one long week, a date, and a weekend later..

The week started off pretty relaxed but in no time got busy, busy, busy.

Tuesday I learned that my primary teachers needed to prepare a 15 minute teaching demo to present to prospective parents looking to enroll their students into the ilp program next semester. They were expected to have this demo down pat by Friday morning which is when they would present it to the principal of the school.

By Wednesday I was notified that Bond (the English teaching company our coordinators work for) needed six of my teachers to learn a dance with Shiqi (another ILP group nearby) and perform for a tv show called Chinas Dream (or something like that - it's like Americas got talent), rehearsals were everyday in prep for the big performance in Guangzhou on Saturday.

Thursday my primary teachers rehearsed for their demo and my other 6 dancing star teachers rehearsed for Chinas Dream Show while Preston and I wildly ran around collecting money and passport information from each teacher so that our coordinator could purchase our next vacation train tickets to Beijing.

Friday I was up by 6:15 and out before 6:45 with Shiqis head teacher Michaela, to an area of Zhongshan called Xiaolan. We met up with the ILP group there to put on a demo for a large primary school nearby who was interested in the program. There were 9 of us teachers total, we were to hold a demo (which consisted of a more or less watered down version of our ilp teaching method - they wanted more entertainment than actual English speaking, typical China) with one group of students for an hour in the morning and another group of students in the afternoon for another hour. We begun and they just loved us so much they wanted us to stretch our hour-tops plan for each session into two to three hours each. Not only did we teach longer but as we progressed, the estimated amount of students we would teach per session went from 15 to 50. Change is no stranger in China, plans change all the time, if they don't change, they are not real. So we did what all good english teachers in china do, rolled with the punches and kicked butt.

All while this was happening my Primary teachers presented their demo and from what I heard they did a great job and the principal loved it.

Finishing up a long/fun/funny/interesting day, I made it home just after dinner and right on time to go on a walk with Jenna, Konner and my boy. We walked down the street to a little shop called the Deli, it happens to be a little store full of imported foods - cream cheese, ovaltine, progreso soup, ketchup, fancy pasta noodles, life cereal, tortillas, so on and so forth. It's funny, we've been into that shop a time or two but never get anything. Maybe it's just as comforting looking at familiar foods as it is eating them. It's probably cost that keeps us from indulging. Any kind of cheese is always tempting, but unfortunately the price isn't worth it!
I actually did make one small purchase this night (I felt like I deserved it), a brownie. Of course not an American, cakey brownie but it was thick, and had chocolate on chocolate on chocolate so I could not complain.
We ended the night right with a great little flick, Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Saturday morning rolled around and the six of my teachers took off for their big performance in Guangzhou while the others slept in and Preston and I enjoyed a delicious breakfast of Preston's doing (I am telling you, he is the best human in this whole entire universe!)
Egg sammiches and an apple each (because you know what they say..)
Preston and I got the chance to talk to some of our favorite goons via Facetime, I wish we would have taken a snapshot of their cheery mugs - we miss those guys!

After lunch we took off on a lovely day date. We bused into the city and got off at the fruit market. The weather was a delightful contrast to the rain and temperature drop we had been experiencing all week, it was so pleasantly warm.
Umbrellas as far as the eye could see earlier last week
Saturday sunshine on our tootsies
It was the best kind of Saturday afternoon, the streets usually hustling and bustling were much quieter. We passed not too many others on our walk and if we did they were moms holding sleeping babies on benches in the park.

Quiet streets 
"Hi everyone, my name is Handsome"

We walked a mile down to a place we hadn't ventured too before called Holiday Plaza, a popular shopping center. We didn't think to much of it but decided to wander in anyway. I am glad we did because it was very nice inside and had some fun, unique stores.

After wandering for a few hours we walked back down towards the bus stop and stopped at our favorite Muslim noodle shop and ordered some great dishes.
Tangent: for two large plates (like four meals worth) of noodles, two little bowls of soup and a piece of bread - 27 yuan. That is $4.36 people!!!

Since we ate such a large dinner we decided to head back to Kaiyin and grab dessert a little bit later. I have been wanting to go to this cute little cafe ran by a cute little Russian lady since day one, so guess where we got dessert?
Bread Pudding by J'am
Super cute inside
We loved the big wooden table 

When we got back we found out that our teachers won the Dream Show, they find out later this week if they made the cut for the all-paid trip to Shanghai for the finals! Exciting!

Since China is 14 hours ahead of home (Utah) for most of us, we didn't watch LDS Conference last week but caught up with it this Sunday. Presto downloaded the Sunday sessions and we got all comfy-cozy in one of the darkened primary classrooms and watched the good brethren and sisters of the church on the big screen. It was like we were there!
Enjoying all the wonderful messages.
I can't wait to go back and study them further - what was your favorite talk?
Ps. after my mom tagged me on an instagram photo of a batch of freshly baked conference cookies, I have been dying for a cookie of any kind.. With limited number of ingredients it took a good amount of searching on the web to find a recipe I could pull off here. But I had faith and found a great Peanut butter cookies recipe (great because it was so easy and doable) that consisted of one yellow cake mix (which i brought from home!), 1 C PB, 2 eggs & some oil (I used coconut oil)!
 I rolled out tiny little balls and topped them off with one semi-sweet chocolate chip each and popped them into the toaster oven for 7 minutes. They turned out delish and were the perfect conference treat.

and there you go! Everything in one week crammed into one.

love always,

the Smiths

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