Ping pong, calligraphy, and green tea ice cream oreos included.
07.07.2010 35 °C
Today, we had a full day of classes at Changzhou No. 1 Middle School, including a 4 hour Chinese lesson from 8 am, a 3 hour calligraphy lesson, a sports time [which happily included refreshing ice cream, ping pong matches, and green tea ice cream oreos], and a shopping excursion that took the place of computer lab time. I'm happy to elaborate on the green tea ice cream oreos - everyone believed they were mint oreos even though I kept saying they were green tea.... and the ping pong matches were amazingly entertaining. There's about 8-10 ping pong tables in the courtyard, with professional paddles and billions of balls. Of course we're going to be playing ping pong in China. Don't worry, I'll come back a ping pong pro at this rate... pics to follow!
We convinced our teachers to let us out during computer time to shop around Changzhou for various items. A few people bought cameras because they forgot them, and many of us bought baby books to teach us basic Mandarin vocab words. Everythings so cheap and a bunch of snacks total up to be less than a US dollar usually.
Our Mandarin lesson is a little tough at the moment because we're just given key phrases to memorize - our real Mandarin teacher is coming in next week after the exams are over. She's teaching at the moment, so we have a substitute teacher in her place. Although we're having a lot of fun (musical chairs, joseph's INTENSE thriller dance, cha cha slide, cupid shuffle... did I mention this is inside the classroom?), it's not intensely productive but I'm hoping that'll improve next week.
Nobody really knows what boba is here but they do know what bubble tea is. I think one of the volunteers said they'll bring us to a really good boba shop later on but for now I had to settle with the milk tea & red beans floating around combo .. strange. Did I mention the school has an amazing student store / mini grocery mart with allll of these interesting-flavored snacks? PICTURES BELOW!
3 hour calligraphy was insane. Everyone fell asleep at the end but I find it kind of relaxing and fun.. Fernando commented on my character-writing skills earlier in the day and said "Your inner Chinese is coming out when you write these characters!" x_x
Anyways... had to take a taxi home because my host mom (who I confirmed is my host mom!) was still working.
Truly a hard task to flag down a taxi ... will work on that in New York. I had to close my eyes a lot because the taxi drivers are nuts. Literally.
Here's some tips for driving in China, if you haven't gotten the point yet:
1) Driving is a free for all activity. You're on the road, you have to fend for yourself.
2) There are no such things as lanes. What are these lines in the middle of the road? I have no idea. Because I'm driving on both sides. And why not just drive on top of the lines too! Two lanes = three cars (one left, one middle on top of the dividing line, and one on the right). Oh I forgot to mention the CARS COMING STRAIGHT AT YOU AS WELL. On the same side.
3) Pedestrians definitely do NOT have the right of way. Don't even think about it.
4) Honking is normal. You will not get glared at/shot. If an elderly person & their baby grandson happen to be walking in the lane in front of you, you may honk because they're in your way and you must get them to move before you hit them!
5) Seatbelts are completely unnecessary inventions.
Watched a student play at her school then went to ajisen ramen! She pointed to KFC or Ajisen and of COURSE I would choose the ramen...who wants KFC when you can get noodles hehe she asks all the waitresses/waiters we encounter if they can speak English because she doesn't know how else to communicate to me. Then they always give me a really funny look and they start chatting in rapid Chinese "mei guoren" .. hmm my pinyin sucks. So I pointed to a kimchi beef noodle and she gasped and pointed to the Chinese words of "kimchi" and was like what?! but then I nodded and she was like well okay...
Well at least I think that's what she said considering we do a lot of charades all the time. Haha
Warm milk will take a little getting used to. And tea... I've been trying my best. Really.
Bug bite count: 12+4 = 16 ): where's my bug repellent ...
I will upload all my photos to the photo album when I get the time to do so. Pics from around Changzhou!
PS. You should try having full conversations using Google translator sometime! It's tough.