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.

October Summer

Taking even an hour to spend time away from my usual space is necessary to recall that even if I cannot travel to other places I can, and should, explore where I live. Yesterday was perfect. Nature is gifted at presenting the wonders of, well of nature. I had recently discovered the Royal Bay mammoth and the path along the beach, this time I decided to take a chance and actually turn right where it is only beach. Beautiful, only met two people; very hard to walk on sand in shoes. That one hour may not have healed any ills but it did make the day just that much brighter.

The beach is too cold to swim in these days. I did spy one individual settled on a blanket, picnic at elbow, nose in a book. A couple of kayakers were packing up for the day.

I love this piece of natural sculpture.

Happy Thanksgiving: it’s all about the pumpkin!

Today also happens to be my grandson’s 16th birthday. I sent him a text in the morning to wish him a happy birthday – and he was up! Of course it is three hours later than here. When I called him later to sing to him, only the first two words, he was out riding his new 4 wheeler. I think the other term is ATV. This was a gift to himself from his wages. Although the new Ontario government pulled the plug on raising the hourly wage to $15.00 the is province still ahead of BC. I think my grandson earns more per hour than his aunts out here!

I could not make it for his birthday, nor for the upcoming tenth wedding anniversary of his aunt and uncle who also live in ON. I did do something for the day though. The original plan was a vegan meal so that my youngest would have some choices. However, she was quite sick and unable to come yesterday. The day was not lost, I made some changes and had s lot of fun while cooking up a storm. I am thankful I can and I could share with my second daughter. Now if only someone would do the dishes!

My very first vegan pumpkin pie!

We did not only have pie!