Sunday, 7 December 2008

Sweet Potato and an English Contest

Today has been a tough day at Web, six classes has not been an ideal start to my working week. Apparently one student was determined to have a class, and who was the only teacher free at her desired time?  Me. It wasn't so bad in the end, but I find I am completely drained from having that extra lesson. At this time of year I was really hoping that the schedule would be much lighter than it is, but we are working almost the same workload as in summer. I am becoming increasingly tired of it too, I think I need this upcoming holiday.

After Web today, I was treated to a pleasant evening with Kimi, Johann, Michelle, and Elwin (two students from Web). We went to a Korean restaurant, and even met a Korean man with a big beard who advertised that he owns factories in Wenzhou (we can thank him for days like this). We ate a sweet potato dish which brought memories of Hangzhou flooding right back to me. Richard (my friend from the UK who lived in Hangzhou) and I would regularly visit a restaurant each week that served this special type of sweet potato.  It is sticky, red-hot inside, but very delicious.

The dongbei (north eastern) Chinese restaurant in Hangzhou, in some ways very similar to the Korean restaurant we visited tonight, especially with its sweet potato dish

Before today I had just had a very relaxing three days off -- one more than usual -- due to me doing another favour for Web last week. I was asked to judge for the English competition that some Wenzhou university students took part in. I think they asked me because I had already spoken to a few of the students who took part a week earlier (I wrote about that here).

It was an interesting few hours indeed. The contestants had previously passed the first round that had taken place at the university, and would this time be coming to the Web centre itself. The winners of the second round will be entering the final which is taking place on December 11th. I guess if I am going to be asked to do this one too, I will be asked an hour before the event takes place.

The group of 40 or so students were split up into two groups: professional, meaning they were majoring in English; and non-professional, meaning they majored in something else. I judged the professional group with one of Web's tutors, Chrissy, and a university lecturer. We made our way to the "Web cafe", an odd place to hold the contest, but they had moved all of the tables and chairs out making it semi-acceptable. We sat behind our desks, and were handed the criteria for marking. All we had to do was give each contestant points, we didn't even have to say anything. There were two rounds for this process: the first was a performance, or talent show, and the second: improvised hosting.

I was surprised by two things in the competition: the lack of male contestants, and the fact that most of the students who chose singing as their talent couldn't actually sing at all. Hats off to them, they have the kind of confidence I am lacking in.

At the end of the judging, our papers were collected and the students returned to their campus. It seemed to be the university's job to count the scores and tell the winners, they did it a day or two later, so I have no idea who got through. If Web has nothing to do with the final, I wouldn't be surprised if nothing more is said of the matter.


mabelp said...

Oh! 6 classes per day is tough. What is the duration of 1 lesson?
I hope your schedule would be better soon!

Sweet Potato dish sounds great for u since u're a vegetarian. Ha!

I think your Eng competition was interesting. Was the Talent show like "American Idols"?

Elwin said...

Thank you, Chris, and certainly Johann, for inviting me to the nice dinner.

The English competition sounds interesting, probably could hold a similar one at WEB.

大眼睛熊 said...

The delicious sweet potato dish is called 拔丝地瓜(ba si di gua), I'd love to have it again, it tasted really good!!
I'm glad ur feeling better now, hope WEB will give u an easier day today. Xxx