We’re going to school

The adventures of Bill in Beijing…

We’re going to school.

Since the point of me being in Beijing isn’t actually to wander around insulting a 3,000 year old culture while trying to find a decent bacon cheeseburger, we should probably go work. Time to educate young minds on plural possessives, expand noun vocabulary, and when no one else is around, teach them to say ‘Ozzy!’.

Heading out into the hall, the first thing we notice is that the trash is gone. The other day everyone had their trash by the front door. So, naturally, I put my trash by the front door. Now of course I’m the only one with their trash by the front door. Either they all know something I don’t, or there are a couple stoner trash collectors in Beijing having fun with the Meiguo. (See, here in Beijing, I’m the ‘slow’ one in the herd who gets eaten by the lion while wondering why everyone else is running away.)

Two blocks down we head into the B entrance/exit of the Jiaomen (gee-owe-men) east station on line ten. Hop one stop to the Jiaomen west station and get on line 4 for our stop at Qingyuanlu (china-you-an-loo). We cross just into Daxing (da-shing) from Fengtai (fung-tay) and get topside at Xinghua (maybe shing-wha, but who really knows).


My school, like pretty much everything in China, is in a mall. Can’t remember the name of it, but the logo is a little Kung Fu monkey, so we call it the Kung Fu Monkey Mall. The third floor is all kid’s stuff, and my school. Pretty standard lay-out for a private school, with half a dozen classrooms designed for kids. Our kids come here after their public school on the weekdays, and usually have for one class on the weekends, to learn English. All told these kids do about 40 to 45 hours a week in school.


I’ll be with 2 level 1 classes today (6 to 8 year olds, 1.5 hours a class) learning the chapter on the zoo. By the end of the class these kids will know how to spell a dozen new words such as elephant and giraffe, know which animals are spotted and which are striped, which are big and which are little, have memorised a song about the zoo and know how to say ‘Ozzy!’.


Interesting side-note. China limits the number of foreign movies every year, largely to help protect and foster their homegrown movie industry. I’ve come to realise there’s another reason: naming kids.


You see, I might have a class of 9 kids, aged 6 to 8, and as you have them introduce themselves, boy do you notice something. Of the 9 kids, there are 3 boys named Harry. Why? Because when they were born Harry Potter ruled the universe. Of the girls in this one class one was a Jasmine, one was an Arielle and one, I swear to god, was named Nemo. The parents of this little girl named her Nemo.

I now support China’s control of the number of foreign films released in China every year. If they didn’t do this, China would be a country filled with people named Wall-E, Aladdin and Eve-a in 20 years.


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