Monday, June 24, 2013

George the Galapagos Turtle

We got a phone call the other day from our company saying that we should attend an event.  I couldn't get much information from her so we decided to go since the school is very new and Michelle could possibly work there next semester since she will be changing schools. The only information we really received was that we would not need to do anything at this even and we should dress nice.

Only one of the two ended up actually being true.  We started the afternoon a little bit angry at our company since they picked us up in their car outside of our apartment gate, meaning that we had to walk through the rain in our nice clothes because they didn't think to pick us up at our building.  When we were arrived, a man, who we believe to be the headmaster or vice headmaster shook our hands and thanks us a lot. That seemed a little weird since all were we doing was sitting and watching some event. WRONG.  The next person we meet is a teacher who is in charge of the day.  She tells us that the school is trying to raise environmental awareness by holding this on the anniversary of the death of the last giant tortoise from the Galapagos Islands (His name was George, he was 100, and he died a year ago).

"Cool," we thought as we checked out the amazingly new and technologically advanced schools.  Kids were playing on these touchscreen computers that were everywhere.  I was interested in the giant turtle they put in the lobby.  Then, like what always seems to happen in China, the instructions were completely wrong.  She hands us a few sheets of paper and tells us that this is what we will read for the ceremony...........Michelle and I glance at each other while trying to harness our rage at our company. Of course they didn't mention the reason why the school randomly wanted us there.



We followed the teacher to a big stage and seating area where we practiced our bit.  The speech itself wasn't so bad, it was just the fact that people struggle to give us a straight answer on a weekly basis here sometimes.  Besides running pretty long, the performances were really really funny.  Here is the video play-by-play of what happened during the show:


"George, we loved you."

Short people mic




It started with two tiny kids, a girl and a boy, paired with what we thought was a local news team to give the introductions.  The really little girl was cracking us up since she already had the news anchor and body language down.  This group came in from time to time to mediate between the different acts but in the very beginning it seemed they started too early.   Someone yelled at them to stop and wait for all of the important Suzhou Education Bureau people to sit down. They restarted and these little organizational errors filled the entire show.




The first performance started off nice and creepy.  Kids held a candlelight vigil for the poor dead turtle.  Michelle says they were celebrating his life.  I see it as the start of a resurrection process since my speech used those exact words. Another theory includes a flashback from last year where this is the funeral that was held for George.




The students and some woman sang about George and nature in general.  Makes total sense to me that this song would be the prelude to the next. Call it a George the turtle's soul rain dance if you will.



BOOM! Right into the ridiculous action I was hoping for.  Smoke, lights, children in weird costumes, and of course the rave music breakdown in the middle!  Again this is where Michelle and I interpret the show a little differently.  Obviously the soul of George the turtle has risen to speak to each and all of the Chinese Zodiac animals.  He is possibly warning them that their future might not be so bright.  Seems the exchange between him and the dragon is a bit awkward.  As you can see the student dressed in everyday turtle-wear is lip syncing George's actual voice (Possessed? Channeling George?) and the animals (now brought to life flowers) almost seem to threaten the audience during the rave section.  Can't tell if this performance is really happy or really dark.



Just some small students giving some poems about animals.  This is probably the comic relief part of the show.  I don't know why I laughed at the pig one though.  I think it's because it was getting a little long by the time the poems started.



No words.




I was running out of space on the phone so unfortunately I missed the part where the kid chased the frogs around with the machete. The moral of this story is that you should love and protect nature instead of randomly murder them all (it's a metaphor).



George has actually been resurrected! His physical body is shown on stage while the children dance around it.

While typing this I somehow forgot the part where the animal kids danced down from stage and of course the turtle grabbed us by the hand to pull us to the stage.  Once we were on the stage, all the animals and the head administration people that were sniped from their seats formed a big awkward holding hands circle for about 20 seconds.  Their may have been a leg kid thing that was trying to get going? It was too much for the lady who drove us there as she bit the dust and fell to the ground.  We then stopped, all the kids bowed, and come confetti bombs exploded. The end.



I think what they actually were aiming for was to try and get kids to protect the environment for future generations.  Obviously we didn't know what was being said most of the time, except for the random English slogans that would be inserted such as "We love animals"  or "baby"  or "George the turtle".  Even these might as well been in Chinese because we didn't understand "baby".  They had a conservationist from Ecuador speak (through a translator in English) to us about the importance of environmental protection.  We joined in right after him as the foreign teachers to try and keep the kids interested a little bit longer before the main part of the show.  There was also many drawn out award ceremonies throughout the 'celebration?' Hopefully Michelle can lock up a job at this school. It's literally one of the nicest schools I've ever seen in my life but regardless of that they put on a pretty awesome show!
*Don't' think I should have to say this but I think some people have been getting confused.  Whenever I write blog posts, most of what I say is a joke.*




Just the rave part again, since I know you'll probably need at least one more watch.


RIP George. WE MISS YOU!


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