China Team Journal

Friday, April 25, 2008

Tuesday-Friday, Apr, 22-25

Tuesday April 22
By Dave Hale

Thought for the Day: “Our libraries are filled with writers who know all about China, but could not see how much they did not know” (John King Fairbank, Harvard historian).

During breakfast at the hotel we talked to some high school teachers from Vermont. The day was sunny and cool. In the morning Peggy went to the Provincial History Museum while I walked to the Forest of Stone Tablets. There were a great many stone tablets of varying size, some mounted on turtles. But there were ancient sculptures and modern paintings of more interest. Many students were sketching various aspects of the museum.

After lunch we went to school for two classes, grades 2 and 3. My grade 2 class worked with animals and numbers; their book has a story about cats which parallels the parable of the Prodigal Son. Grade three dealt with favorite fruits. At the end of class the grade 3 students lined up for autographs. Their books indicated that they had seen Hugh and/or Mary previously.

Then we met Hu Di at the Wu Ming Shi Wu (Nameless) Restaurant, a very informal place. The feature is Cross-Bridge Rice Noodles—noodles, onions, and other things cooked at the table in big bowls of chicken broth. Side dishes included pickled sea weed. Then we walked to the misnamed Harbour Place, a big mall patronized by students from Chang An University. Peggy got a manicure and struck up a conversation with two English majors. Out in the hall I chatted with two more. There was general amusement as Hu Di and the girls tried on wigs at the shop across the hall. Peggy also bought Chinese birthday candles.

Wednesday April 23

By Peggy Hale

Thought for the Day: Happy Birthday Shakespeare!

An almost clear morning. Hu Di outlined the place of Shakespeare in China today. English majors must study some of the plays, especially tragedies such as Romeo and Juliet. The Early Modern English is regarded as a major challenge.

We were a little late to school. With two teachers out and my throat still scratchy, David taught four classes of 45+ students in grades 2 and 3. A teacher helped with translation and I chipped in as I could because my sore throat was worse. Their pronunciation is quite good and they imitate well at this age. There were only a few corrections. The students are fun to be with. They get very excited with photos, especially of our grandchildren (ages 4 and 6) with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus.
After lunch, good as usual, with three teachers, we went back to the hotel for a nap. We went to the Xingquinggong Park and enjoyed the sunny weather and all the people who were out. Hu Di took us to the country People’s Restaurant.
Thursday April 24, 2008 Dave

Thought for the Day: May our mouths speak words of wisdom and the utterances of our hearts give understanding (from Psalm 49:3).

The day began with breakfast at the hotel. Hu Di showed us her wedding pictures, two albums with a variety of dresses—some modern, a few very traditional. During the morning we visited the Taoist Temple of the Eight Immortals, a complex of low buildings around courtyards. The buildings contain images and lots of tablets. A few monks and worshippers were around. The weather warmed nicely.
After lunch I went to school while Peggy rested her aching knee. I had a Grade 2 and a Grade 5 class. The Grade 5 class had a lesson on field trips, which Gao Xin No. 2 School doesn’t do. A bit frustrating to have the students speculate about field trips they can not take. It emerged that about a third of the students have not been to the City Wall, which was recommended as a personal field trip.
For dinner we went with Hu DI to Junior 6’s Dumpling House for mushroom, beef, and shrimp dumplings, plus corn and egg soup and some excellent rice-dates-honey dessert. Then we shopped for bilingual picture books for the grandchildren at the bi JHHT Bookstore.

Friday April 25
By Dave Hale

Song for the Day: Now our weeks are over, we’ll fly away
To out home back in the USA,
We’ll fly away. . . .

The morning dawned almost clear. In the morning Hu Di joined us at the school. Michael gave us a tour of the art rooms, where we met some teachers and admired student work. We also looked in on the library and computer room. At exercise time the students practiced for ceremonial marching for a big sports meeting next week. We had a Grade 5 and a Grade 2 class. One novelty was the Mexican money which surfaced in Peggy’s suitcase last night. Grade 5 again dealt with field trips while Grade 2 moved on to cleaning implements, mop and so on. The school laid on a sumptuous lunch. Dave was presented with a piece of calligraphic art.

Here endeth the Journal of Global Volunteers Team 159.