I apologize that it has taken me so long to update the blog lately. The amount of work that needs to get done around here has increased greatly. Recently, I've taken on responsibilities for editing the official Concordia blog for the camp and planning the parent program at the end of the week. Jamie has added on the responsibilities of planning the next two all-camp evening programs. Between those things, we've been rather busy and exhausted, but still loving life here in Shanghai.
On Monday, we had a Western theme and taught the students about Native American culture along with the Wild West. It was a lot of fun to see the kids get into singing "Home on the Range", complete with cheesy western accents! (A Chinese kid trying to impersonate a Western accent is rather funny! I guess it's one of those things you just have to hear to appreciate.)
Jamie spent a large amount of time having her students make totem poles while I worked on the all-camp program, which included making bandanas, square dancing, and a campfire program. (Our campfire was a picture projected onto a screen, after all, who wants to be outside roasting marshmellows with the sun blazing on you and the temperature is in the high 90s.)
That evening, we tried a new place for dinner called the "Herbal Garden", which was a lot healthier (i.e., not so much fried and greasy stuff) than traditional Chinese cuisine. I really liked the place. It was a good thing that we had Flex with us because he was able to negotiate a lower rate for the bill (almost half of what they were going to charge us!). One thing that we've really started to notice is that China is not a very healthy country. There are not nearly as many overweight people as in the US (and I don't think I've seen anyone who would qualify as "obese"), however, looking at the food they eat all the time, I'm surprised that there aren't more heart attacks! Dental care is also something that seems to be lacking big time here. It could be the lack of floride in the water, but we see several young children that have rotting teeth. There was one boy complaining of a tooth ache and, as it turns out, he had the root of a tooth exposed through his gums! Combine that with the number of chain smokers that we've seen, and it's no wonder that their overall health is lower than ours as a nation.
On Tuesday, the camp focused on Los Angeles and Halloween. In the morning, we taught the students about different careers that they could have. Interestingly, every female camper that I talked to said that she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up, which is probably cultural. In the afternoon, we had the students make masks, decorate bags for trick or treating (going to different classrooms and getting candy) and took them through a haunted house. The haunted house was one of the most time-conusming ventures that we've undertaken to this point, but it went really well. The majority of the campers, in my opinion, had never been through a haunted house, based on their reactions. Some of them were terrified just to crawl underneath a table. Three of the younger campers started to cry during their venture through the haunted house. (For the record, this is the first time that I've been involved, directly or indirectly, in making a camper cry. Considering the number of students at lunch back at school that I've made cry, I'm probably doing pretty well here! And, this time I actually consoled the kids who were crying during the haunted house rather than just leave them be!)
One element of the haunted house had students going through a ball pit, similar to Chuck E. Cheese. One boy lost his sandal during this part and it took six counselors over 20 minutes to find it after the camp had ended for the day! (The poor kid, in the meantime, had to walk around camp with only one sandal on!) However, this was a kid who was starting to give some of us some grief, so we didn't feel too sorry for him.
After a quick meeting, we were able to get out of there and have a few hours of downtime back at the hotel. Wednesday will have a Valentine's Day and Homecoming theme as we travel through Texas. (Jamie is very involved in the Valentine's Day preparations, as you can imagine.) Hopefully, I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.