So much to do, so little time 繁忙繁忙

Since I went to bed at 2am I woke up at 11am on Monday. Luckily, Monday was our day off and it was moving day for Nita and I; we were going to be moving in with Caitlyn. As soon as I woke up, I packed up all my belongings, picked up trash, took a shower and then chilled waiting for Caitlyn to give us the go ahead for us to move our stuff over to the new apartment. While we waited we grabbed some lunch, and decided to go to our favorite noodle place because it was only eight yuan for a bowl. Score. It was really funny because even before we got through the door the guy looked at us and put up two fingers, we nodded and gave him the proper amount of money and then we got our noodles, we didn’t have to even use words, it was pretty fantastic. After lunch, we headed back to our apartment and watch “I-Frankenstein”, and also “BFG”, which was a super cute movie. We then got the go ahead to come over, it took two trips to get all of our stuff over, once at Caitlyn’s, we unpacked and made ourselves at home. We then went back to our old apartment and grabbed all the blankets and pillows. I couldn’t stop laughing when we carried everything over to the new place because here were these two white girls carrying huge white blanket bundles, one had pillows in it and the other bundle was just a pile of blankets. All of which accounted for 9 pillows and 9 blankets, it was quite the sight.  After we dropped those off we made our way to SMS, which it is the local grocery store, and got some food for the week. We took our grocery bags home and went out to go eat dinner. We decided to go to this local dumpling restaurant that’s really good. When we got there, they handed us a paper that had the entire menu on it with the English translation. People here are absolutely the nicest; I know that is one of the things I will miss when I return home in a few weeks. After dinner we returned home and retired to bed.

Tuesday Caitlyn and I had to be up and out of bed, ready, and out the door by 7:30am because we were going to teach 10th grade at new location. The drive was an hour long to the school. Yao, who is the organizer and master of schedules, drove with us to the school, and I literally slept for the entire drive. On Tuesday I taught three classes. Each class has about 50-60 students, so I have a lot of students that I see, teach and hopefully leave a lasting impression. Class was about introductions, so I shared a power point about myself and then had the kids answer questions about themselves, and then we used our English and played games. It actually is a little weird because some of them were eighteen…. as in 18 years old. The classes range from 16 to 18 years old, the funny part about teaching this class was when they asked about my age, they all freaked out because I’m not that much older. Side note- another common question I get asked (kid you not, I frequently get asked) was if I had a boyfriend; they are all a little obsessed with the dating realm here, haha. So each class is 40 minutes, we start at 8:40am and go to 12 (noon). For lunch, Yao took us out at this restaurant across from the school, which was pretty good. When we got back, we had to have a meeting with Daniel about the week to come because he and his wife were leaving to Tahiti (visa restrictions and they have to leave every few months). After that we went to Spar, a Chinese Wal-Mart on steroids, and got some “cook-able” foods and living items… like bedding (you can never have too much bedding). This place was massive and it had two stories. The best part of the entire store was the escalator; it was flat so that you could take your cart upstairs with you… so awesome. We took a taxi and went home and chilled the rest of the night.

Wednesday was a little like Tuesday, except we had to wake up, get dressed and be out by 6:30am, and instead of 3 classes we had 4. The classes were exactly like Tuesday; we did an introduction lesson, where I introduced myself and then had them do an activity to emphasize English learning. Oh, and I forgot to mention it before but when I talked about how small my high school was they were shocked, and even more shocked when I showed them a picture of my Mandarin teacher (the amazing Mrs. Treptow) and I said that I have been learning Chinese for four years. They would look at me like I wasn’t real, and then a student would ask me to say something in Chinese, and I would say how I can speak it but how it’s difficult to understand and they would all clap, lol. It’s such an amusing reaction.  Once classes were finished, Yao told us to meet him by the exit of the school so we could all head out for lunch. When the bell rang we were still standing by the gate to the school and it was funny to see the students all come out and freak out to see us standing there. They all gathered around us wanting to talk to us, luckily Yao found us through the crowd of kids and off we went to lunch. For lunch Yao took us to the same place as the previous day and we both tried some different foods that we hadn’t had before. This day ran very similar to Tuesday, and when we finally got home, I had to take a small nap because I was beyond exhausted.

I had to wake up again a bit later because I was going to go to another school, this time a middle school to teach a public speaking elective class. On the way there all the Chinese workers were freaking out and being all stressed with regard to the school assignment, making Nita and myself stressed…. a little. They were making this class seem like it was going to be the end of the world if things didn’t go as they wanted or planned. After teaching both classes which were 40 minutes each, I grew to love the kids because the kids there are absolutely amazing in every way. They want to be there and want to learn, which makes it a lot easier to teach and have them engaged. So class was about introducing one’s self, so I shared my power point about myself  and then had the kids introduce themselves,  I then had them take a test so I could gauge their English skills. They were all so amazing; I can’t explain how excited I am to teach them again. After that teaching assignment, it was late so we got dropped off at home. I was really tired so I went to bed.

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Thursday I was woken up at 5 am by Caitlyn because she was super sick, couldn’t talk, overheating and constantly coughing. Since she was so sick, I went and subbed for her at the college, and if I’m going to be real, I’m not a fan of teaching college students, they just don’t listen and you can totally tell that they don’t want to be there…it was so much fun (total sarcasm). After a grueling time trying to teach both classes, I had to hail a taxi to get back to the center by myself, luckily Alex was there and he gave me his taxi and spoke to the driver for me. Whew. I had the address on a slip of paper of where I needed to go, so I just showed it to him and off we went. On the way, the driver called his friend to tell him he had a pretty white girl in his taxi, it suddenly became awkwardly silent, he tried talking to me but in Chinese but I told him I couldn’t understand what he was saying. We literally just sat for like two minutes in silence…unbelievably awkward and so to break the silence I ended up formulating a question about music in Chinese so that he would turn on the radio. I guess he wasn’t expecting that to come out of my mouth because his eyes suddenly became big and he began to talk so quickly, and I’m guessing it was something along the line of, I thought you didn’t understand but you just spoke Chinese. In Chinese I explained that I could speak a little but I could not understand fully when others speak to me. Finally he dropped me off at the center where I was able to work on some stuff and sent off some important emails to my mom and then headed home and chilled the rest of night.

Friday we came into the center at 9:30am and sat around (literally) doing what we wanted, giving me time to work on my senior project, catch up on seminary and read. We did however plan for what was to come Saturday and Sunday, which was an afternoon of English camp kind of a deal for kids to better their English skills. Fortunately I didn’t have to plan much because I was already doing an AE class (an extracurricular class like dance, art, and/or music) so my time wasn’t spent on having to work on prep materials …bonus! So ya, Alex came in to help Caitlyn with teaching the A1 class (beginners English) or at least to practice teaching the lesson. After lunch Alex had Caitlyn do a practice lesson with our Chinese coworkers, and then we all headed to an elementary school to teach “public speaking”. When we arrived they had an opening ceremony where they talked a lot and had us come up and share a little bit about ourselves. They then gave us gifts and we were assigned to our classes. I was assigned to third graders. As they took the kids to class they had us stay back to take pictures with the head master, and important people. After that, we only had 15 minutes to teach, so I just shared a little about myself and then took pictures with the kids, they are very crazy, but so fun. After class we headed out, but there was a little confusion as to where everyone was so that took some extra time, we ended up finding everyone and started heading out. Mr. Jin decided to put his jacket on me as we walked outside of the school, it was a little weird but I acted like it was nothing. Our way home was what I call an adventure in and of itself. So Mr. Jin took Nita, Caitlyn, and I home, and he LOVES American music, even though he cannot understand it. His favorite song to listen to is ‘Casablanca’, he made sure we paid attention to the song and were quiet; he shushed us to make sure we were listening. We also listened to ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ form Lion King, and Sia, and just random 80’s songs. We finished off the night listening to ‘Unchained Melody’ from the movie “Ghost” and as we listen to this song Mr. Jin decided to turn around in the middle of the road and drive the wrong way, there is a video to show this, the arrows are clearly marked going the other direction. Just to let you all know I’m laughing quite hysterically as I write this, definitely something I will remember for a long time. We did make it home safely so no worries, thank goodness. We ended up staying up all night just talking went to bed around 11, 12 ish….late.

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Saturday Nita and I had the opportunity to go to an English competition and judge a group of 18 kindergartners. They were soooooooo CUTE. It was hard judging them because you knew how hard they were trying and you didn’t want to give them a bad score. There was this one girl, and she was wearing full on makeup, she had bright pink eye shadow and bright lip gloss, and ended up doing surprisingly well.  We did have two kids who ran off stage and started crying because they forgot what to say/ do. I ended up going to them and I gave them a candy, and I did try to cheer them up but they were so distraught, I don’t think it mattered. After the competition we came home and took a break and then headed to the center to do our afternoon English camp. So for this weekend I taught dance, I taught them the “Whip Nae Nae”, “Macarena”, “Cha Cha Slide”, “Chicken Dance”, “Cupid Shuffle”, and “Cotton Eye Joe”. They were all really good and had a ton of fun. I only had to teach three dance classes, so it wasn’t too bad and I really enjoyed myself. After the kids went home we started to head home as well, however Nita wanted to stop and get food. She said she would pay 20 yuan worth of food if we went with her. How could I refuse? Free Food. After dinner we wandered around going into some small shops, I was tired and so the girls handed me all the bags and I went home to drop them off and put the ice cream in the freezer, while they went to our dumpling place and ordered food. The food was of course delicious! Once we were all at home, we wanted to veg-out and began to watch “The Secret of Kells”, but then my mom called so I talked to her for forever and went to bed.

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Sunday I was finally able to sleep in and work on things I needed to catch up on. I got up and called my mother and talked for a while and she was at a school dance (Basis Mesa Spring Formal) helping my dad DJ. So I got to see the young’uns at my school all dressed up in their formal attire, super cool. After that I took a shower and headed over to Daniel’s to do laundry; however, their water was not working so I had to take my clothes out of the washer, which already had soap on them and head home to wash them. After rinsing all the soap off of my clothes and hanging them up to dry (remember, no dryers here), I graded some of the tests I had given to the students Wednesday night and then headed to the center to teach dance again for the afternoon English camp. It went well, I assist with another class where I help a boy named Henry learn how to read and comprehend what he reads, and then I have to run and teach another dance class. So ya, not much but it was fun and busy. After class we went home and made some grilled cheese, spaghetti, and hot chocolate, and had time to finish “The Secret of Kells”, and then headed to bed. I was actually excited to sleep because Monday was my day off!

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