China Team Journal

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


This morning we taught the hotel staff again.  We worked mostly on vocabulary.  At lunch we discussed our final plans, sightseeing Friday with two teachers from the school, then final shopping and packing.


Coco met us and stayed with me for all four classes.  She enjoyed doing all the things the students did.  I started feeling sick at the end of the third class.  Luckily, I made it back to the hotel, but couldn’t keep it off for much longer.  I can’t wait until tomorrow when I’ll be feeling better.



Friday, November 16, 2012

What Fun!

Friday we had a chance to teach 7th graders.  What fun!  For the most part they were very responsive and caught on quickly to what I wanted them to do.  Two of my classes got far enough to describe what I was wearing with good detail. The third class struggled with spelling “jacket” and saying “ten” instead of “tongue”.


Saturday the three of us took a trip to the Stone Forest.  Frank met us at the hotel and we went in the school van along a smooth expressway into the mountains.  The Stone Forest National Park was beautiful.  We rode the trolley ¾ way around the park then got off and hiked through the rock formations, up and down, in and out for about two hours.  We left the park and ate at a small restaurant where Larkin, having become fond of fried bee larvae, ordered a plateful for lunch.


After lunch we drove through the countryside, seeing small towns and farms.  Frank was looking for a stone village for us to visit.  We didn’t quite find it and headed back for Kunming, this time not on the lovely expressway, but up hill and down valley and the closer we got to Kunming the thicker the dust and truck traffic.  The driver passed often and we didn’t have any head-on collisions, but we were sure glad to get back to the hotel.


Sunday we all went to the Flower and Bird market to do some shopping.  We enjoyed all the birds in the elaborate cages and tried to get the mynahs to say hello—in vain.  Lunch was at a new restaurant in the shopping mall.  Don got quite sick again and this time the swimming pool is suspect.



Thursday, November 15, 2012


Don was a little sick today but he bravely went with us to teach. Otherwise we would have had 24 students in a class instead of the usual 16. The dreaded 7th graders were scheduled for the last period but didn’t materialize. Instead we had two first grade classes and a 4th grade class. After class I was swamped with kids wanting my autograph. Gee, I didn’t know my teaching was that good!


After class we made dumplings with the teachers and then back to the hotel.



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Martial Arts Day

After our morning of preparation, we went to lunch and found out that some or all of the classes were to be cancelled.  After a 27 minute ride across the city where a horn is essential and staying in a lane is totally optional, we arrived at the school.  The students did martial arts, exercise, and games.  The middle school went first followed by the primary students.  Our teaching schedule was shortened because of the program but we only missed grade two. We had two classes of grade three.  


All the elementary and middle school students participated together this afternoon.  Too bad the United States doesn’t have a regular P.E. event like this..


 We went out to a nearby restaurant for another great meal.  Surprise!  It was Chinese food!



Tuesday, November 13, 2012


We are getting in to the routine of life in Kunming.  We had breakfast, spent the morning preparing, and then went out to lunch for “Crossing the Bridge” noodles.  Baoli told us the legend of the dish and we all enjoyed making and eating our soup.  In the afternoon we went to class and taught 1st and 2nd graders.  The children are delightful and generally behave quite well.  They are attentive and try hard to make the sounds that I teach them.


After another excellent meal, it’s off to bed.  The maid just dropped off the nightly snack.  It’s a banana this time.




Monday, November 12, 2012

A Little Nervous

Everyone was a little nervous this morning. First day of teaching! Baoli, as usual, was calm and reassuring and the kids were great and it was fun teaching them. I wish I had brought more stickers. They were a hit. We went to a welcoming dinner with the teachers after school where one of the dishes was fried locusts and grubs. They were delicious and probably healthier than potato chips.


Interesting fact about China learned so far: No toilet paper is to be flushed down. It goes in a little waste basket and the maids have the task of taking it away.


- Larkin

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Today we met for an early breakfast at the hotel and then met with Baoli for our Global Volunteers orientation.  After more self introductions we learned about the G.V. China program, the philosophy of G.V., the 12 essential services, team building, policies and guidelines, health and safety, and then our work assignment.  After lunch we had free time for a few hours and then before dinner we had Chinese language lessons.  Baoli gave a very educational introduction to the Chinese language.


- Don