Journey to China (Part 1)
Insomnia Sep 23, 2010
My experiences in China
1 of 1
In eighth grade, I went on a school field trip to China. I went to a Chinese immersion school from kindergarten through eighth grade and it was the last field trip before graduating. Even though it was a public school, they were over funded and felt it was reasonable to go to China for two weeks. I excitedly planned for the trip not knowing at all what to expect. When I first arrived at the airport, I was still in shock. Was I really going halfway across the word with a huge group of 70 friends I had known for nine years?
It seemed so crazy to be going to a place so foreign and far from where I had spent my whole life. I got on the plane in the morning. The plane ride was over twelve hours long. All my friends and I were too excited to sleep. We got there in the morning the next day but I still wasnít tired. When I first got off the plane, all I could smell was cigarette smoke and when I went out on the street I noticed everywhere smelled like cigarette smoke. It was gross.
First, I went to a school in Beijing where I met my host family who I was to stay with for a week. The daughterís name was Vikki. She was very shy and quiet but her mom was sweet. On my way to dinner with the family, I began to speak with them in Mandarin. Beforehand, I thought my Chinese was alright but I realized that even though I spoke fluent Cantonese my Mandarin was crap!
I tried to communicate with the family and luckily they spoke some English. It didnít take much time to notice how different their culture was from Americaís. At dinner I got offered some wine; but then they realized I was American and it was illegal and they knew it wasnít going to be approved by the teachers. I tried talking to the daughter but she was quiet and on her phone the whole time texting so I ended up talking the mother and grandmother.
Because of jetlag it was hard to adjust. I didnít sleep until 4 in the morning the first night and I had to wake up by 5am for school. I thought it was very unfair that even though it was a school field trip I had to go to school; but school turned out to be pretty interesting. One of my classes was about tea drinking etiquette. They showed how to pour the tea and the traditional ways of serving it. Another interesting class I had was tai chi. Sadly, the homework sucked. It was very tedious. I had to draw the exact moves and techniques, play by play, from tai chi class. For the tea class, I had to take extremely detailed notes so I wasnít able to fully enjoy it. The class I found most amusing was their English class. The teachers didnít speak fluent English and the class was taught through audio tapes that were made in Australia so the students spoke broken English in an Australian accent!
In Chinese history class, I was very absorbed in the material until I looked out the window. The sky was an ugly, dark, olive green color. I stared in shock. I pointed it out to all my friends and eventually everyone was crowded around the classroom window. The native students from the class were puzzled as to why all the American students were looking out the window in disbelief. They told my friends and I that the sky turns green every time before it rains because of the smog and pollution.
Check back for Part 2
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