Week 15 of teaching

Well I haven’t really stopped since last Thursday so now I’m finally sat in my room it’s really relaxing!As it was Childrens Day last week and the pupils had sporting events on Thursday and Friday instead of lessons, I visited a temple, park, and Sichuan Museum on those 2 days. I was up early Saturday morning to meet Becky and a couple of pupils from English Corner, Nicole and Prim, as we were going to Strawberry Music Festival for the day! I’ve only been to a festival once before, which was just a day ticket at Creamfields last year, so I didn’t really know what to expect or how different it would be. Prim’s parents drove us there and it was in a massive park that looked too pretty to hold a festival, but it was so clean and spacious there which I guess was the first difference from festivals back home. Oh they also sold out of water half way through the day which wasn’t great as it was SUCH a hot day- so our only options were coke or beer! Even though Nicole and Prim are only 15 they asked me to buy them a beer- so I did, but then they asked if they could mix it with coke so I told them they definitely couldn’t! They’re staying in England for a couple of weeks in July and asked us if it was difficult to make a sandwich, as they don’t really eat them out here. They were amazed when I said I usually make one every day and now they want their host families to teach them how to make them too- they think it’s a really ‘exotic’ food!Β 

Becky and I just sat on the grass to watch the bands whilst the two girls went into the crowd to dance- we felt like such oldies but it was too hot for us! The main stage where we were sat was playing rock, folk, hip hop and pop music, and there were three other stages also. These played heavy rock/screamo, reggae, and an electronic stage which is where most of the Westerners were. We also watched a Chinese rap battle which was funny as obviously we had no idea what they were saying and just had to go by the audience reactions. They had a line of small market stalls selling everything from jewellery to handmade clothes to Western CDs to fake tattoo sleeves to piercings- someone was also selling towels with different bands/artists on it, and there was one of the Beatles on an American flag backdrop! It all seemed a lot more authentic and local there, nothing like the commercialised sell-out crap they sell at our festivals.
The two girls we were with are obsessed with finding boyfriends and we felt a little like older sisters as they wanted us to do their make up for them, teach them how to flirt, and get boys to come over so they could talk to them! Anyway there was one boy who was interested in Nicole so we set them up and made sure they walked and talked together, whilst we walked behind at a safe distance πŸ˜› By the time we left they had exchanged their Weibo names (Chinese version of Twitter) so we felt our job was done πŸ˜› We stayed there for a good 6 hours but then Becky and I had to leave to meet the others in the city, and went out that night.

The next day, a few of us went to a park in the city to meet our Chinese friend Chocoliss, where we spent the afternoon playing Mah Jong. I finally get the hang of it now but I want to keep playing so I don’t forget! It was evidently an amazing sight for the Chinese to see a group of foreigners playing Mah Jong and so we had an audience watching us play as they took as many photos as they could. It was such a hot day again so it was perfect sitting in the shade and drinking tea! We headed back to the hostel for dinner as they were holding a BBQ. So there was about 12 of us huddled round one table on tiny plastic stools cooking our own food which sounds dodgy reading back on it but it was actually pretty tasty and as far as I know nobody got sick! We headed out again that night and spent a couple of hours at KTV, and then went to a rooftop party. As we were arriving around 2am there were already people having to be carried out by their friends or passed out on the chairs, and we had to walk through a dark creepy cinema to get to the roof but it was all worth it…. well apart from the sick all over the mens toilet floor that had been treaded out. It was also Dragon Boat Festival this weekend so we had the Monday off school. Part of the tradition of this festival is to eat zhongzi, which is rice with a vegetable/something sweet inside wrapped in a leaf. It goes back to the origins of the festival where a man drowned in the river and so offerings of rice were given to him and wrapped in leaves so the fish couldn’t eat it first. So we also had the Monday off school for this festival πŸ™‚

This week, Cait and I have been teaching in Renee’s classes at the school where we live- so it’s been quite odd having 3 teachers in one classroom. Renee teaches Junior 1’s, Senior 1’s and Senior 2’s (so ages 13-16), and we only taught at a high school once before so we didn’t really know what to expect. Also the school has had foreign teachers before and their English level is much higher than the rural schools we’ve been teaching at, so I was worried the games we knew were too simple. So we decided to play Hangman, the dartboard game, and a different game where each person from each team has to write a word on the board which starts with the last letter of the last word; they were good at this so for the next round all the words had to be verbs.Β 
With the Junior classes on Wednesday we taught them All You Need Is Love by the Beatles. Wednesday was the 4th June which marks an anniversary in China, I won’t write what it is out here, but it was really cute singing that song with 60 oblivious Chinese pupils on a day like that πŸ™‚ We found out today that we have tomorrow off for some reason, so once again the weekend has started early! I’ve been getting all my things together that I’ll be travelling around with afterwards- I have a lot of crap! I’m travelling for 40 days afterwards, as I move out of my little apartment the Sunday after next- everything has come around so quickly 😦 It will be sad to leave Chengdu and the people I’ve met, but I’m starting to get really excited for seeing different parts of China before I fly home πŸ™‚

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