Saturday, April 17, 2010

temple of heaven

Last week I went with Bethany's class to the Temple of Heaven. The students brought cameras to take pictures of instances of balance and motion and examples of arrays. We all stood to watch this couple play tai chi ball for ten minutes or so. The man never stopped smiling. Their movements were amazingly fluid.

Observing the local life is always the most interesting part of visiting the Temple of Heaven. It drives some of my children crazy...too much going on at one time. These ladies were line dancing to loud, popular Chinese music right next to the group below who were singing communist era songs accompanied by a brass band, and these groups were surrounded by three of four other groups involved in their own artistic expression, all of it loud.

Here are a few of Bethany's arrays. I liked the dignitaries of the Temple of Heaven Poker cards.

Bethany found a replica of the beaded hat she bought on her first trip to the Great Wall in 2004.

Bethany and her teacher. The day was windy and unseasonably cold, but here they are with at least one sign of Spring.

So I 'm a bit behind. Two weeks ago, Tuesday, Mary and I walked with her kindergarten class through the Bai xin zhuang village next to ISB to the Roundabout. They were practicing their map reading skills. Mary's teacher drew up a quite idyllic map to help them find landmarks to guide their way. This brown body of water behind Mary was referred to as "the lake." I felt sad to see the pollution all along the road. We couldn't even let the children peek behind the gates to see "the lake" because they would have had to climb over a pile of litter. For all our American whining about too much government intervention, we should be grateful that our streets are clean, and our children don't have to play in refuse. It made me sad that our ayis who work so hard to help us keep our home clean don't have a clean environment to return to.

Here we are at The Roundabout thrift store. Miss Leslie, the director gave the children a tour of the shop and took them in the back where they sort through the items. Some are to send to areas like Sichuan, in need of Humanitarian aid, some are to sell to locals and ex-pats, then the money goes to local charity. Miss Leslie is an amazing woman. She put in a plug with the kids to gather up some of their unwanted toys for donation. I was happy about that.

After the tour she fed the kids a snack. That field trip was before the Xinhai earthquake. Now I feel even more motivation to sort through and give away because Miss Leslie has started a new drive for the Xinhai area.

So speaking of sorting through and packing up that's all I have to report for myself. I've made it almost through the girls' bedroom, waiting for the daunting puzzles tubs, then I'm on to Bethany's books. We still don't know where Rob will be assigned for next year, but I have felt peace with the idea that the kids and I need to return to the U.S. Hence the packing. It is therapy for this eery anxious feeling that at some point in the summer Rob's job will end and our ex-pat world will fold up like a movie set, even ISB seems to be losing it's strength to me, fading out of what should be our present reality, losing it's pull on the inevitable, without my knowing how to replace it, so I'm just boxing and organizing, so if we should fall out of existence, at least our things would be well-managed.
All right that was a bit dramatic, speaking of ISB. Olivia's class presented Poetry Under the Stars. Olivia shared her poem about a mermaid.

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