Time to take a quick break from the ongoing Jon summaries to bring you a time-sensitive post about bringing America to Taiwan this fall.
Today was Halloween in the English classroom at Fu Xing. Because I don't teach there on Fridays, we had Halloween a day early. Now, Halloween isn't celebrated in Taiwan, so the only way people know about it is through English classes and the occasional display at a western chain (like Carrefour or Costco).
Earlier in the week, I gave a lesson on "this week in America" to my students... I talked a little bit about the World Series, Halloween, and the presidential election. A few students actually followed the Series and took after their teacher as diehard Phillies fans. And a lot of kids knew that Bush was the president of the US, and that Obama might be the next one (though Obama's opponent was, they said, "Hillary," "Bush," "Ma Yingjiu," or "that guy with the white hair"). I also talked about Halloween and told them that if they came to the classroom and said "Trick or Treat" on Thursday, they would get candy. Bonus candy for wearing a costume!
As the crazy American English teacher, it was my duty to be that teacher, going all out in a ridiculous costume and getting really excited about everything. By the time I got to Carrefour though, there were only three adult-sized costumes left. I chose this one. Note the sad-looking Asian man on the front.
The students exceeded my wildest expectations in terms of enthusiasm, as more than half of the fourth graders had some sort of costume (though many of the fifth graders were, of course, "too cool"). And students were coming from all corners of the school between classes to get candy and check out each other's costumes. Here's me and one of my fourth grade classes:
And finally, the highlight of the day of course came during second period. My fourth grade sports class (baseball and badminton players) finished their Halloween activities early, so we turned on the TV and watched the end of the World Series, live, on ESPN. I wish I had gotten video of their cheering "homerun" in Chinese, or jumping all over each other when the Phillies won, but of course, I was cheering with them. So here they are, mezmerized by the TV during the ninth inning.
And that's how I brought Halloween and the Phillies to Taiwan. If anyone remembers to ask me who won the presidential election next week, I'll know I've reached them. Now that's what I call being a cultural ambassador.