Archive for December, 2009

Yuletide Greetings

Thursday, December 24th, 2009


Every year in Shanghai Christmas becomes a little more widespread. I am convinced that in a few more years it will seem almost indigenous. With its shopping, eating and brightly colored kitsch the holiday is made for Shanghai. Christmas decorations that were not long ago restricted to the big shopping malls have now spread almost everywhere (this really shouldn’t be surprising since almost all the world’s decorations come from the back room factories of neighboring Zhejiang province.) This year at our corner restaurant the waiters and waitresses all wore Santa hats, our housing community is decked out in Christmas lights and Zoe’s classroom at the local school now has hanging stockings, lots of images of Santa Lao ren (Old man Santa) and a Christmas tree.


Winter Solstice

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Its a bright and sunny day in Shanghai. Some pics of the light from the walk home from school:



Brain science and teaching math

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

from the NYT

On the last night of Channukah

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
snow white & buzz lightyear

snow white & buzz lightyear

Homework torture

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Today on my way home from yoga class I stopped into our local back alley DVD store. The owner was sitting with her daughter – who is only 1 or 2 years older than Max – drilling mathematics. The little girl – still in her school uniform- yawned as she dutifully recited the answers.

It was 945 pm.

Anyone who reads this blog knows there is much in the Chinese school system I admire. But, surely, this is ridiculous?

The advantages of being a laowai?

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Today, Max proudly reported that his teacher told him he was very good – ‘even better than some of the Chinese kids’. When I asked ‘ good at what, speaking Chinese?’ Max said ‘no, good at learning.’

I have no idea what to make of this.

Teaching respect

Friday, December 4th, 2009

After performing her new favorite song ‘Mama, baba qu shang ban‘ Zoe likes to take a deep bow ‘Laoshi hao’ (Hi teacher) she says.  Talking about this over dinner Max reported nonchalantly: “that’s what we do every day –  everyone bows to the teacher.”