25th Birthday Party – June 2011

25th Birthday 2011
So, back in June 2011 I was celebrating my 25th birthday like any self-respecting 25 year old. My apartment was quite full and made for a ‘cosy’ atmosphere. I’ll confess to not remembering much of it. Whether that’s because it was a long time ago or because of the amount of alcohol consumed; I’ll let you decide.
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Last Day of Beitang 2011
So, every time the last day of term rolls around I take my camera into class and take some photos of / with the kids. I like to have something to help me remember the good times we have. The Summer term of 2011 at Beitang was no different…
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Beitang Children's Day 2011
So, June 1st in China is children’s day. A holiday to celebrate…well, Children I guess. It seems pretty tough for the kids actually. They have to sing and dance and perform under pressure. But, they’re in the spotlight and they’ll often get some gifts from their school on the day – so, it’s all good I guess. Here are some pics from 2011’s Children’s day celebrations at Beitang. Many of these kids are my students past of present.

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Beitang Sports Day 2011
So, every summer Beitang holds a sports day. In 2011 there were two. They have the usual sports day for the school, then there is an inter-school sports day for all of the schools in Weinan. In 2011 it was Beitang’s turn to play host. None of the sports were particularly ‘serious’ sports, but some of the various school’s PE teachers were taking it quite seriously…
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Xi'an International Horicultural Expo 2011
So, back in May of 2011 the International Horticultural Expo opened in Xi’an. Right off the bat, I’ll be honest – I have little to no interest in flowers or plants. But, it was just a stone’s throw away from me, and everybody was talking about it. So, myself, Beryl and Winfred headed there armed with our cameras…
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Beryl in Xinjiang - May 2011
So, every May myself and Beryl celebrate May Day by jumping on a plane and going on a 5 day holiday. In ’09 we went to Luoyang, In ’10 we went to Qingdao and last year we headed to Urumiqi in Xinjiang province. Xinjiang is the most north-westerly province in China. It borders lots of countries including Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. 45% of the population are also Uyghur. A minority of Turkish-speaking Chinese who are mostly Sunni Muslims. The whole area is a totally different side of China. Here are some photos from our holiday…
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Easter at Aston - 2011
Ah, the wonders of being almost a year behind with my blog. Things I post about from last year are almost relevant again! Like today’s post; Easter! So, at Aston we like the kids to “celebrate” the western holidays to try and absorb some of our culture. We don’t go into the details…well, in fact, we don’t even tell them anything about the holiday’s religious roots. They just think it’s a holiday about eating chocolate and painting eggs. Well, not too far off…
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Flora - April 2011
This is a snap of my god-daughter taken last year in April. She’s so cute! Her English name is Flora. There are some more photos here.

Bike Rides – April 2011

Bike Ride - April 2011  Bike Ride - April 2011  Bike Ride - April 2011

So, back in April of last year I convinced Michael to buy a bike and join me on some bike rides. I love riding my bike, but it gets a bit boring on your own when you’re out for 4-5 hours. The hills to the south of Weinan have some challenging roads with steep inclines. That’s part of the reason why I rarely take my big camera with me, and instead choose to use my cell phone camera (which sucks, thanks HTC!)
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Beitang - April 2011 Beitang - April 2011 Beitang - April 2011
So, those familiar with the blog will know about Beitang Primary School. It’s the primary school that I teach at when I’m not teaching at Aston. Chinese primary schools are very different to their western counter parts. Firstly as the left-most photo shows. There are a lot of students. A lot. Each grade has 7-8 classes. Each class has 60-70 students. And that’s “small” class-sizes. Beitang is one of the best primary schools, it’s “proud” of that class size. Anyway, there are 6 grades in primary school, so conservatively thats 6*7*60 … more than 2,500 students! My primary school (Hayes Meadow Primary School, represent!) had around 200 students! The other two pictures also highlight differences, read on for more…
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