Every year in the fall our school has fall camp for the middle school and high school, which is a three day retreat to the outdoors. Each group goes to a different camp. Michael and I traveled with the high school to the Duck and Goose Ranch Camp : ) The theme for our fall camp this year was empires. Two seniors are usually picked as leaders and then a team of about 10 other students of mixed grades are put together for each empire.My empire was Mongolia (I know random: ) My brother got lucky with Greece for his empire. Anyway each empire or team has to prepare a poster, advertisement, skit, and song (with choreography) before leaving for the camp. The hardest and most tiring part of fall camp is the preparation. The weekend before camp I was gone almost all day Saturday and half the day Sunday working on costumes and to practicing our song and skit. When we finally get to fall camp we compete in games such as sack races, tug-o-war, go-cart races, pool games, etc. My team got third for the tug-o-war and in the swimming pool. Throughout the three day camp I was extremely worn out and although I had a good time getting to know different people I have to admit it was nice to get home. Right before all of us loaded back into the buses to go home the teachers had an award ceremony for the students. My team didn’t even place in the top six out of ten but we had fun so oh well : ) hehe!!
In my school the Middle School is divided up into four groups. These groups are called Houses in which 6th, 7th, and 8th graders are put together. The purpose of the Houses is mostly to create “unity” througout the grades and throughout the whole Middle School. So each House has about six or seven kids from 6th, 7th or 8th grade. I’m in House 3. Each house has to come up with a House Mascot, Color and Name. House 3 is The Flaming Phoenix, our color is red and our mascot is, of course, a Phoenix. So any way each year Middle School goes to Fall Camp, a three day camping trip when all 4 houses play games to earn the House Championship Plaque.The Battle started, Friday, the moment we left our school in buses for our 3 hours drive to the Battle grounds (Don’t worry, the war didn’t start on the bus 🙂 ). When we arrived we unpacked our armor and headed to the arena (the Sandpit, a large area covered in sand surrounded by bleacher-like seating). The combat began! I fought valiantly for my House! After about three attacks (three games) it was time to rest our selves. Many of my comrades mingled with the soldiers of enemy Houses! Outrageous! Ummm…. on the other hand I think I was guilty of that as well! During our rest time I was seriously injured! Well Maybe not seriously, but I did fall and twist my wrist and skin my knee and elbow. [This was no undercover job by House 2 to take me out, thankfully. It was of my own doing, when I lost my footing.] Throughout these three days the battle raged on! Sadly, I was of less help to my House because of my injuries! My house was not technically what you would call a strong army! There were too many people wanting to be Generals (leaders) and not enough people wanting to be soldiers (followers) and I was stuck in the middle trying to hold the ranks together!!! So my experience in war (the games) was not very positive. There was one attack that I found VERY interesting! All of the Houses had small lights (Glow Sticks) and when the lines were drawn we were to steal the other House’s flag all in the cover of night!! (The game was Night Time Capture the Flag with Glow Sticks.) I would sneak behind enemy lines and pretend I was one of them, then I would try to edge toward their flag, but most of the time I saw a enemy soldier advancing towards me and I’d think they had detected my identity, so I’d run for it! All of these selected Battle days (All of Fall camp) was quite elating, but as the battle drew to an end Houses 2, 4 and (*Sniffle*) 3 were forced to surrender to House (*Sob*) 1!!! But I will always remember how we fought with honor and tried our best; overcoming some attacks (winning some games) and being defeated in others. This is my Battle Tale.
This year I have decided to be on the Middle school soccer team. It has been going great and I love it! Our first soccer game was against another International School in Tianjin. It has mostly European students there. something funny that happened was on the field they were all speaking French! We had a great game and we won 5 to 1!
A couple of Saturdays ago, we had an errand to run up at the school. It was pretty nice day, so we all decided to ride. Jessie needed to pick her bike up because she left it there during the week. So Jessie rode on the back of Sean’s bike. Here’s how Chinese ride as passengers. It looks a little scary, but actually isn’t too bad.
On our way we passed an old fruit market. The govt recently closed this market to make way for a new highway. Here’s a bike hauling away abandoned junk, left behind.
Fruit vendors move to the streets
After arriving at school we let the kids play. Notice the photographer in the reflection of this picture.
Megan and Maddie spend time on the playground. Rachel tries out riding my electric bike.
Rachel keeps asking me to let her ride it on the streets, but I’m not ready to let her out there with all the traffic. Here on the school grounds is a gated place to ride with no other cars around.
Megan loves the playground, but my, my she gets so dirty. The ground is covered with small pebbles, which is safe for the kids, but the air/city here is so dirty, the ground gets filthy. She has to go straight to the shower after arriving homeIf you don’t believe me, take a look at the bottom of Megan’s feet after being out wearing flip-flops today. Keep in mind, she did have a shower this morning.
Saturday, September 5th, Jessie was given a new Macbook laptop computer to use for school. Our administrators and teachers are doing a pilot program this fall with the 8th grade class. Teachers will be using laptops in the classroom for learning and the students will bring them home each night for homework. Sean was involved in training the kids. I was also asked to come hear about the program and given tutorials of basics on how to use a Mac.
Below is Sean presenting to the kids how to use the Photobooth application on the Mac.
Notice whose pictures he used as samples!!
Jessie, intent on learning
Here I am with other moms, trying to learn so we can keep up with our kids!
Jessie plays around with the Photobooth with her friends