Of course it would be me. [Baoding]
18.07.2010 34 °C
Successfully said "Zhao shang hao" to someone today and got it back in return! What an accomplishment.
Anyways, let's recap from last Thursday, the day that we had a Chinese / American Cultural presentation at the Bank of China. [upstairs room with a disco ball - snazzy!]
During the presentation, a medium sized room was filled with host families and the Changzhou No. 1 Middle / High School band (who played very very well by the way) and the Korean students. All the American students performed the YMCA and the Cha Cha Slide for them and everyone obviously stared at us funny. Which isn't any different really than walking down any street in China as a large group of Americans [today a man leaned really close to Miranda and said "MEI GUO?!" and i said "dui!" so hooray for that!] but Sarah and I blend in which can be both a good thing and a bad thing, because we get less stares but we're assumed to speak fluent Chinese. Obviously, a Chinese can speak a dialect of Chinese. No.
Sorry, back to the presentation. A man talked to us in Chinese for like an hour and of course we didn't really pay attention because we couldn't understand. He did mention well-known American universities (i.e. Brown, Harvard, Yale) and showed us pictures of himself at the universities. Hahaha. So as we were exiting, there was a revolving door. Oh dear. I'm usually pretty good at revolving doors... I mean there's a certain rhythm/timing of it all and it's fun to step inside and keep up with the pace before getting knocked in the butt by the following door. (insert story about Superwoman Mom and almost-blind Granny + the revolving door in Italy here) Not this time. We were all entering the constantly-in-motion revolving doors (of death) and when it was my turn, I happened to see Luke still inside the bank and we quickly threw out our goodbyes - but then I remembered he usually takes the #33 bus home with Mikaela, Miranda and me. Somewhere along the lines I got distracted and walked straight into the side panel of the doors that do not revolve. Kind of hard to describe without my hands, but think of this: revolving door, two open curved door panels on each side of the revolving door. I walk into one of them head on - "NOSE on" - and hear my nose crack four times in four different places. Hmmm... not pleasant. Tears sprung to my eyes and I felt like a baby but everyone was laughing because who walks into a revolving door! So I was laughing and crying and people didn't know if it hurt or minor because that's just a confusing combination and poor Zhao Lao Shi is worried and offers to take me to the hospital nearby.
Anyways that was fun. 4 days later and it hurts like no other still. Can't even touch the thing. People don't believe the pain because there's nothing that shows that there's anything wrong and also because I "have such a small nose!" Oh well. We'll see where this goes. Hopefully it's not broken? Anyone with a previous broken nose let me know how it felt so I can compare and diagnose the pain. Thanks!
Later that night, it was just my host sister and I watched kdramas and eating cup noodles because my host parents went to Shanghai at 5 30 am that morning. It was just us for the night and they would come home tomorrow but by then I would be in Baoding!
Then came Friday: Got up at 5:30 am to hail a taxi to Changzhou High School of Jiangsu Province (best high school in Changzhou) - very difficult task. Xinyu is definitely not a morning person. She had to call the taxi service in the morning to meet me outside the building but she didn't get up! She walked around like a zombie with her eyes closed and was moaning like a zombie as well. I can understand why it's so hard to get me up in the morning now - sorry Mom. (no wait I'm not THAT bad! you should see xinyu..)
Finally, the bus ride. 14 hours long. 6:30 am - 8:30 pm to Baoding, a city about an hour away from Beijing. CRAZINESS! I have never been on a longer bus ride. We should've taken the sleeper train Thurs-Fri night but since the Shanghai World Expo's going on, that wasn't a possibility. So we took a coach with a cool card table in the back and no bathroom x_x
We played so so so many card games and ate so many different snacks - recap: 10 fingers, golfing, egyptian rat screw
Got to the conference around 9:30 pm after dinner when everyone else was there around 11 am. Crazy night sums it all up, really.
Throughout the conference (which was an AFS conference), we had a ceremony which we couldn't understand and a few activities, and then a Chinese lesson (in which I learned more than I have in the past two weeks). We also had a cultural festival and it was really fun salsa dancing on stage in front of everyone and seeing a great mixture of many different cultures in one room. Met the AFS CEO and he gave me a key chain from Thailand even though he's from Paraguay.
A few funny memories this weekend: KFC, RT Mart, "Spicy ladies" and the creeper guy who thought I couldn't speak English, "nice" bathrooms, terrible meals, the "city tour" that we thought we were going to die at (battlefield back in 1920s or so, Japanese invasion + underground tunnels), bus rides, don't stop believin, salsa dancing
Just came back from the 14 hour bus ride back home and everyone just slept the whole time. Lots of craziness going on around 3 am because they decided to have the bus become a Chinese dance party and it was fun! Then around 5 am they started blasting mission impossible music and we were very confused and everyone was cranky :p
Going out in 30 minutes or so to go shopping with the American AFSers and have lunch, then we're going to teach at the English camp at the middle school for an hour! That should be fun. Sounds like a cult someone said because they're chanting English mantras very loudly. There's about 200 students saying "I will learn English because it will help the world!" or something like that. Oh dear.
Sorry, long entry. More details later. BTW: We're the only city that gets to attend the World Expo! SO COOL. Only 14 Americans out of 49 total - Changzhou is awesome. I love our group
New teacher doesn't speak English very well at all / uses Google translator. He points to Chinese characters and tells us to READ but we've never seen them before so how can we read them? Hmm. We'll have to work on that. I heard we might be getting a new teacher later? Well, at least I'll come back with a little bit more than what I started with. But that's not saying much.
Changzhou = Casino royal moon supposedly according to Google translator. It's also a dream city of dreams! YAY!