China Team Journal

Monday, March 15, 2010

Team 181 Week One (Mar. 6-13)

First Week (March 6- 13)

The 181st team of volunteers with Global Volunteers is now officially convened on Mar 7, 2010. We are five in number and from different parts of the United States, Canada, Germany, and HongKong. So we are various nationalities, ages, and experience. I think we are already getting acquainted with each other and over the next two weeks we will develop even more camaraderie.

Sunday was spend doing mostly meeting, managed by a very organized Baoli. She is our team manager in Xi’an. Baoli first told us how she got involved in Global Volunteers. After that, we discussed Team Goals, and what make a good team. We did some brainstorming about this. Also, Baoli, covered the general common sense rules like traveling in pairs, not to be out to late at night, and other things.

We broke for lunch, and in the afternoon, we meet with the 3 teachers and 10 students from the school. It was interesting for both us and them. Each students introduced themselves and sometimes talked a little about their interest in learning English. We took a large group photo and finally ended about 5 pm, only to meet back for dinner at 6 pm.

At dinner, we went over last minute details. We had our schedules and were eager to start.

After we get our first day under our belts, we will feel better. After Monday, we will be veterans.... Let the fun begin.

Monday was our first day of class. Everyone arrived at breakfast 20 minutes early. Was this a sign of our nervousness? It was for me. The nervousness increased when we arrived at the school and were greeted by 2 perfectly formed lines of students. Yikes! Talk about pressure.

We all somehow survived our first day of class and all shared our successes and not-so-glorious moments. The important thing is that we learn from our mistakes and make tomorrow bigger and better.

After class, we went to the Heping Village’s Administrative Office where we met the Party Secretary. They seemed proud of what they’ve accomplished in transforming the area from a village farm into a model for socialist development. They showed us their records room, all the major meeting rooms, their modest library, community center and bank. Then we went to the Party Secretary’s house of jiaozi. A few of us got a chance to make some of the dumplings. The food was plentiful and the Secretary was really hospitable. He kept feeding Alice jiaozi. I wouldn’t be surprised if Alice never eats another jiaozi in her life again. =) He also kept filling our cups with kiwi wine which got smoother with each cup.

Couple interesting things to note:

1)The women in the household stayed in the kitchen until Baoli asked to meet them.
2)The Secretary didn’t engage us into any form of conversation.
3)His house was 6000 square meters, has 14 rooms and 4 bathrooms

When we returned to the hotel, Roger, Charlie, Johannes, Elizabeth and I walked to the Xing Qing Park. Alice stayed behind to digest the jiaozi. It was a lovely park with lots of people. It was wonderful to see so many kids playing, unlike many American children who would rather be inside playing video games or surfing the internet.

Soon it came Friday, the last day teaching of the first week. After breakfast we have a quick and smooth ride to the school in two black limos. The first lesson of the day is short as we have a one hour get together with the English teachers of the College before lunch.

Sunshine likes food and listening to music, she also speaks German.
Vivien is a mother of an 1.5 year old boy and she likes English.
Helen learned a lot from Global Volunteer members and likes music.
Swallow married recently and has been teaching English at the college for 3 years.
Lisa likes reading and traveling.
Della likes music and studying the bible.
Fisher likes traveling and shopping.
Martina likes all kinds of sports and likes meeting people and sharing ideas.

At the local restaurant we treat the English teachers to lunch. The food is excellent.

After lunch we are shown the girls dormitory building. We visit a room for 2 students and a room for 5 students. Each dormitory measures around 15 sqm. Each student has a small closet.

After another class in the afternoon we are getting back to our hotel. Dinner is at the restaurant next to the hotel. We start into the weekend with ‘hans’ beer and juice at the hotel bar.