Sunday, 7 September 2008

A Day in the Park

Yeesh! I miss a day or two because I'm very busy and important and SOME people start freaking out. Here I was thinking I was being boring by posting so often. Anyway, I have a lot to talk about so this entry will probably be much too long.
So first off, I ended up going to that play with Xeno and Jane, two Chinese teachers from my office. We got a bit lost on the way, but still got there early enough to get front row seats. I enjoyed the play and could understand a good amount of it. Xeno was trying to translate for me in the beginning, but I told her it was ok. I didn't want her to have to do that for the whole play and I wanted to try and figure it out for myself. It was about a married couple and their mothers. The man was from northern China and the girl was from Shanghai. The boy's mother was very traditional and frugal. She wanted the girl to help with the housework and wanted them to have children. The girls mother was very rich and high fashion. Everyone butted heads a lot. There were pieces of the play I understood perfectly. But then there were parts where I was completely lost and asked Xeno about afterwards. It was a fun evening. But Saturday was even better!
Guess what I found? NATURE!!!
This Saturday, Lucy invited me to hang out with a bunch of her friends. For a while it looked like it was going to be canceled because the weather has been bad recently, but it turned out to be a lovely day. We all met in front of the Science and Technology museum and walked a short walk to Century Park. Now I know where I can go if I need some nature. It's about a 20 minute bus ride away and I have to pay to get in, but hey. It's nature.
This is a picture of me and Lucy. I realized yesterday that other than relatives, I have been friends and kept in touch with her longer than anyone. Also, I am wearing the new bag that I bought in the sports store.
I can't remember everyone's name, but it was a LOT of fun. I am so glad I brought my camera. We had a ton of fun taking pictures. Mostly involving us jumping.Here is everyone except WeiXi.
Here is everyone except Weixi doing various Olympic sport poses. I am doing a terrible job at portraying basketball.
This is everyone preparing to roll down the hill all together. I opted out since the ground was wet.
We walked around the park for a bit before sitting on plastic and newspaper in the grass and eating snacks. We ended up playing Mafia, and they were surprised I knew the game. I ended up being the judge. Then I taught everyone how to play "Never Have I Ever". They seemed to like it. After that was when we started taking a ton of pictures.
We walked around some more (Lucy and I were singing a lot as we walked around) until we got to the lake edge. Then there was some dancing and fooling around. One of the last things we did in the park was stand in a circle and took turns dancing in the middle.
After leaving the park, Lucy and Weixi left because they were tired, but the others invited me to go get hotpot for dinner. I was having such a good time that I went. After a little confusion about where to go, we got to the restaurant. This hot pot was different from the other times I've had hotpot. Instead of a bowl over fire or some coals, it was the bowl of spiced broth with the coals in a fluted bowl in the center.
One of the boys ran outside to get lamb barbecue as an appetizer, then the food and beer showed up and we started to eat. It was very good. We played a few drinking games. One was 007. You pointed at a person at the table and said "ling" (chinese for zero), then that person pointed to another and said "ling", then that person pointed to one more person and said "qi" (chinese for 7). THAT person was supposed to stay still and look composed while the two people next to them mimed jumping away. There was another similar game where you did the same thing except said "huai" "dao" and "quan" (meaning boat), and the last person pointed at was supposed to salute while the two people next to them mime rowing and say "heipa heipa heipa" (or something like that. I forget). And if anyone in the whole routine messes up, you have to drink. What got confusing was when you played both games at the same time. People couldn't remember if you were supposed to salute or just sit there or row or what. We also played "Never have I ever" as a drinking game for a while.
Another drinking game involved slapping the table and clapping (in the "we will rock you" rhythm). Each person had a move or gesture that represented them. One of the ones I used was the "i'm so adorable" fingers in your dimples face. You had to do your gesture, then do the gesture of someone else to pass it on, all the while not messing up the clapping or waiting too long to make a gesture. If no one was making a mistake it got faster and faster. During one very long round of the game that got impossibly fast, one girl ended up just pointing to the person she wanted to pass it to, completely forgetting to make a gesture. It was hilarious.
We also said what we would do if we had 5 million RMB (yuan). Everyone else said their answer in English for my sake. I ended up going last and I said my answer in Chinese. I said I would buy my parents a boat, then I would buy myself a car, then I would travel to England, Italy, and Australia. They all clapped and laughed.
All in all it was a really good day. They said I was invited whenever they decided to have another outing like that. I still miss people from home A LOT, but yesterday felt so normal. It was nice to just hang out and relax with some people.
I'm still frustrated when it comes to my Chinese. Everyone I was hanging out with yesterday had much better English than I do Chinese. I think my listening is getting a bit better because I'm surrounded with Chinese so often nowadays, but I'm still so nervous when it comes to speaking it. Ah well. Nothing better than practicing I suppose.
I'm still drudging through my letters. Still freaking out about classes even though things are going well so far. Still feel lonely when I'm in my apartment (which seems like way too often). Still can't imagine how I am going to be able to keep these kids learning for a whole year. Still feeling a bit overwhelmed. Still have a messed up sleep schedule....but yesterday was a good day. And if I keep having good days, then the hard things will seem easier.Here is one last picture of Lucy and WeiXi jumping, just cuz I like it so much.

Much love,
Stephanie

3 comments:

kimmieb said...

love the pictures and the story of your outing :)

if my mom were here i would totally have her give you things to do with the kids because she was an amazing ESL teacher. she hated textbooks and used activities that pertained to life so her students loved that. side note: one of her students back in the day spoke only korean and she pretty much single-handedly taught him english without knowing a word of korean. maybe that will give you a little inspiration :)

Cori said...

SEEEE I told you everything would end up well :) Never disagree with me, I am always right. Now at the end of the year we are going to have to tie you up and drag you home I guess

p.s. yaaaay nature!

Bonnie said...

heyyyyy,
completely unrelated to your post: I'm listening to Stop the Train by John Mayer and thinking of you and last year. Sheesh, songs really do that ya!

p.s. your day at the park looked like a lot of fun