Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Candy Auntie and Mr. Holy

School radio program
Originally uploaded by Ruthie Marie
My parents have been here for two weeks and it seems like every day has been packed. We went to Beijing (Great Wall, Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven) and to Xian (Terra Cotta Soldiers, City Wall, Wild Goose Pagoda, Muslim quarter). Last week my parents came to most of my classes to introduce themselves, answer questions, and talk to students. This week my mom has come and helped with a “Southern Day” lesson in some of my classes. They have come to my office hours. We have had students over to our apartment. My mom taught a culture lecture. They have been on the school radio program. I’m taking full advantage of their visit and keeping them very busy.

Their visit has resulted in lots of funny student stories over the past couple of weeks which I would tell you about if I wasn’t so tired. So I’ll just give you a taste: the school radio broadcast.

One of my students, Lara, does a live English broadcast on the school radio (the one blasted on loudspeakers throughout the whole campus each day at lunch or dinner). I have been on the program twice; Kevin has been on it once. Last week in class Lara came and asked if my parents would be on the program. I said I’d have to ask them, and she was terribly excited when they agreed. Lara is excitable, talkative, and scattered. When she gets excited she talks very quickly and becomes increasingly more scattered.

On the day of the program, Lara explained the questions she had prepared for the broadcast. She met us and led us to the broadcast station, a small room in the classroom building with a closed sized area partitioned off for the broadcast. On the way, Lara asked my mom what she should call her. She said it was very difficult for her to say “Mrs. Hull” but she wanted something that would show respect.
“In China,” she said, “We would call someone auntie.”
“That’s good,” my mom said. “You can call me Auntie Candy.”
Lara liked the idea but could never quite get that straight and kept saying “Candy Auntie” instead. For my dad, she decided to stick with Mr. Hull, but she said it “Mr. Holy.”

Several of my students were there waiting for us. They weren’t related to the radio program, but they wanted to get in on the action. There were also several broadcast students eagerly looking on. By the end of the program, there were probably a dozen people crowded excitedly in the room.

The radio program consisted of Lara asking my parents a bunch of questions. The questions were wide ranging, varying from “How do you celebrate Christmas?” to “What are events that influenced your lives?” Some of the questions were a little more out of the blue, such as, “Some people do things that they enjoy and others do them just for money. For example, Clinton’s lover has written a book. What do you think about this?”

Lara said, “I hope that you won’t use any difficult words that I won’t understand because then I will feel embarrassed.” She kept talking about how nervous she was. I think perhaps the more nervous she is, the more she talks.

After the program, Lara told us they had recorded it to post on the internet so other schools could listen to the broadcast as well. So now my parents are famous.

There are lots of other funny stories (how can there not be, when you are teaching students to speak with a Southern accent and repeat things like, “She ain’t like the rest of us” and “He’s not so smart, bless his heart.” It was great fun.). But I will save some of those for our next newsletter…which I plan to make my parents write.


Anna said...

Well, maybe she was going more with the Indian idea where you always put "Auntie" or "Uncle" after the person's name. So see, maybe there was just more international relevance than she realized...

KFell said...

I bet your parents had a great time!

wynd said...

I would very much like to meet Candy Auntie and Mr. Holy. They sound like they could make an AWESOME Pixar film. :)