Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Message of the Day:

“Parting is such sweet sorrow.” – Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

tea tastingTeam Journal Entry:

Our last day at Kunming and in school. Our usual buffet breakfast this morning, except some of us tried rice noodles with pork and some leafy vegetables instead of the usual toast and a fried egg. Delicious! Errett found herself, with fork in hand, looking for her chopsticks! Jack had the bowl of rice noodles with pork and various additions. LMN is still devoted to toast and fried eggs and strong black tea (with milk and sugar).

Following breakfast we had two cultural-learning adventures. First, we took a subway ride in the Kunming subway. It was clean, inexpensive, and efficient. Certainly doesn’t look like the London or New York subways. Easily the most modern subway we’d ever been on. Somewhat intimidating at first, but once we figured how it worked we knew we’d be comfortable riding it alone. One very interesting thing: our machine-issued ticket was much like a plastic credit card. We used it go through the turnstyle to get on the subway, retained it, and when we got off put it through the exit turnstyle, where it was retained. Consequently, there were no stubs lying all over the floor as there are in many other subways we have ridden. We went only three stops before we returned to our stop.

Friday1Next, we stopped at a very nice tea retail shop and had a tea tasting. We were exposed to raw tea, which reminded Jack of a peaty scotch and a green tea, which was much more compatible with both our tastes. Finally, we tested a black tea, which had the most prominent aroma, but lacked an acceptable flavor for us Westerners.

Lunch at the “across the bridge” restaurant with its great chicken noodle soup. We are getting better with using chopsticks, but there is still a lot of “slurping.”

Then it was off to school. We had only one period of 7th graders today for regular teaching. Our 7th graders were very good albeit very energetic. EPS uses “Jingle Bells” as a teaching tool. JES focused on colors and numbers, using full sentences. LMN focused on requiring full sentences after question: “What is this?” Students answered: “This is a car” and “What color is the car” with each student identifying the object and color: “This car is red and black”. Then we met together for “dialog” with 8th graders where we discussed holiday customs for both Christmas and Spring Festival (in February) which are much the same: family gatherings, feasts, and frolic.

Friday2This was followed by a “farewell program.” One of the students played several selections on a very unusual flute (note picture). There were thank you speeches and we were given gifts of ethnic handbags and scrolls of rice paper with hand done Chinese calligraphy created by the art teacher. The whole thing was very touching and sad. A final photo of the volunteers and the English teachers is shown below. It was sad to leave after two weeks here. We sought this program to see China from the inside and gain a perspective about the people and culture. We are more than pleased with the outcome. I will no longer have a “faceless” images of China. Instead, I will recall the energetic, friendly, helpful, and always welcoming people I met.


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