Enter the Dragon’s Lair: Part 3 – Halloween in China

I am sure that over the years much has changed in China when Halloween comes swooping in. Unfortunately I believe it is most likely not for the good. Western celebrations, if we count Halloween as a celebration, do tend to be carried out to a level of craziness I have not seen at home. The following is the story of why I will never offer to do anything for the day unless I am either paid exceedingly well or have helpers chained to me to do my bidding – preferably both.

My daughter likes Halloween so I did a bit of decorating

The day was October 31, 2001, Xin Cun, Guangdong, China. Halloween 🎃. I have a vague memory of a white pumpkin, or possibly it was green. The following are from the crypt archives. Cue the spooky music – I think I played Monster Bash first. Sadly, no pictures were taken. I hope everyone has a marvellously crazy Halloween! Time to read the Monkey’s Paw again.

It was indeed a Monster Bash!  500 students is a lot. 
We set up three stations with apples hanging from
poles to have apple bobbing which meant everyone was sitting in
a large three deep circle.   I put candles at each station, we had some “scary” music, turned out the lights and told a scary story.  This meant reading by candlelight. To this day I am surprised there was not a fire!After each sentence, read slowly and with what I hope was a relatively spooky voice, another teacher translated. Like the mists of October much most likely went over their heads but the translations had enough of the creepiness that students listened.  
I walked around the room – a good size auditorium- and would approach a student to
emphasize things. My two younger daughters wandered behind the students and
would say BOOOO! every now and then.  Great spooky effects.After that things were a bit crazy!  My junior students were the ones most interested in doing apple bobbing. My youngest would try to pick students from
different classes but they were mostly unwilling.  We had about 200 students try bobbing for apples then I handed out the remaining apples. It is no small feat to tie up a couple hundred apples!
Unfortunately none of the teachers “helping” actually helped!  This meant I had to keep telling the students to sit down before I would give them anything.  The candy was another story!!!  One of my daughters was so incensed at how rude, in her view, everyone was and lost her voice from yelling at them! One would think these kids did not get fed. I swore that if I ever do anything like that again I will insist on having more time in the one day and doing each class separately. 
I already knew that was possible after putting on a great Halloween party I with other English teachers at a different school a year or so earlier. We even had a moving, talking mummy! (We wrapped my youngest up in toilet paper, she was laid out on a table and would rise when given the cue. As each class came in separately through one door then out the other end there was no chance of warning other students. That was a major success.
Originally I was going to do things in each classroom but that would have meant two or three days of Halloween!  I had 7 classes, each 40 mins. I really didn’t want to take that long for what is supposed to be a one day activity and setting it up would have been a logistical nightmare.

It’s the little things #4: random walks & thoughts

It isn’t all pretty flowers. I know there must be a song in there. Fortunately most of my walks have been quite pleasant over the last month. Cherry blossoms flourished, Canada geese pairs honking up a storm, birds twittering in the bushes, lilacs peeking out. May was around the corner. One interesting theme has been all the painted rocks I discover.

May first, cyclists in spandex shorts; families on their way to one of the numerous parks stop for a treat; everyone sits in the sun soaking up the rays. Me, I seek the nearest shade.

I appreciate the double meaning of the sign. Considering the fence had been knocked to the ground & numbers had still be rising in my region when this was taken neither was heeded.
An excellent spot for contemplation. One of many along Dallas Rd.
Whenever I pass this bush I stop to take in the bouquet.
This one was in a tree!
Well earned coffee and apple cake. The Nest has fabulous outdoor seating. Who needs indoor service? We are in a place of great beauty and finally, carefully pausing to enjoy it. Socially distanced of course.

It’s the little things #3: and sometimes the really big things!

As we entered April I became more aware of what is missing as well as what is emerging. What is missing seems to be bloggers I follow even if I do not comment or Like. (Sorry about that, it’s the signing in to do so that throws me when I am already reading their piece) I miss you. However, like me, we often have more important events to deal with, and we often just do not have anything to say if we are not writing about what our main passion was. Which is why I am still hoping to bring a little joy, smile, weirdness to the very few who are still reading me.

Each tiny grain of sand makes a vast beach. Very low tide on the ocean side of Esquimalt Lagoon.

Geese and ducks preparing for nesting. Pungent skunk cabbage finally within close view and olfactory. Balcony Rosemary to refresh the senses.

Getting too close can be dangerous. No nests nearby yet.
I know loving the sight of skunk cabbage is considered strange. Yet, it makes me happy.
I bought a rosemary bush for my balcony. Discovered it is already flowering. I love the scent. Best of all, it is edible!
A behemoth of rail machinery on the now defunct E & N tracks. What is it for? Why is it there? Can I sneak in a ride? These ran through my mind. Oh for the days when I can catch a train!

It’s the Little Things: #2 a little further afield

In an effort to remain somewhat balanced I try to seek out anything interesting when I have appointments, tasks or even simply going for a walk. The last two weeks I made some more little, and not so little discoveries. Spring being the most important! I wonder what April will bring other than showers.

Someone left small decorated rocks along one of the paths I walk on regularly. A sign of hope that the flowers will soon follow?
After seeing the ophthalmologist I had to keep my eyes shaded and down. Of course the sun was out that day! Loved this school of fish heading down a new to me path.
Daffodils are out. Eerie shadow just a reminder winter was not quite done with us!
Do you see him? Her? Caught a glimpse as I was walking up the stairs.
This little house has been there for years. Sometimes little gifts are left behind. I chose to let someone else decided if they wanted to take this one home.
Apple tree arch along one section off the Galloping Goose Trail.
Most of the blossoms along View St. (A well known street for great photos) have fallen. Not this section. I could not resist parking under and looking up.

It’s the Little Things: my ‘backyard’

Spring is taking her time to arrive. Everything seems to be shivering under a blanket of last fall’s leaves.

Despite being on the west coast tip of Canada, where daily walks even in the rain are not unusual, I have not been very motivated. However, I finally put in my first 6+ km walk and even discovered budding skunk cabbage! (Too far away to get a photo)

Grab a coffee, or even some lunch. Catch the rare early rays. More will soon be here.

Spring is now mere days away. More to discover, or merely revisit. It’s all about how life is approached these days.

Urban Walk: Christmas Eve (daytime)

A friend had shared a photo of a Christmas tree at Esquimalt Lagoon a few days earlier – one of those days when the rain held off. I had not been there for ages and thought this would be a perfect afternoon walk.

The only thing marring an otherwise enjoyable 30 minutes was all the off leash dogs playing on the beach. Perhaps that is allowed. Rather than leap away whenever one approached me I headed back to the relative safety of the curb side where cars park. I am happy to say I still enjoyed the ocean, the driftwood art ready for the holiday and the camaraderie of strangers also out for strolls. Even the dogs. (The captions are all mine) I never did find the tree.

You will enjoy Christmas.
You forgot the presents!?
Really, really, really! I really saw Santa!
Is this dressy enough?
Can I, can I, can I? Oh please can I open my stocking now? (Upper right)
Oh yes, this really does set off my feathers nicely.
Dinner will never be ready!
Where?
Bah, humbug!

As I was walking on the lagoon I spotted a gaggle of family. Two cars, both laden down with gifts, all passengers wearing their requisite masks. It was a distanced gift exchange! We are all doing our best to cope with what has been a very challenging year.

Driving home I heard the unmistakable vroom, vroom of a big motorcycle that then stopped at a stop sign, was that Santa riding to catch his sleigh? Beard and hair flowing as he sped off to the honks of ecstatic drivers. A fitting end to my Christmas Eve walk.