A very dear friend of mine here in China, Jeanette, celebrated her birthday today. Last night, Seven and I took Jeanette and her daughter, Nicole, out for dinner at LaBamba in Wudaokou! That's right. Mexican food! It would be J and N's first taste of Mexican dishes. I ordered up chips and salsa and some chicken quesidillas for starters and then we launched right into wonderful chicken and steak fajitas, with Seven opting for some beef enchiladas!
"What the heck is THIS, Teresa! And I can't eat it with chopsticks?" Truth is....she enjoyed it very much and enjoyed sharing bites with J and N.
Jeanette, the birthday girl, enjoys the steak and chicken fajitas! The red container holds the warm tortillas and the small bowls are full of rice, refried beans, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream! Just delicious! Chinese are accustomed to restaurant meals where one shares dishes. So Jeanette and Nicole were surprised to see 3 separate sets of fajitas delivered to us to eat! We had such a great time together!
Seven purchased a beautiful cake for J and although that daiquiri looks as big as J's head....it really was a normal-sized drink.
Delicious fruit adorning the top of the cake included apple, peach, dragonfruit, cherries, pineapple, and star fruit! The celebration of birthdays in China isn't a huge deal to folks as it is in the States. Jeanette must have thanked me for her "birthday" at least 30 times! So heart-warming. And when we put candles on the cake and sang Happy Birthday very loud (to overcome the bar music playing), the nice folks at LaBamba abruptly turned off the music and blared a wonderful birthday song for Jeanette! Later, when I inquried about buying Jeanette a LaBamba T-shirt....they kindly gave her one for free! Lovin' LaBamba!
Seven, Jeanette and Nicole!
Remember when I said that I had joked with my students to make birthday cards for me and....oh yeah...please insert 500 RMB in each one? Well, this week I was gifted with many special things. Two of my students in my most advanced class did indeed give me birthday cards with 500 RMB inside! ha
This one, from Landy, contained 5 cardboard discs that had 100 RMB on each one....500 RMB! Yeah! Landy is one of more shy students so for her to pull off something so funny was SO GREAT! She received lots of laughs and encouragement from me.
Landy's BF, Nina, one-upped her by included 5 fake 1000 notes in her homemade card! Classic! It's so nice to see that my humor is rubbing off on these kids! ha Is that a good thing? Hmmmmm.
One of my boys in this class gave me this beautiful pashmina! He waited until everyone had left to give it to me and quickly told me, "my father picked this out for you!" ha Lovin' Issac!
Angel, in another of my classes, gave me a card and this gift: a snowglobe featuring a black and white rabbit. It's also a musical globe and plays a classic Chinese song. Thank you, Angel!
Nancy gave me this beautiful bookend. I love it! Nancy is one of those great students teachers get the pleasure of seeing great change. She was SO very shy a year and a half ago. Now, she is much more vocal and enjoys chatting in English with me and with her classmates. She is also a very gifted 11-year old artist. I have told her several times that I would love for her to draw a picture for me. She totally surprised me today when she gave me these two beautiful works of art:
A wonderful pencil drawing and this:
Oh my! So talented, Nancy! I feel sure that one day I will say proudly, "I KNOW that artist!" You can only imagine how blessed I feel to have such wonderful kids to teach.
Recently, I bought a packet of small colorful strips of paper. These strips are used to make cute little puffy stars! As hard as I tried, I simply couldn't follow the Korean pictures of how to fold these stars. So after enlisting the help of my students....I'm now a puffy star-making fool! I've made about 30 of them on down time at work and I hope to fill a glass jar with them very soon! I'll be bring home lots of these colorful strips to continue my star-making in the States!
I made these while watching the last episode of Survivor: Micronesia on youku.com! Pavarti wins! Now I'm progressing to Survivor: Gabon! :) I'm currently listening to Micheal Jackson and the Jackson 5. That's right....his early work. So sad to know that he has died, along with Farrah Fawcett (I was a young watcher of Charlie's Angels but her greatest role was definitely in the TV movie, The Burning Bed). MJ was just 50....FF just 62. So sad. Both touched many lives. As regular citizens, of course we don't KNOW these folks....but their art (whether it be acting or music or other artistic forms) touches our lives and therefore the end of their lives means a great deal to many folks. R.I.P. MJ and Farrah. Right now....MJ is singing, "I never can say goodbye." He won't have to. His music will continue on. T.