Monday, November 17, 2008

Kunming Pt. III

Sorry it's been a while since I've posted, things have been pretty crazy and I don't really know where to start, so I'll just work backwards.
Tonight was our last night in Kunming, I have just about finished packing and saying goodbye to my family. For our last night we had a big banquet type thing with all the host families of all the kids which was a ball. It was great to finally see all the host relatives that I had heard good stories about. My host dad, Mr. Liu, throughout the evening tried to set me up with the various members of our group, continuously pointing out that he thought "Alexandra keeps looking over here." and that he thought "Katie would make a good wife because she is playing with that child so much" and that he "Suggests I invite Liz over for dinner some day." He really never ceases to make me laugh.

Yesterday, on sunday, he insisted that I go on a tour of the city with him and their family friend, who makes me call him Chris, who speaks english. The total time spent was 6 hours, 1 temple, 1 provincial museum, one Kunming museum, one house of someone who was first in the national exam 100 years ago, one old military academy, one 100 year old restaurant with traditional Yunnan rice noodles, one park by a huge lake, 2 ancient pagodas, 5 bronze statues, one large university campus, one exhausted David. I had a ball just posing for pictures with Mr. Liu who insisted we take a photo together at least a couple times at each locale. Here are some of those pictures.

So, needless to say it was a pretty exciting day, capped off by my final dinner alone with my host family. The dinner was really fun, my host grandparents came over and one of my host brother's cousins. Here are a couple pics.
I guess the next thing working backwards was English corner. English corner happens every thursday in Kunming at this place called Green Lake Park. Hundreds of Chinese kids, college students, and adults who want to practice their oral english come together to speak english. As a native english speaker as soon as you show up to the place where they meet, you are immediately surrounded by at least 10 chinese people wanting to practice their english. This past thursday I even had this adorable 7 year old chinese girl whose english was much better than many of the other people their. As soon as she sees me she immediately goes "Why are your eyebrows..... why are your eyebrows.... so.... so.... so..." she tried to find the word and I helped to fill in the blank: "Big?" "Yes, so... so... big!" To which i responded "ummm, genetics...?" She continued to question me "Why is your hair.... umm... umm... black!" What do you say to that? I didnt really get a chance to respond when she goes "All americans hair is yellow, why is your hair black?!" I tried to explain that not all american's are blonde but she still didnt believe me. Her next question was "Do you like...sleep?!"
"Yes, I love to sleep."
She looked at me dumbfounded and goes "Then why are you awake?!"
Once again, what do you say to that, you can't make this stuff up.
After English corner Liz, Zach, and I skyped with a Montesori Middle School in Newburyport, MA which was awesome. They are doing a model UN later this year and are representing China, and they asked great questions and were really fun to talk to.
Teaching has been really fun in Kunming and I'm excited to try out my teaching skills in Sha Xi, where we are heading tomorrow. Alexandra and I got better and better at teaching our lesson plans towards the end of our time in the middle school. One class on thursday was so good that at the end when the bell rang for the end of the class we asked the class if we were done (which we were) to which the responded by yelling "Noo, we can go more, we don't want it to end." We eventually had to get to our next class but when we left the entire class mobbed us to get us to sign their english text books.
I can't think of anything else at the moment, as I am pretty tired and will go straight to bed after this, but China has been really fun so far. Really fun and really different. One of the questions we were asked on the skype call was "What has stood out as culturally different in China." Zach and I looked at each other and at the same time said "everything..." I'm definitely going to miss my host mother's dumplings, and playing ping pong everyday. It's almost sad that we are leaving Kunming right now because I feel like I'm just starting to get used to all the differences in our cultures. Anyway, hopefully I'll update everyone again soon.
One Love,
P.S. Thanks for the comments, I love hearing from everyone

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