This morning we were greeted by smiling Hangzhou children at the gate, “ Good morning, teachers,” followed by a salute. How cute is that? We proceeded upstairs noting a sign on the staircase, “Work breezily, play happily.” Children passed us saying their hellos and good mornings. Very genuine. Very sincere. Our children were seated at the “round table” and told us a bit about their experience so far (one night) with the host families. All is good. After a medicine call (no worries, just a couple of tums and a few allergy pills) the students followed us to the main playground or outdoor sport area. We saw students with red scarves marching behind a lead student carrying a sign indicating the grade and class number. There are about 6 classes in each grade from first through fifth and about 40-45 students in each of those classes. The marchers proceeded to the playground facing the school, all thousand or so of them.
We were presented with a song from two students. Then our ISTP faculty and students faced the Hangzhou children while Terry spoke and the Hangzhou representative spoke. The school’s representative children presented each of us with a calendar. (I also got a very special hug. The children at school are very interested in Carol and myself: a fair skinned, red-headed, young, Irish woman and a fair-skinned, white-haired Scandinavian/American woman, both speaking English. We feel like movie stars with all of the attention!) Applause, smiles, followed by marching off to class…literally.
Terry and Cindy went to Chinese and math classes while Carol and I went to a fine arts class and an English class. In the English class, our students were presenting (reading aloud) the model for the Hangzhou students to repeat. It’s a very impressive group once again.
After recess, we watched all of our students participate in a Chinese culture class. Pairs of host students from Hangzhou presented basically a “PowerPoint” presentation about the culture of this area: tea, dumplings, sticky rice, stinky tofu, etc. We had a taste test along the way. At the end of the session, the children painted Chinese characters.
Next day (I couldn’t send the blog last night as the Internet is very slow here and sometimes doesn’t cooperate at all.): The children are having such wonderful experiences here. All seem to be enjoying their host families. We checked in this morning as the children were going off to enjoy a mountain and then some shopping. Our students are paired, so each is looking after the other. We, the teachers, were given a special lunch: chicken feet and fruit. I am personally not to sure about this, but then Philippe Dietz had me try a duck’s tongue the other night, so I don’t think anything could top that at this point. Carol tried the duck’s blood in a fish broth, so I think the two fair-skinned people have been properly introduced to the unusual cuisine. Fortunately there are so many choices we have found some delightful dishes that are exceptionally delicious and unlike our Mings.
Over and out until the internet gods are with us once again!