Monday was our “when I grow up/ career exploration” day, we had Daniel and Megan present and talk about their jobs, we then had the kids play career charades. It was really funny seeing them trying to guess the careers; they kept saying the careers in Chinese and forgetting the English. When we had class we had a whole bunch of students come in to test the camp and to see if their parents like the school. So we had about and extra 8ish kids there, so we did a “Jig Hello” so that we could get every ones names, after that we played a adjective game, where we would put three adjectives on the board and then they would have to guess what it was describing. After that, we did a listening activity were we read a story that I had wrote in a few seconds and then had them answer some questions that related to the story. Lastly, we had a question game where they had to give each other a question (not answering them), and if they don’t have a question created in ten seconds they’re out. That game was actually really fun, and the kids did an awesome job at it. BeBe asked one of the girls, “Are you fat?” everyone that understood the question snickered.
For the afternoon we did science experiments and we did the “cleaning pennies” experiment and then we did the “gas coming from vinegar and baking soda” experiment. We also tried doing the experiment with the boiled egg going into the bottle, but they got a plastic bottle and we had to try and burn news paper and stick it in the bottle, but overall it didn’t really work. For the last activity of the day we had the students create a story about their dream job, and they were all really good, and one of the older boys, David, wrote a story about being a model and the becoming a banker then becoming bankrupt and going back to modeling. It was a very well written story that made a lot of people laugh.
Later that night we went to a Chinese spa, which is basically a huge hot tub with a lot of shooting water things, some of them hurt and some of them were actually really nice. Oh, another China fact, when you go to a pool or anything, there are no changing rooms, so you have to change in the open, luckily I found a bathroom and carefully changed in the stalls. Since there are no changing rooms, everyone is naked, so we saw a lot that day, and more than I would like to admit. Also in China they wear swim caps when they go swimming so when we didn’t have one, they were all shocked and a little disgusted. Also they don’t use a towel to dry off; they use a sauna to get them dry. Once we came home we were all pretty exhausted so we went to bed, and we all slept safe and sound.
Tuesday was a nice day, “read-a-thon day”. We basically didn’t do anything because it was just the kids reading all day, but we did do some fun stuff. In the morning we did the mannequin challenge and even thought it took an hour to get everyone posed and situated, it was super fun. We were able to get it done in like 6 shoots, and in the end it was really cool. When we finished we had Nita read some stories to the kids and then we had the kids read themselves, silently.
After lunch they continued to read and then we had dance class and we taught them the ‘whip and nae nae’. After dance our little kids weren’t reading so Nita grabbed all of them and started reading to them again, I asked if I could help but she said that she didn’t need help, so I just laid on the floor and enjoyed the moment with the students. Not sure it was a good idea because once I laid down, some of the kids, mostly the girls, came and laid down by me. The whole time I was fighting not to fall asleep, and I felt really bad about it.
After all that reading we had the kids write about the book they read or the stories they heard, and that was literally all we did for school that day. For the afternoon we went to a place they consider a “cheep mall” but it was closed so we walked around in the cold, jumping into little shops here and there to get warm. We stopped at this bakery and I got some snacks to eat. After some time flew by, we finally got picked up by James and Mr. Jing, the head guy of Star Outlook, and Mr. Jing took us to a Korean BBQ. A Korean BBQ is basically a pot that is put in the middle of the table one side that had soup that is spicy and the other non-spicy, and then you get dishes of raw meat or vegetables and you put them into the sides and then eat. It so delicious:D After dinner we came home and I really can’t remember I think I just came home and wrote a little but then fell asleep on my computer.
Wednesday was all about hobbies, so we had Caitlyn talk about different hobbies and then we had the kids go out on a photo scavenger hunt. I was put in charge of the afternoon activity so when they were doing their scavenger hunts, I was working on a power point presentation. The only sad part was, my computer froze and I hadn’t saved my presentation yet, so during lunch I had to re-do the entire slide. Luckily I was able to call my mom and talk to her and my sister during that time period. When everyone came back from lunch Nita tried teaching them “Let It Go” from Frozen and that really didn’t work well. Then it was my turn and I talked about photography and showed them different types and then we did class pictures and individual pictures. I felt bad because I had barrowed one of the other girl’s camera and I didn’t know everything about the camera so the pictures weren’t that great. After that we had P.E. I spent most of my time trying to make Winnine happy because he was upset that he got his phone taken away, but slowly I got him to cheer up and join his classmates in P.E. I also helped Selina out because Jack said some mean words to her that made her cry, but slowly I got her back in the game. I almost felt like a nurse, making the kids feel better, it was also a little difficult because the other American teachers were just leaving it alone, so I felt like it was just me and the Chinese teacher helpers making the upset kids happy again.
Right when school ended, we went and ate dinner at this little cute restaurant, and then I ended up going home because I wasn’t feeling good and everyone else went to some show and walked around. So when I was by myself I just worked on my blog and talked to my parents for a little. Everyone came home and they said they had so much fun. I was watching some show and Nita and Arianna sat down with me and we watched a couple episodes of Stitched and then headed off to bed.
Thursday was a very festive day (wink wink) because we learned all about holidays, and festivities. So when we arrived at the school, we walked into the conference room, the front of the room was set up like an actual conference meeting…. short notice surprise, we were being filmed for a commercial for “Star Outlook”. It was all six of us teachers, and Megan, Daniel, and Alex, he’s from Britain, he’s 24 and he lives here in China and I guess somewhat works for star outlook, I’m not sure. Anyways, they had us look like we were answering questions and we had to look like we were laughing at each others responses. So they had us sit down and they placed Alex next to me (talk about awkward), I didn’t say anything, just nodded my head to say hello.
First questioning was for Katy, and she got asked about her favorite finger, so she said middle finger, hoping that would kick up some laughs but it was so awkwardly quiet, I laughed a little, but it was still very quite. Next was Alex, he got asked the same question, and he said his little finger because it reminds him of tea. Next my name was said and I thought I was going to be asked about my favorite finger but instead I got asked why my hair was the color yellow. I could feel my eyes enlarge as to how to make my response funny, but what came out was… “Genetics” and that folks, that’s just who I am, it was a really dumb answer. Then Megan got asked why she was so tall, so ya, the whole time we were fake laughing, so gangan (Chinese for awkward). So after that, the kids headed upstairs because they were going to record Alex teaching the kids and so the six of us finished our breakfast and then set the room back to normal.
When the kids got back the first activity we did was a holiday game. Megan had the students get on their phones and go to this website; BeBe used my phone which took a long time. They had so much fun with it. After the game, we had the kids get together in groups and create their own holiday, one group had a “Money Day”, were you have to wear clothes of money and if not, you get punched. Restaurants have to have money in their food; also everything is free, haha, if only. After that we had them make these heart holder things and we had the kids make valentines for everyone, and that took us all the way to lunch. After lunch Meagan Whitlock did art, she showed them different art videos and then had them do their own art project. She did this art game where you pass around a paper and you draw on it for only a little bit then pass it to someone else. After that she had them do their own Easter eggs, and then a hand turkey, then they had to create a heart card and write a letter to someone inside the heart. By the time they finished school was almost over so for the last ten minutes we had them pick a song to create a music video, and the verdict was ‘Baby’ by Justin Beiber.
Once school was over we went and ate at our usual Chinese food place, and then we headed to massage!!!!! So at the massage place we were given these pink tops and bottoms and I was in a room with Arianna and Caitlyn. They put on this Chinese movie and it was really weird because it was a mixture of Chinese and English, and really hard to follow. So Arianna and Caitlyn were given their massages before me so I spent the first 30 minutes just watching them get massaged and trying to understand what was happening on in the movie. However, I did practice my Chinese and talked a little with them, we had about a 2 minute conversation but it was pretty good. There was another guy that came in and he was my masseuse, I asked him (in Chinese of course) if he knew any English, and he said “no”. So I asked him his name but I don’t quite remember it, and then I asked how old he was and he answered “24”. The massage felt really nice, but I am definitely ticklish, so I was biting my lip trying not to move to much and to stop me from laughing to loud. The massage was only 50 minutes but it was much needed, so much so that that night was a great night’s sleep.
Friday came by so fast, and it was our last day of camp. Our breakfast was late so we started late and then we had the kids go upstairs to their classrooms and we wrote letters for an hour. While we were writing, Daniel came around and grabbed some teachers to record some stuff for the commercial. He had Mary and I go into the recording studio and I was pretending to teach Mary how to play the ukulele. After that we went down stairs and we had the kids practice their dance, ‘Whip Nae Nae’, and their song, ‘Row Your Boat’, and then their skit, ‘The Bus’. Then for the rest of the day they worked on the music video for ‘Baby’ by Justin Beiber (See first video below). When we came back from lunch we finished the video and then we had the parents come at 4pm and the kids put on a small production for their parents. Then we had home stays!!!!!!
So Caitlyn and I went home with David, one of the older students. During the car ride David’s Dad was telling us how he was going to send David to a school in America for high school and he started talking about a school in Arizona in Scottsdale, and I was trying to think of what school he was talking about, so I asked if he was talking about BASIS. I have never seen anyone’s eyes light up so much. I explained that I go to BASIS Mesa, which is a branch off of BASIS Scottsdale, and I could tell that he had so many questions but didn’t know how to ask them in English.
We went to David’s mother’s work to pick her up, her office was really nice and she gave us some flower tea, and while we were there the dad called his friend, who speaks really good English and who lived in New Jersey, and handed me the phone to answer questions the dad had about BASIS, and I tried to answer them as best as possible. Once that ended, we headed off to eat, and I was starving. So that night they decided to take us to an American style restaurant, when we got there, people were staring at us was so much (we can be such an attraction) so they decided to go into a closed room. The dad handed us the menu, basically telling us to choose what to eat, we probably had the menu for about ten minutes, the waiter, Chris, was trying to help us, but we are both indecisive people so it was very difficult. We finally came to the consensus of mini baked potatoes and an Italian pizza, and then handed the menu to the parents. When the food started coming out, we realized that the parents ordered a ton of food. We had steak, salad, our potatoes, two different types of pizza, BBQ meat sticks, shrimp balls, fries, meat roll things, hot dogs, and we each got a non-alcoholic drink. There was also this really good bead thing. It was a block of fluffy bread that tasted like ginger bread; with a scope of vanilla ice cream on top….so good!!! While we were eating Chris came in and asked for our WeChat and so we gave it to him. Another thing about China…people will ask you for your contact info via WeChat, but then do nothing with it. WeChat is a free messaging & calling app that allows you to easily connect with family & friends across countries and most everyone uses it here in China. This is how I am able to keep in contact with my parents back home without breaking the bank!
After diner we headed to their house and it was nice…so nice it’s hard to even create the words to explain it, at least I took a video of it so you all can see if for your selves (still doesn’t do it justice but WOW). David ended up giving us some of his favorite yogurt, he called it sour milk at first, and it was a really funny moment (you had to be there). Everyone was pretty tired so they said sleep time, and went to bed. Caitlyn and I stayed up till like 1am talking to family and each other. When we woke up Caitlyn started laughing because I was right in the middle of the bed and really close to her. When she faced time her boyfriend she told him that I was almost basically cuddling with her, hahahaha, I told her that I just gravitate towards warm bodies, we both laughed about it.
When morning came it was 8am, so we went out and had breakfast and then gave the family our gifts, they also gave us a gift (Chinese tradition-gift giving), it was a beautiful calligraphy painting their friend did. After breakfast they set us in front of the TV, and put on Lady Gaga and Beyonce music videos, I ended up walking away because I couldn’t handle the videos (just not my thing). Not soon after, David’s English teacher, Chris, walked in, and the first thing he said was, “What’s up girls, how’s it going?” We were both surprised on how good his English was. When we sat down he asked us some questions about ourselves, he already knew our age and that Caitlyn had a boyfriend, and that she danced because David had told him that she taught dance at the camp. Caitlyn names off a few types of dance that she did, then said that she does a little bit of everything. He asked Jazz, explaining that it was a very sexy dance, and then looked at me and said that if I didn’t do Jazz, that that was probably the reason I didn’t have a boyfriend, I can’t tell you how red my face got. For the next hour David’s dad asked some more questions through Chris about schools in America. Then around 11ish some of David’s extended family came to the house, and we took some pictures and then headed out for lunch. For lunch we had “Hot Pot”, so much food. Hot Pot is consisting of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table, and several meats, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings, and seafood’s sitting around it. Food is both cooked and served at the table. Meat is thinly sliced and takes about 15 to 30 seconds to cook. The cooked food is usually eaten some kind of dipping sauce.
As lunch was coming to an end the family kept having us try the new things that were coming out, even though we were full we still kept eating, Chris even made a comment on how much we ate. So some of the memorable moments of lunch was one, they brought out a thing of shrimp, alive shrimp on ice, when it first came out David tried to be nice and pull one out to ask if I wanted to eat it, but before I could say anything it fell into my hot pot, and then to make it even more enjoyable a bunch of them came jumping out off the container they were in at me, causing sauce to fly everywhere, and a small squeal to come out of me and also Caitlyn. I gave Caitlyn the shrimp that fell into my pot, not only because I’m not a fan of shrimp but also because I couldn’t face the fact that it was alive and that you would have to watch it suffer and die before you put it in a pot of boiling death. Another memorable moment was when we were done with lunch, David’s mom said her thanks in Chinese, having Chris and David translate for her, and she said that she was really grateful that we stayed with them and that if we ever need anything that we should not hesitate to ask, even if we were looking for a boyfriend, and when she said that last part everyone looked at me, and Chris said that he had a lot of good looking single friends, it felt so awkward for some reason. When lunch was done they dropped Caitlyn and I off at the School and we then walked over to Daniel’s to pick up my key to my apartment. So I was the first one home, and I had the whole place to myself, I watched some movies and TV, but I had to go out and buy a phone cord because mine broke, then Daniel and Megan invited me over to eat dinner with them and watch ‘Arrival’ with them. By the time I came home it was ten so I read for a little then headed off to bed.
Sunday, I woke up and headed over to Daniel and Megan’s to do laundry and have Church. Church was actually pretty awesome because it was a Skype call with everyone that was in China. There was a lady, Sis. Sugar, that gave a talk on kindness, talking about how kindness was a necessity, that “no act of kindness is ever wasted”. She tied kindness to honeybees, saying that honeybees have a natural instinct, which is like the act of kindness, and that because of this natural instinct honey is made, the sweetness and good that comes from being kind. It was a really good talk, and it was something that I needed to hear. Soon after that my load of laundry finished and Megan came home from her home stay, so I put my wet clothes in my bag and headed back to the apartment with her, but then she quickly left because she had to go, so I was alone…. again. I didn’t have any food so I had to go out and buy some food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I watched some movies, danced around the apartment, cleaned some things, then Katy and Megan came back and showed me the stuff they got, then they left to go do some laundry at Daniel’s. So I started writing and then a couple of hours later Nita and Arianna came home from their home stay. Megan and Katy came back from doing laundry and everyone was tired so they got ready for bed, and went to bed to rest because the days that are to come are going to be an adventure in and of its self.