Today, we went to the Chengdu College of Arts and Sciences once again! Today was much different weather than the last couple of days, which was nice for a change. With the wind and light rain, it felt like we were back in SF again. We got to the college and met with the local students once again for more activities and bonding. We played a series of games with the Chinese students to get to know them better. My favorite game was when two people were blindfolded and one was supposed to feed the other a banana. The third person of the group was supposed to direct the person holding the banana to get it into the other person’s mouth. This game was absolutely hilarious!! People were holding the banana wrong or putting it not in their partner’s mouth. It was so much fun playing this game as well as talking to the Chinese students and getting to know them. After multiple games with the Chinese students, we were given a tour of the calligraphy gallery at their school. We learned that there are four different types of calligraphy and it was wonderful to see the different types of calligraphy and to learn the history behind it.
After our calligraphy tour, we said goodbye to the local students and made our way to old town. Old town was gorgeous! There was a lot o greenery, cobblestone, and ancient architecture that was beautifully designed. We wandered along the river and the many paths that led all around old town. There were many little shops with traditional Chinese clothing as well as treats specific to the Sichuan province. It was interesting to see the difference between old Chengdu and new Chengdu, and how they have progressed from a small import/export town to a big city. I think that we all loved old town because we needed that quiet time to just wander around this serene area. It was a good break from the continuous hustle and bustle that the first couple week has been. It was truly a chance to sit back and enjoy the scenery for once. One thing that surprised me about China was that I have not been culture shocked yet. To be fair, we have only been in China for a few days. Something that has surprised me is that people keep mistaking me for a Chinese person who speaks Mandarin. So far, there have been at least five people who have attempted to speak Mandarin to me with absolute faith that I spoke the language. They always seem quite surprised to find out that I am American! Maybe I should start keeping count of how many people think I am Chinese haha!
- Jules B.
“At least I now know Kuai Ze means chopsticks!” -Shanti
“Doesn’t it mean spoon?”-Tommy
After a good nights rest from all the fun activities from yesterday we had another great breakfast at the hotel and then made our way to Manhui child-care institute. Today was our first day of teaching our lesson plans! We only had a small window of time so we mixed and matched our favorite activities with our teaching partner. From my lesson plan Angelica and I read the zodiac animals book and did the identification and charades activity along with making masks. And in Angelica’s lesson plan we played duck duck goose and the hula hoop game and closed it off with reading a book about sharing. During our time at the school we also played traditional Chinese games outside with the students, which included a game called rolling the hoop and other games we also play in the states like dodge ball and tug of war. After saying goodbye to the students we had an amazing lunch cooked for us by the school chef. We were then brought to the global mall, the biggest mall in the world by square feet. There is even a water park inside! We got to explore for an hour. In that hour Allie and I visited the water park and found an illusion magic art museum where we got to go into tilted rooms and take silly pictures. And at 3pm we loaded onto a bus and headed to our second hotel a little outside of central Chengdu.
So with that, we end our day 3 adventures in Chengdu China.
And for those invested.
Turns out Kuai Ze meant chopsticks all along :) Shanti
My pieces of clothing that were washed in the sink and are currently hanging on all different kinds of surfaces around my hotel room to dry.
The number of water bottles— when one of our cohort mentioned wanting to look for water— the students bought for each of us present at the time and refused to let us pay.
The number of squares on the magic box crafts the art class showed us how to make today at the Chengdu College of Arts & Science. Shanti and I fumbled through the construction process and the students helping us thought we were a couple.
The assortment of dishes prepared specifically for our cohort and faculty today at lunch, perpetuating the feelings of overwhelming gratitude and never-ending astonishment at how welcoming everyone has been thus far.
The number of dances we learned at the college today. They were a mixture of traditional dance and children’s songs. We ourselves ended up teaching them a few games from our childhood, such as Slide and Boom, Snap, CLAP!
The number of college students from the college that took some of us out tonight for hot pot, cultural and conversational exchange.
The approximate number of mosquito bites I can reach to itch.
The number of pictures that decorated a banner at the base of the college’s administration building— boasting the accomplishments and faces of Dr. Paik, Dr. Smith, and Dr. Duh!
The number of times today I’ve sat back and briefly, but intently, reflected on missing home, and thinking about my family and what it took for them to support me my whole life to get me— quite literally— to a point to be able to pursue higher education, go to SFSU and, by extension, be on this trip. This trip is for so much more than me. It is for my Dad who has worked virtually every day in construction since before I was in born till this day so that he can provide and help my sisters and I have access to more opportunities than he did. And it is for my Mom, who has sacrificed more than I believe anyone should for the people she loves.
The foundation. The reality. The singularity. The understanding I hold that everyday on this trip, I only get to 1 chance to do what I’m doing at that moment. This number is to remind me to not waste it, never take it for granted, accept that not every moment will be perfect and I will never always make the right decision, but to revel in that fact and remain persistent in the pursuit of something much bigger than myself or any combination of numbers on this list.
Woke up for the first time today in China to a brand new skyline. Took a moment to enjoy breakfast in this beautiful hotel that the school generously provided for us in Chengdu. We are all hard at work at our lesson plans today trying to get everything prepared to teach for the first time.
We felt so honored to arrive to a huge banner dedicated to us!
“ Social and emotional development.”
We finally got to meet the students and it was amazing! This is my face after all 300 plus students cheered when we entered the room. I've never felt so much excitement. I think this was the moment it set in for me that we are really teaching in china.
Even our students from SFSU couldn’t resist trying out the state of the art playground which features sand pits,
and a “graffiti wall,” which allows the children to create art outdoors.
The school has many amenities to facilitate learning such as “Obama the parrot “ who speaks both English, Mandarin, and the local dialect of Chengdu.
We broke into smaller groups and got to spend time getting to know all of the children. My classroom made dumplings for dinner. All of their food is local from their own farm, and the children work together each day to make a portion of their meals. I am looking forward to sharing our lesson plans with them tomorrow.
After an amazing day with the students we were brought to Shun Xing Tea House where we tried traditional Sichuan cuisine. These tasty desserts were mochi filled with cream.
During dinner we also had a show with many different performances. Here we see trick tea pouring.
Then for the grand finale we saw the traditional Sichuan Opera. All of the characters change masks so quickly its truly magic. What an amazing end to an amazing day! China really dazzled us all!
We have arrived in Hong Kong! We have spent the majority of today on a plane. First from SF to Hong Kong and then Hong Kong to Chengdu. As I write this, we are on the second flight. The first flight was exciting for the first few hours as we explored our entertainment options on the plane, talked with each other and snacked. We all did our best to push through and stay awake for the duration of the flight (14 hours). Half way through the first flight, we realized staying awake was getting harder and harder and we had to keep ourselves up. I spent most of my time watching movies, playing games and talking with the people around me. Every couple of hours we would check out where we were on the map. It was exciting finally seeing our plane make it all the way from San Francisco to Hong Kong! By the second flight, most of us gave in and slept. As forewarned our second flight was delayed an hour. During our short layover we ate food, talked about our worries for tomorrow and walked around the airport. We still have a small journey to get to Mianyang, but excited to be so close!
I’d like to end this post by wishing my mom and Angie a Happy Birthday ! 💕 Elda
Today we fly out to China! Many of us could hardly sleep last night in anticipation for our flight today, I know I couldn’t. Much of last night and this morning was spent stressing about the lesson plans, last minute packing, and trying to spend as much time as I could with my loved ones before leaving. Leaving the people I care about most was hard, but I know we will have a great time and will come back with many stories to tell!
I think everyone was still feeling a mix of emotions this morning, but I know I definitely felt more excited the closer we got to getting on the plane. Meeting up with everyone at the airport only made me feel more excited. I feel so lucky to be able to travel with such a wonderful group of people!
The plane ride has been pretty relaxing so far, there are plenty of movies and games to keep us entertained for our 14 hour flight. I think this is a great way to keep calm before all of the excitement of China. Even sitting on the plane knowing we’re only hours away from landing in a completely different country, it still feels so surreal. I still can’t believe we will be in China for an entire month, but I look forward to what this trip has in store for all of us!
It’s unbelievable to think that in less than 24 hours I will be on my way to China-a brand new place that I get to explore and make a difference in with a cohort of amazing people. We are very fortunate to have been able to be taught a class by Dr. Paik and Dr. Smith and build relationships with each other as we prepare for the journey. When I texted our “Homies” group message on WeChat asking about their thoughts, some words to describe our feelings for this day include anxious, nervous, excited, bittersweet and sad about leaving friends and families, frantic, eager, and all sorts of other emotions. Some of us are feeling ready, some not as much, and some are right in the middle. Today has been full of making sure that everything is packed and ready for our departure in the morning. This past semester has been full of learning about a beautiful culture and language, building friendships, lesson plans, and much more memories. Looking forward to incorporating everything we’ve learned and worked so hard for with all the kids in Chengdu as well as discover new places, food, people and sights with everyone. China, here we come.
P.S. Shout out to Ben for lending me a book! We’ll all miss you.