Wednesday August 11, 2010

Thought for the Day: “Instead of counting your days, make your days count.”

I woke up unusually early this morning. Instead of groaning and hiding my head back into the sheets, I could not help but be distracted by the things I wanted to do for the day. So I kicked off my sheets and went on to my computer. I had just planned to talk about the Independence Day as the culture of the day, but as soon as I typed in “different cultures” into Google, I found myself sending 12 pages of materials for the class to Baoli.

Ever since I have joined the Global Volunteers, I have always felt a sense of accomplishment or some sort of satisfaction at the end of the day. Instead of spending my summer days drooling in front of the TV, and/or getting up at 2 in the afternoon, teaching has allowed me to feel that I may have made a difference, no matter how small, in someone else’s life. So here is the thought of the day: “Instead of counting your days, make your days count”.

As soon as we arrived at the Kunming University, there stood waiting not one, but two people greeting us. Sean, the usual face, brought his cousin named Cherry. She is an English major student at the Yunnan University who wanted to participate in what she called “free” and “fun” American style of education.

So we started off the class with the different kinds of greetings in different cultures. They especially enjoyed the greeting in Tuvalu, which is to press a face to a cheek of the other and sniff deeply. I also demonstrated the Korean style of bowing down to the elders. I was not aware that China does not have a bowing-down culture, as does Korea. Great to know that now. Anyhow, we moved on to making our own movies. One thing that still sticks in my mind was that one of the students wanted to be a terrorist who would bomb America. The next activity was debating. I wrote the most cliché opinion essay topic on the board: Should high school students wear uniforms? Then I enjoyed the students’ fervent participation in the debate no matter what their language level.

After the class was over, we headed over to a traditional Dehong restaurant. We had a great meal with rice in the pineapples, mysterious milk tea – like – drink, and a ton of different dishes I have never tried before. The never-ending list of different dishes is one thing that never fails to amaze me about China. It was also very nice to have lunch with the students and seeing them socialize outside of the classes. It surprised me though, that the students would not start eating the food unless I try it first. Although I was slightly reluctant to try the foods with the word “la” or spicy in front, or the soup with a chicken’s foot in it, it was great fun tasting a little bit of Dehong.

After eating lunch, the students got together to go shopping. They were excited to have the day off in a cosmopolitan city, compared to the villages where they came from. Unlike many other girls of my age, I do not particularly enjoy shopping so I went back to the hotel.

At around five thirty, Sean decided that we should eat American food after the chicken foot episode at lunch. So we went into a restaurant, and ordered some curry, which the waitress said it was not spicy. Well, later I found out, it was not spicy for a local Chinese. So, I ended up ordering some pasta. We walked around in Kunming a little bit and called it a day after planning together the activities for tomorrow’s lesson. We were most looking forward to having Sean’s cousin for the rest of the classes.

– Grace

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