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January 2015 in Shandan Bailie School

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January is a short school month – the students sit exams in the second week, along with every other student in China.  After the exams most of them go home for the long Spring Holiday break – school starts again at the beginning of March.   Some students stay on for another 3-4 weeks of additional classes, to try to improve their all-important exam results.

Many of the senior students left the school two weeks early, to undertake practical technical work and prepare for competitions in this.

New Year [Western-style] in Shandan, was muted, though it was a public holiday: the only celebration being fireworks at midnight, and perhaps a bit more shopping being done!   New Year’s Eve was spent cleaning houses, to ensure they were spotless to welcome the New Year in.

SBS decorated it’s gateway with flags and lanterns.

The weather remains cold and clear, sunny and dry. The last snowfall was many weeks ago, the roads are mainly clear of ice, and so are perfect for cycling. Liu Guozhong and I biked out to the school farm at Shilipu [5km SE of Shandan town centre], to watch a class learning to prune the pear trees, and to see grapes being harvested from the greenhouse.

Jane Furkert, January 2015