Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Life as of late

Life as of late:

After our trip in Yangshuo, we hopped right back into teaching! Classes have been going well and my teachers have been improving. We will be adding seven more girls to our group in a few weeks, on August 28. My hands will be full then, since I will have to work through "training month" with a whole new batch of newbies!

Last weekend was a pretty lazy one. We watched movies, played games (Scum & Charades, to be exact), and enjoyed the lovely A/C in our apartment. But do not let this fool you--we also like to get out and explore! Yesterday we decided to hop on random buses and see where they take us. The first bus took us to an area we've never seen before, then we took another bus that has a route close to Walking Street. We hopped off and discovered a cool museum to go to, as well as stumbled upon a Buddhist temple. At first we didn't know what it was...we just started climbing stairs and it looked like a neat area with gardens and big trees. Then we heard chanting and we knew that it must be a religious place.

A gate that led to the temple was closed, but then three women walked thru and left it open, so of course what do I do? Go peek. :) It was an enclosed area with incense burning, and golden statues, and the women were praying/bowing. It looked neat, so I bet you can guess what I did. :) Respectfully we started looking around, and entered into the main building after asking permission from someone if it was alright. It was a beautifully decorated place with lots of color, and gold, and incense, and Buddhas. The monks were all dressed in light orange robes, and they were chanting for a service which I believe was a service just for one family (since there were only 6-8 people there.)

It brought back memories from when we accidently stumbled upon a Buddhist service in St Petersburg. The only difference was that service (I believe) was a public one and was very loud with drums and other sweet instruments! It was an absolutely thrilling thing to experience.

After seeing the temple, we walked around and found a place to eat. Eating out in China has been fun. Most restaurants seem to be family owned and operated, and most would not meet America's standard that restaurants are held to. :) These restaurants are just big enough to fit 4 or 5 tables, with the kitchen visible from the dining area. But these places often have very good food, and for a very good price! I can get a big bowl of noodles or rice for around 15 Yuan, which is a little less than $3. But we do have a selection of different restaurants, and there are nicer/more expensive ones we could go to if we wanted.

This past Sunday we had our first "church skype" experience. It took 2 hours of figuring out/downloading the software, a few phone calls, a test skype, and then we finally could enjoy having a meeting (sacrament.) We connected to a branch in the city of Shenzhen. Sometime soon we want to make a trip there to actually attend church in person. :)

Today was a neat day. We had our usual day of school, but afterwards at 3pm we went and volunteered for 2 hours at a foster home. Past Zhongshan teachers have gone to this foster home, which is located about 2 minutes from our apartment. It is ran by an American couple, and most of the kids there have special needs. Their ages range from small babies to 9 years old. I loved being able to hold those cute little babies and watch the kids play. We are planning on volunteering there on a regular weekly basis. What a great opportunity!

Tonight we celebrated not one, but two birthdays! It is the other Head Teacher (Stacy) and one of our Chinese coordinators (Debbie) birthday! So all of us girls, and a few of our coordinators, went out to eat. We chose an American-style restaurant that played American music, that sort of made me miss America. :') I ordered an 8" pizza and ate it all myself (I've had to make up for all the pizza I've missed from Bella Marie's.) After eating we headed back to our apartments where we ate cake and played really funny games. :) Needless to say, it was a successful night.

Well, I've just about written a novel. But I did, after all, want to update you on life as of late. I hope you enjoy hearing about my experiences. I'm sure having a great time here, and I know this is a good place for me to be. :)

Love you all,

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