It has been two weeks in China and I can now say "Hello" "How are you" "That was delicious" and "I want 4 plates of dumplings"; just the essential phrases. It has been a pretty crazy week or so, but I'll try to do my best to remember everything.
A regular day for me starts by waking up at around 7, showering (a welcome addition to the routine after Bua), and eating breakfast with one or all of the members of my host family. Breakfast is usually something pretty substantial like a hearty portion of rice noodles and beef. I start walking to school at like 8 or so, the University (Kunming Nationalities University) is about a 20 minute walk away. We have chinese class every morning for an hour which basically consists of me trying to pronounce words that my mouth does not want to pronounce. After that we usually have a lecture or something in the morning, this morning was on China's economic growth, which was really interesting. We then work on media projects (if you havent checked out the media projects from Ecuador, go to thinkingbeyondborders.org and watch/listen/read them) or discuss readings from the book we are reading Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire which is an awesome philosophy on oppression and education. After that Zach, Noah, and I usually find some sort of dumpling place or fried rice stand and hang out until we start teaching.
I started teaching this past Friday with Alexandra. We taught classes again on monday and tuesday but the kids had exams the past three days, so we didnt teach. Trying to teach english has been interesting to say the least. Teaching 65 13 year old chinese kids has its challenges. We have been having them practice their english by talking to them about American culture and having them practice dialogues and quizzing them on what we teach them throughout the class. Some highlights include: All of the kids singing in unison "We Will Rock You" by Queen, One kid, after we explained Halloween, raised his hand and with a very serious look on his face said "This Holiday is bad." when asked why it was bad he stood up and said "Because it is so rude to go around and ask people for candy."
China has been really interesting, and also really challenging. The cultural and the language is so different from what I got used to even in Bua that every day there seems to be a new obstacle to overcome. Whether it is trying to explain to my host parents that I will not be home for dinner, something they dont really understand, or trying to get a cab to take you to where you want to go, there is always something. I'm having a blast though and I really love the teaching. I am also getting insanely good at ping pong; my host dad, Mr. Liu, insists that I play with him almost every day. Tomorrow Noah, Zach, and I are going with Zach's host brother to play Badminton (which is hugely popular here), and then playing basketball against him and his friends.