstairs to where the doctors were checking their patients. Now this is not at all like a normal doctors office. There was a long hallway with many rooms. In each room was a doctor sitting at a table. Some doctors, we were told, were specialist. Some were for women, kids, pregnant women, etc. However most were just generalist. So what you do is go into one of the rooms and wait until the doctor picks you to go. I don't mean a waiting room, i mean the same room with the doctor. So, i am sitting there watching other people get checked out, waiting for my turn.
The doctor did not do anything that required privacy. I was told that first he would check your pulse on each wrist. It is called the 6-point-test. I have always thought by checking a pulse you could only feel for one thing, a pulse. Somehow they are able to tell other things by this test. The doctor would then give you a number from the pulse test. Anything between 60-100, I was told, was good. I had a nice low 65. While holding your wrist he also looks at your eyes, the color of your skin, and your tongue. I passed all things until the tongue test. When he told me to stick out my tongue I got a noise and small head nod. I could tell that this was not a good nod, but the doctor said I was fine. The only thing i needed was to do something about my dry mouth. Then that was it, I was finished. Here is me getting checked out.

The funny things about this experience is what has happened to me since then. I have been joking with everyone that the doctor put some voodoo on me. The next day after I went, I woke up with my first sty ever. Since the sty went away, I have been battling with being sick. I ran my first fever in a long time and got pretty sick for the first time in years. I have been in bed most of this week trying to get all my strength back. I know it is not from the doctor but I find it really strange all this happened since going to the doctor. My lesson is, don't go to the doctor for fun.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Student Spotlight "Computer"

I have been thinking for a while about posting one of my students on here to give people back home an idea of who we teach and live around everyday. When considering who to use, this young man did not come to mind at all until the last 2 weeks.
I am teaching Japanese majors this year in my school. Their English is not great and they spend all of their time outside of class learning Japanese. Basically my class is a required class that you have to have but is not that important overall to their degree. Like Economics to a Social Work major. I cannot do many things that you would do with English majors. It takes me longer to get them to understand what I am trying to say. They are not really motivated to learn anymore English so I have to find creative ways to keep them excited. So over the last two weeks I have been doing random plays and short class speeches that are meant to be fun. That is when the heavens opened up and a light came down on Computer.
Computer has been a pretty good student from the start. He has always been good to speak up in class but never really tried to be funny or anything. Well, that is until I started to give him the spotlight. I am going to show two videos of Computer being himself. I hope you enjoy.
The first video came from my Thanksgiving week lesson. I told the story of the first Thanksgiving, then asked them to break into groups and act out the story anyway they would like. I allowed them to add or take away anything from the story. The only thing I required were pilgrims, Indians, and a turkey. Here is the clip of Computer. He is the shorter kid. He will be playing the role of an Indian.

The second video happened a week later. I brought random things to my room and had the kids take one and write a commercial about it. After that they had to go up in front of class and advertise their product. Computer drew out my hat shaper thing you can buy for the bill of your hat. After explaining to him what it was he went to work. The video was taken by one of my other students on his mobile phone so the sound and picture is a little messed up. This is basically what happens. He starts off as a TV salesman who talks about the product. Then after introducing the product, he turns it over to the scientist who discovered and created the hat shaper thing. Some of it may be hard to understand but I hope you catch what he is saying enough to enjoy.