Tag Archives: holidays

Halloween in China

To kick off winter we had a staff party for all the Shane employees who work in the four schools located in Wuxi. Everybody was required to dress up and attend a large party that was given in a hotel ballroom of sorts. There was a karaoke machine, this is Asia of course, as well as food and beverages catered. Everybody went all out with costumes, and I was fortunate enough to be able to borrow an Obi-One Kenobi outfit from Star Wars, which meant I wasn’t required to do much more than grow out my beard.


Here is a photo of myself and Duane, the branch manager at the office I work at.

He went as a pirate obviously, but it seems nobody from China has ever heard of Star Wars, so I had to explain my costume to all of the Chinese staff, and they still didn’t get it. Then I tried to tell them it was basically a Western set in space, and they still didn’t get it. Then I told them it was a Kung-fu movie of sorts and it began to make a little more sense.

The next photo is of myself, Season and Sara.

Season is the one in next to me in purple and is my TA for four of my classes, almost half of my regular class load. She and I had a rough start, not particularly enjoying working with each other, but we are much better now. She sees a new teacher everything 10-12 months so I’m sure she’s jaded, plus they make most of their money on retention, so her livelihood depends on me making sure the kids want to sign back up at the end of every semester and not go to another school. It’s stressful for all the TA’s and is not the best way to structure things in my opinion, but I’m sure it’s set that way for bottom line, not teaching purposes. Sara is the one on the right, she is married to the Canadian owner of the Wuxi branches and happens to sit right next to me every day. She is nice and we get along very well.

This is a photo of most of our office.


The guy in green is Jack, my TA for a couple classes and fun to work with. The vampire on the upper right is Alex, he’s from England and sits across from me. I consider him a friend and it’s good to work with him. He leaves in February and is heading to New Zealand, where his dad recently moved. He plans to be a chef.

Here we have a couple guys from another school as The Penguin and The Joker from Batman.

This is Rachel, she’s is sort of a fixer to help the foreign teachers deal with the exhaustive red tape and beauracracy that is involved in everything here. She is quiet but funny, although her English isn’t too great.

Pollution has been awful here as of late and I’ve been told pretty much to get used to it for the winter. I can’t seem to figure out my AC remote to get the heat turned on, so until tomorrow when I can get Rachel to translate I’m stuck with a Chinese fireplace.


If she can’t help I’ll have to call to try to get my landlord to look at it.

Finally, this is Michael. He’s is fresh off the presses and is the son of Claire, a private student I taught twice a week and very much enjoyed until she left for maternity leave.




The Dogs of Autumn

I have been forced to make a post about dogs. With the increasing middle-class in China, a newfound affluence has begun to change the attitudes towards dogs in China and more and more I see proud owners showcasing their companions. The one-child policy and disposable income means many Chinese are becoming dog lovers like the West, and America in particular, with parents dropping their one kid off to English lessons while they take their dog to the park. For the dogs it is pure kismet, a confluence of disposable income and a one-child policy that means a fortuitous turn of events from their past, because while beloved in the West, pets were long considered a bourgeoisie excess and a symbol of bête noire capitalist frivolity.

Well, times are changing. In celebration of our four-legged friends, I've put together a panoply of dogs large and small. I have not included the feral street dogs that languish along the food streets and down alleyways because I did not want to get close enough to get a good pic with my iPod. The pack here is just the dogs that I've seen in the past two days, I don't know if it is the pleasant weather or because of National Day, but either way the dogs have been on full display.

Here is my coffeeshop dog, grown up a little bit.


If you remember, she was a little thinner a few months ago.

As always, her sidekick is on patrol.


My Korean store now has a puppy:

Sleeping next to her tennis ball and an Angry Bird to keep her safe.

A smart vet decided to open a new shop in the neighborhood.


Here is a nice anonymous women resting in her storefront:

Better than a car alarm:

This Golden Retriever was beautiful. About 9 months and acted like it.


Not to exclude other animals, I spotted these two chickens wandering outside my apartment. This is China after all. They won't last long I'm afraid.

There are a lot more dogs around, I just chose the few that I had an easy opportunity to take pictures of. I tried to take some pictures at night, but with the flash off the “shutter speed” on the iPod is too slow and the pictures are blurry. I didn't want to blind everybody with my flash. Oh well.