and now a word from our judges...

Get ready for a takeback, playback of my Sunday afternoon...

So there Kara and I were just strolling into the building at Yanda University where I would be a judge for a local English competition and she would be a distinguished audience member.
At the very same moment our eyes caught one glimpse of this photo and of course...

We totally tripped and almost fell on our faces.
At the exact same time.
We are slowly becoming the same person.
I'm sure my students were wondering "Why did we invite them again?"
Loudspeaker, an English club at Yanda University, held the competition
for students from all over the city, and two of my very own students,
Timothy and Stephanie, made it to the final round.
I was so proud.

I was directed to my seat at the front of the auditorium with the other judges (four Chinese teachers and an Aussie). I started chatting with the Australian guy (foreigners can usually connect fairly quickly in China since none of us really ever know exactly what's going on).

It's amazing the information people will divulge to a stranger. He told me all about his partner, their son (the first true foreigner to be born in Qinhuangdao mind you), the places he's lived in China, all the English competitions he's judged, etc. But soon enough we had to focus on the stage. The competition was starting...

Out came our hosts for the afternoon.
They were pretty great.
And bilingual too!

You can't have a speech competition without some pre-show entertainment.
Chinese hip-hop dancers are the best.

We appreciated his effort.
See the little boy in the corner.
He was A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E.
He was the best break dancer I've seen in a long time.
Sorry I don't have a video of his moves.
Just imagine a Missy Elliott kiddo dancer, Chinese style.


And now for the competitors self-introductions.
These were some of our favs.

Meet my student Timothy (contestant #7).
He always wears this G-Unit sweatshirt.
He is precious in every way possible.

Meet Stephanie (contestant #9).
If she was a a food, she would totally be a cupcake.
Sweet and the cutest thing ever.
I mean she did the hokie pokie for her intro.
Too bad Kara and I were the only audience members dancing along.

Now for the moment of truth...

The Speeches.

The Debates.

Here are all 10 of the contestants post speeches and debates and before they announced the winner.
I believe this is when they asked all of the judges to give some suggestions to the contestants, and I rambled something about being passionate and speaking from your heart.
It was horrible and didn't make much sense. Dang.

Time to announce the winners...

Well, the Aussie judge and I were convinced it was rigged.
Timothy and Stephanie and #2 all got third place (I don't really understand how that exactly works)...

And this girl, #10, got first. Was it a coincidence that she is a student at Yanda and most of the judges are teachers there? I think not.

Am I a little bitter? Maybe.

Even though I think my students should have won, I decided to be the bigger person and pose with the group after all.

Everyone's a winner in China.
We all got some prizes.
I'm a fan of my picture.
And I think Timothy and Stephanie liked their soap:)

And then it was over.
Time to clean up the confetti they shot at the winner.

Kara asked me last night, "What are you going to do when you don't live in China anymore?"
To which I responded, "I don't even know. My life will be so sad and boring."

I'm really going to miss this place.
I don't even want to think about life without
speech competitions,
confetti cannons,
and Chinese people.


  1. I think tripping at the same time is a true sign of friendship. Thanks for letting me tag along.

  2. oh my gosh. they just keep getting more and more hilare. three, third prize winners, what tha? your picture is rad too. I couldn't watch video (due to african internet) but I can only imagine.