Twas’ The Night Before Chinese New Year

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Chinese New Year in Shanghai feels like Christmas back in the States. The spirit is in the air with decorations everywhere, little pig souvenirs and gold charms being sold in all the little shops. Chinese New Year is THE holiday of the year in China where almost the entire country has time off and goes back to their hometowns to visit family and celebrate. Shanghai is about to be a ghost town and the kids are officially all on their holidays either traveling outside of China or within. I officially kicked off the holidays by going to the famous Yuyuan Gardens with two friends to look at the beautiful lights, eat some yummy food and soak in the holiday spirit.

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The Yuyuan Gardens is the most famous landmark in Shanghai besides the Pearl Tower. It is a little piece of history in a city of development and technology. It is a VERY touristy area but worth the visit and it was super fun to go at night during the holidays. They put on quite the display of lights that was so stunning and fun to look at.

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Chinese New Year wouldn’t be complete without a massive glowing dragon!

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It is the year of the pig so of course blow-up piggies were abundant. The Chinese culture has such a reverence for elders that can be seen in the displays and little light stories about taking care of family.

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I love all the lanterns hanging from the roofs of the historic building with building carvings and moldings.

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On the last day of our winter intensive I went to a fellow teacher’s room to help out with their STEAM urban planning projects. The first session I didn’t have any students, so have been spending the time doing curriculum preparation for the next session and spring and helping out the other teachers.

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The kids were so proud of their little models and had the best time planning the layout and then making the display. It was so creative and really brought me back to my time in elementary school making displays! Included in this lesson was learning about pollution, recycling and how to make cities more green. Given my love for the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum it was kind of the perfect fit for me. The kids were so engaged in writing their essays on pollution and thinking of ways to make their models. One girl made a rice farm in her city that was right next to the KFC. They are SO FUNNY!

Next week I will be heading to Beijing for a few days with friends which I am super excited about! I haven’t been to Beijing since 2008 and it is such a contrast from Shanghai and full of so much history. I’m excited to see how things have changed, are the same and see it from different eyes ten years later.

Happy Chinese New Year and Gong Xi Fa Cai.

-Kaila

 

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