Wednesday, February 13, 2008 ;
7:02 AM
Feb 5

Upon ds1's tr's request, I went to his school earlier to help out with calligraphy writing. Although I had learnt that before in Sec sch, (remembered it was an elective in Sec 2 Art lessons), I was not good at Chinese calligraphy. I could not write the brush strokes (cursive) way and only wrote block letters.

But I had wanted to write some to put up at home anyway, and my mom had kindly sent some pens and red paper over. So I tried to help. :-)

We didn't have traditional ink though, so we used black paint, and for the first part, I was supposed to hold the kids' hands and guide them in writing their names in Chinese. We let them use a brush instead. [The traditional calligraphy set that Naia's mom brought had a small ink pad and it would take hours to make up ink that is black and thick enough for writing, so we didn't use that.] Wrote a character for the teacher too. :-)

After the kids' names, we wrote Chinese characters for things or animals that the kids loved best. Like "princess" or "sharks". Only I wrote the Chinese term for "whale" instead, argh, so embarrassing.

Then I wrote traditional CNY Chunlian words and greetings on the red paper to be pasted around the classroom.

Feb 7

CNY party at ds1's school.

Everyone was supposed to wear something red, and I brought goodies, and instruments and other items to contribute to the festive and fun atmosphere. Was very glad that even though we're here, ds1 still had the chance to celebrate it with his classmates. Thanks to the teacher and to Naia's mom (who came from Taiwan when she was 15).

The pic below showed the teacher distributing different Chinese instruments like gongs, cymbals and drums to the kids. I brought the gong and various drums. The kids were wearing masks they made earlier in the week that depicted different animals in the Chinese Zodiac calendar. Ds1 made a horse. They had been doing different CNY craft and activities for the whole week.

Below shows some of the decor on the walls in the classroom: (I contributed the different red envelopes too, asked my mom in law to send me. She has like 40-50 extra from previous years).

Below left: the kids getting ready for the dragon parade around the school. Also shown is Naia's mom.
Below right: the teacher leading the kids around the basement of the school. There was a din alright! It was so noisy with all the kids laughing and clanging. But it was great fun!

They had heard the story about scaring away the Nian monster earlier that week. haha.

The parade made its way upstairs and into the school gym/ hall. They snaked through and circled the hall a few times before settling on the stairs to the stage for this group pic.

Then I asked the kids to be their scariest selves, and took this pic below. Scare the Nian away they did!

Then we headed back to class, for the snacks. I had brought quite an assortment of goodies: keropok, xiaomantou, seaweed, rice crackers, rabbit sweets... Naia's mom brought winter melon strips. The teacher had me explain and describe all the food items to the kids before they tucked in. One of the boys felt the seaweed was disgusting. haha. It's natural. Anyway, I couldn't find a lot of authentic CNY goodies, so that's why just brought any Asian things I could get hold of [below]

The plates were red and the juice they had was red in color too. Cool!

Naia's mom brought a DVD documentary on lion dancing and CNY. so the kids watched. It was in CHinese though, she bought it in Beijing sometime ago, so the teacher had to translate and explain it to the kids. (There were English subtitles). The kids were enthralled by the lion dancing.

The teacher did a great job in organising the party and even had her snack table covered in red too. :-)

What was ds2 doing all this while? He was doing the 2 things he loved best. His eyes were glued to the TV and he was stuck at the snack table the whole time, feasting on the keropok (above left). *faint*

The kids had also made dragons (craft) with fun long tails, and above pics show them taking a group pics with their dragons and red packets. Red envelopes and coins within were supplied by Naia's mom. The coins were China ancient coins with a hole in the middle.

Everyone went home happily.

This week, also on Thurs, they're having yet another party! This time it is Valentine's Day party. I will be going again, sounds like lots of fun too!

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

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