Friday, December 14, 2007

Crazy Fun, December 14

We had the Ford Christmas party last Friday. It was hillarious! We all went to this hotel, which I thought would be sort of dodgy, but turned out nice. There were about 500 people there in this huge room and we had a Chinese set meal. Certainly not what you would get at the Mandarin, or any other American Chinese restaurant, but much better than I expected (I think I've been here WAY too long). I even ate the jelly soup, though I passed on the sea cucumber and abalone that was in it. Anyway, the great part was the entertainment! I think I've mentioned before how the Chinese LOVE variety shows! You can find one on any evening of the week on Chinese TV. They even have them on Street corners in front of Department stores, and in parks, etc. Anyway, there was a serious variety show planned. There was this Girl and Guy couple who were the "MC's" for the evening. They kept coming out in different outfits!
There would be talent acts, and in between they would have call-in games ( I think they thought they were on TV). People would call in on their cell phones from around the room and win prizes. There were lucky draws. One of the acts was this group of girls from the office from the "Easy English Club" ( a club where they promote better English by having movie nights, "word of the day", and "bathroom culture {can you have a bracket inside a bracket? anyway, this means they put english jokes and stories on the bathroom stalls}. OK, so they did this song and dance. There were about 8 of them...and it was a very sultry song. They had these little identical dresses that were very modest on top, but came down BARELY below their bottoms! We were all just so nervous they would bend over a little too far! So, the idea was if the men wanted to hang out with these women, they needed to come to English club. Funny, huh? Well, they had
several other acts, including a Kung Fu act, and LOTS of singing acts ( Everyone sings here. They love to sing in front of people it seems whether they are good or not). Caitlin and her friend were asked to do a dance, and it was cute. They had these really loud smoke blasts that would shoot confetti and smoke onto the stage at unsuspecting times...Caitlin got a real startled look on her face once when she was dancing and they added some special effects! So, the last act of the evening was a fashion show! Isn't that crazy? I think each of the men and women changed 6-8 times! And they all went to classes for weeks before to prepare! It was so very strange. Can you imagine this at your work party??? Everyone in the room was standing and so excited! I felt like we had been transformed back into the 30's and 40's. Like we were at a Bob Hope show, or the Laurence welk show. As a party gift, we each got a pillow with a face on it that unzips to a
blanket. Jealous?

Here are a couple of pictures of Caitlin's dance. You can see the confetti all over the glass stage. All of the people at the tables aren't visible, but they had a fan-club of children down in front of the stage. She and her friend Maddie did a great job. And... the best part is I didn't have to have costumes made. Good job for finding matching outfits girls! And way to go for keeping your rythym with a puff of smoke straight in your face!

I'll tell you about my Pajama party, too... My friend Jackie is moving to Beijing the end of this week, and we have always talked about how we have wanted to walk around in our Pajamas like so many Chinese ladies do. So, we had a lunch for her, and we all wore our pajamas and walked around out in the streets. It was so much fun! I only have these bright red silk ones, so I had to wear layers, but that's pretty Chinese, too, right? (I had some serious static-cling going on!). Her friend came to take photos of us walking around, and he took TONS of photos. We stopped and had photos with a man on his scooter, with a lady in HER pajamas and her dog in a quilted jacket, and we all sat in the back of a man's bicycle cart. It was great! We had a couple of games before we went on our walk, and I won a face mask (they wear them all the time now that it's cold) and a scarf, so I wore those, too. Pretty fancy!

Here we are taking off on our pajama walk.

A nice man let us have a photo on his bike cart.

Helping me get all dressed up for the walk...

A pose under a beautiful statue

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Christmas Trees and Birthdays

We decorated our tree for family home evening. It was lots of fun. Eli was asking ALL day when it was time. Our tree is turning into an eclectic mix of country, and Chinese. We ended the evening with some hot chocolate and cookies.

This Friday was Caitlin's 12th birthday! She was so excited. She has 5 really good friends from school. She had them all over for a sleep-over. First we went to the new Burger King, which they were all thrilled about. Then we went to the Elementary school production, where Jay was quite the "ham", if anyone is surprised :-) They came back to the house for cake and presents, and stayed up way too late! We had 2 girls from the branch come and stay that night as well. They are the cute girls who watched the kids when we went to Hong Kong. That night Eli started throwing-up everywhere. I think we got up at least 8 times! It was a crazy night, but Caitlin had a great time, and we are so grateful to have her in our family! We love you Caitlin!


This year, with my surgery being only one week before Thanksgiving, I wasn't sure what to do. I decided to have the three girls stay home from school, and that it would be more educational for them to fix the Thanksgiving dinner! They did such a fabulous job. They made rolls, pies, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, the turkey, of course, and we even had some dried cranberries from Hong Kong we re-constituted into cranberry sauce! They even made an appetiser jello salad, and apple cider. They did a really great job, and we very proud of themselves, as they should be. They kept commenting on how much work Thanksgiving dinner takes, and how many times they had to clean up the kitchen. I felt good about that, because I had some real empathy from all the previous years... We decided that nobody could have had a better meal than we did. Way to go, girls! Here are a few photos...

Caitlin and Nicole's Dance Class

This is an article in the school bulliten about Caitlin and Nicole. They have been involved in a dance class this year, teaching younger students. They received a neat acknowledgement about their efforts...

It is with a sense of pride that I send this message to you. All students in the Middle Years Programme are required to do Community service for the betterment of our NIS community, both within and beyond the school. Students engaged in a variety of activities that demonstrate such dedication.

This year, four students at NIS have recently demonstrated an excellent example of Community and service. At the beginning of the year, Nicole Wadley, Caitlin Wadley, Maddie Thompset, and Simone Jeurissen decided to begin a ballet and hip-hop school of dance for the girls of Dong Jiao. Several girls who are students in the Primary Years Programme at NIS expressed interest and they began training for the first eight weeks of school; Not only did Maddie, Nicole, Simone, and Caitlin teach the girls the moves for ballet and hip-hop, they also arranged for the booking of a room in the Dong Jiao Guest House, met with the tailor to design and create costumes, and orchestrated a performance at Dong Jiao where parents and guests were invited to attend and were offered snacks as they entered.

The effects of their efforts resulted in the girls of Dong Jiao having the opportunity to learn a new skill and perform before an audience, both at Dong Jiao, and again at the NIS Whole-School assembly on November 21. Caitlin, Maddie, Simone, and Nicole learned a great deal, from working with a variety of ages, choreographing, time-management, and negotiations. Their efforts are resulted in a performance that they and NIS can be proud of.

What Now?... Well, this does not mean that all students should begin their own dance schools at their compounds. It does mean, however, that Middle Year Programme students should be looking at their interests and skills and identifying areas within and beyond the school for applying those skills and improving experiences for others. This could include volunteering at local schools, hospitals, or orphanages, tutoring NIS or other students, organizing or supporting a club or activity to engage students.

Arden Tyoshchin, MYP Coordinator

Here are a couple of pictures. One of the girls in Nicole's group was sick the night of the performance. The parents and neighbors at Dong Jiao (our compound name) were very happy with the performance.