It's been a good semester. More so than I could imagine. I love the fact that I arrived here in the summer's heat and am leaving with a jacket on. It means that I've spent a pretty big chunk of time here. Five months.
In that time I've traveled to places I've never heard of, and mispronounced all of their names. I've seen landscapes spilling over with jungle terrain, green mountains shooting out of the ground. I've been to big cities, with picturesque skylines, full of both new and old architecture. I have hiked along a cliff's edge, thousands of feet up, inhaling and exhaling the cold morning air. I've visited the Emperors' Forbidden city, Tiananmen Square, night markets, and walked on a wall that's just really Great. I've also bummed around on an island, swimming in the sea by day and eating street food by night.
But this is not all. I've also ridden on bus 003. And sung at the top of my lungs at KTV. I've shopped around ghetto malls, and visited parks, and explored a couple pagodas. I've gone out to dinner with Chinese friends, and to Starbucks with my friends. I've been to markets where the real world is prevalent...chicken heads are being chopped off in front of you, and there's stands and stands of fruit to buy, and fish that are probably illegal are being sold to the left. I've also spent my time holding weekly meetings, evaluating classes, doing reports, talking with coordinators, and trying to fulfill my responsibilities the best I can. We would be at the school everyday from. I've talked a bunch about our exciting trips and things we've seen, but I want people to know that a lot of work went on everyday at the school and for the kids. This trip hasn't been one big vacation! The girls worked hard to do lesson plans, to send in progress reports and students of the month, and to become good teachers. Halloween was a huge feat for us teaching dances, practicing dances, decorating, and setting up a haunted house. We've also had a couple "open days", where the parents are invited in to watch classes.
I've gotten to know a culture that I never understood before. I had no idea what to expect coming to here. And it's hard to describe exactly what I've come to understand. Big things make up a country like the laws, and architecture, and traditions. But I find that small things that you see on the street play a huge factor in getting to know a culture. Your culture, China, will always have a little piece of my heart. I'm so grateful for the opportunity for me to come here, it has made me grow in more ways that one. I've learned so much!
Wo Ai Ni, Zhong Guo.
Here are some pictures from the semester. Some from our vacations, and some of just classic China. :)