Monday, May 31, 2010

Some appalling news stories...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8600458.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8679091.stm

Boycott Arizona!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/news/2010/04/100428_louisiana_oil_sl.shtml



Donate to help clean up the oil spill!

https://secure2.convio.net/sierra/site/Donation2?idb=0&df_id=9340&9340.donation=form1&s_src=N10ESCAV02&JServSessionIdr004=7ced3zw0f1.app224a

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Xenophobia Much?

Hm so I kinda had a traumatic event on my way to the MinQuan branch today (for both me and an old lady).

This school is right across from a big temple where there are dozens of old ladies trying to sell you little things (I'm not exactly sure what). Well, I see this particular woman almost every time I go there. Unlike the others, she doesn't wear a farmer's hat and she seems to have a disability.

Well today, it's raining like crazy and it's not that warm outside; and I see this woman again with no hat and NO UMBRELLA. So I think to myself- I have two umbrellas, why don't I give her mine. It would be much worse for her to catch a cold than for me.

So when I'm crossing the street she walks toward me saying something in Chinese to get me to buy from her, and I try to give her the umbrella "gei ni hao ma?" (here, take it. okay?) She looks apprehensive and says something else in Chinese. "Xia yu le!" (it's raining) I say and move the umbrella closer to her. She has a fit- she reacts as if I had just punched her in the face and she falls down backwards on the wet street. I'm really dumbfounded and touch her arm to help her up. "May I help you?" I say in English. She wrenches her arm away and says what sounds like "NO! NO!." So here I am in the middle of an intersection and I just made an old lady fall down. I look up as if someone might help me, and a Taiwanese gentleman gives me the hand signal that means "no" or "don't want." Almost to say that I would only make the situation worse if tried to help her again. So I walk to the sidewalk and I see a Taiwanese woman help her up.

When the light changed, the old lady came back to my side of the street and the Taiwanese gentleman placed himself between me and her while we waited for the signal to walk. I don't know if he was trying to make sure she didn't see my face and get scared once more, or if he didn't want me to see her and try to talk to her again.

Either way I felt completely horrible. It's one of the worst feelings when you try to help someone and it has the complete opposite effect. One of my psychology/sociology classes taught me that it's actually normal for people with disabilities or so-called "outcasts" of society to get upset if someone tries to help them. As part of a project for that class I asked two disabled women if I could help them and I had similar reactions to this.

What makes me really sad, however, is that I helped validate this old lady's fear of foreigners. She's not going to remember that a "wai guo ren" (foreigner) offered her an umbrella on a rainy day. She's only going to remember that a foreigner made her fall down and touched her arm.

Well, I guess I can't do anything to change what happened. Next time I'm just going to be really careful if I want to offer help to someone from an older generation. The next entry will be positive- I promise! I had a big adventure a few weekends ago. Me and some friends from the Xin Hu branch went on a hike and I'll tell you all about it next time.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mom shouldn't read this...

So on my way to work the other morning, I met something on the stairs going out of the apartment. It crawled down a couple steps and I thought it might be a baby bat because it was as big as my palm. I get closer and see it is a freaking, huge spider! Its legspan was slightly bigger than my palm and it's abdomen was as big as a ping pong ball! It was brown with long, slender legs and ran faster than I could see. It was terrifying! The spider was obviously afraid of me because as soon as it sensed me coming it ran down the steps, but I was still as afraid of it as it was of me. The steps aren't exactly super wide- it could easily run and bite me faster than I could run down the stairs. So I just took a deep breath and ran down without looking where the spider went. Every time I go up or down the stairs now I look out for that spider... ick!

Despite all that, I'm really curious what kind it was.

And PS- My English is regressing, having to talk to second-language learners all day everyday. I have to simplify it so much- even speaking with adults. I feel like my blog is going to sound progressively more childish - so bear with me.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

One Day to Unwind

Just finished another LONG week. Sunday's my only day to relax. Whew! So maybe I'll go get some much-needed clothes for this hot weather. The temperature's picking up!

Sorry- no pictures to upload today!

I played the new Monopoly with the credit cards last weekend! It was really fun! Also, had a grilled cheese night with my friends from Xin Hu- so I'm still having some fun outside of work!

love,
Rachel

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Photo Update

 Here's one of my schools: San Min
This is my classroom for Treehouse 2 class


 Last month we made a trip to the National Palace Museum
 It had a beautiful garden with a koi pond! You could feed the fish!
 Here's Xin Hu! I teach my favorite class here! It's a kindergarten!
It comes with a nice porch area for most classrooms and a really beautiful playground.

More later......!