The freshmen have arrived. This has been evidenced by:
- Huge banners, balloons, and blow-up welcoming arches
- Lost looking kids wandering around with suitcases
- All day announcements and music blared through the loudspeakers (alternating between quiet elevator-type music, loud, patriotic marches, and high-pitched operas)
- A special 2.5 hour welcoming program of speeches and performances
- Thousands of kids walking around in matching wind-suits and now…
- Thousands of kids broken into class groups, standing in line, turning, and marching together
- The leaders counting off “yi, er, san, si” followed by “YI, ER, SAN, SI” from the students
Unlike in America, the freshmen arrive two weeks after the older students. They have a short orientation and then go through military training before classes. Military training is when they stand in lines and shout out numbers. After a while, they will add marching and turning to the regimen. They do this all day long (with of course the lunch/nap break in the middle, because it would be inhumane to not allow a mid-day nap). It seems like it would be pretty boring, but some of the students say they have fond memories from that time. I guess in all the time that they are standing around doing nothing, they talk to their classmates and start getting to know each other.
We thought the freshmen would have two weeks of military training, but now it appears that they will start classes next week, which means that we will need to start teaching them next week. Kevin and I are teaching half sophomores and half freshmen, so this first couple of weeks we’ve had significantly less to do. I guess we should figure out what we're going to teach these little freshmen. Darn it…now we actually have to work. What a drag.