Sunday, 15 May 2011

慶祝春天 Let's celebrate Spring

I have been waiting for Spring for a while. With the west coast rain, it feels like a looooong wait. The flowers are not waiting, though, and the kids are certainly happy to put on the rain boots and jump in puddles. Hence this poem. I wrote one poem for each season. Again, we turn the production into an art project. Emilyn is more than happy to grab the camera and experiment with it.

Emilyn can read the poem easily on her own. I also installed Audacity this time for the recording so the sound quality is a lot better. Chantal was featured in two of the photographs, one of which was a snapshot I took of her a year ago. She loved her pink boots and insisted on wearing them to match her tutus.

We will try photography for the remaining three seasons - summer at the beach, Halloween in the Fall, and nihao Mr. snowman. Oh, I am including the translation of the poem in this blog because I inserted pinyin (I am learning pinyin myself so this is MY homework), which takes up the screen space for English subtitles. Enjoy!

春-下雨了chūng  -  xià    le
Spring – it’s raining

天空黑黑的烏雲  tiān  kūn  hāi  hāi  de   yuēn
In the sky dark clouds
不走開  zǒu  kāi
Won’t go away
下雨了 xià   le
It’s raining
唏哩嘩啦    huā  
Pitter patter
So wet

穿雨衣  chuān   
Put on a raincoat
拿雨傘      sǎn
Grab an umbrella
雨靴呢?   xuē ne
How about rain boots?
在這裡,在這裡  zài  zhè  lǐ,  zài  zhè 
They are here, they are here

左腳,右腳,穿好了  zuǒ  jiǎo,  yòu  jiǎo,  chuān  hǎo  le
left foot, right foot, all done
出去找水坑  chū    zhǎo  shuě  kēng
go outside to find puddles
一腳,兩腳,跳進去    jiǎo,  liǎn jiǎo,  tiào  jìn 
one foot, two foot, jump in
我喜歡雨    xǐ huān 
I like rain
春天的花也喜歡雨  chūng  tiān  de  huā      huān yǔ
Spring flowers also like rain
黃色的水仙  huáng    de  shuě xiān
yellow daffodils
hóng    de yù  jīn xiāng
red tulips

摘一朵、兩朵、三朵  zhāi    duǒ,  liǎng  duǒ,  sān  duǒ
Picking one, two, three flowers
把春天帶回家    chūng  tiān  dài  hué  jiā
Brining Spring home

Sunday, 8 May 2011

We had a great time at Chinese Story Time 有說有笑的故事時間

The first Chinese Story Time went really well. Lots of enthusiastic kids and parents! My two girls were very involved in the process. Chantal especially loved to pull the suitcase full of Chinese books. I had the first 20 minutes or so with Chantal so we read a few stories together. When other kids showed up, she didn't like the idea of sitting down with others so she spent most of the time playing with the suitcase on her own. Emilyn wanted to read a story to others so she did the Fat Cat. I'm very encouraged by the positive feedback on those videos of our stories. A few kids also wanted to listen to our third book "Planting a vegetable garden", still in its hand-made book format. I need some ideas for turning this book into a video. Emilyn is working on it. Any suggestion?

As I expected, sharing books and story time is fun and the kids really enjoyed browsing all the colourful books we put on the table as display. Dora is very popular among the younger ones. I also found it very good for kids with little Chinese. It is almost like a picture and vacabulary book. And it is very interactive with the built-in activities. 

I will probably go on a shopping spree to add more books to my collection in the next week or so. There is also a risk of staying awake at night thinking up an idea for the video production of the vegie book. Oh well, I did start our vegie garden this year so maybe my inspiration will come soon as the kids and I continue to dig in the dirt.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

A tree falls down 樹"終於"倒了

It took me a long time to finish the video but finally it's here: A Tree Falls Down Chinese version and English version . My second story is about our favourite Goldstream Park where we visit often and especially in the Fall when we go to see the salmon run.

I feel a sense of urgency to get this story and video done because of the recent accident on the highway by the park. A feul truck crashed and spilled lots of oil and gas into the river, killing the fish and polluting the envrionment. The accident happened a day after the park staff released hundreds of young salmon into the river. Really bad timing...although there isn't any good timing anyway. Local newspaper showed pictures of dead fish, which really concerned me. We haven't been to the park after the accident but it was always on my mind as I was working on the video production of the story.

This time, Emilyn helped a lot more with the video production. It was really fun for us to spend almost two full days to design the paper cutouts, rehearse the "play" scene by scene, often involving improv and conflict resolution when we had very different artistic views. She also learned how to shoot the video. That was exciting for her. I was planning to narrate the story myself. I would have finished a lot faster for sure. But I decided to keep Emilyn involved and recorded the narration with her line by line. It was not easy but we did it. She also had the brilliant idea to sing the song for the opening and closing scenes. "Monsieur le chene" is about a tree, very fitting for the story, she said. 

About the story itself, Emilyn remembered that day well when a tree almost fell on top of her as we were by the river bank to get a closer look at the salmon in the river. She was only 3 yeas old. What scared her was the noise of the tree trunk breaking off and crashing to the ground, as well as her dad's sudden reaction to grab her and run. She cried a bit but later she recounted the story repeatedly to grandma, her friends and us, with the most enthusiasm a 3 years old can have.

Oh, I do hope we will see the salmon run this Fall. I did not mean to write this story to remember a past time. It's an ongoing story of our family's annual ritual to visit the salmon returning home. Emilyn is 6 now and her sister, Chantal, is turning 3 this year. We tell the story to each other a lot so Chantal thinks she is in the story and she is the one crying when the tree falls down. This has to be a story from kids to kids, year after year. It should never stop.