Sunday 21st July - Day 6 - The Host’s Visit and Chinese Karaoke
Sunday was a very different day- a day that was unlike any other. On this day, we had the opportunity to experience the true Chinese way of life, first hand, with the students (or staff) from
North- east Yucai School. This meant that even Miss Cox and Mr Cooper got the opportunity to experience a bit of freedom too.
During our day, we got to roam the indoor market and have lunch with the Chinese teachers where we had an all-you-can-eat buffet and Chinese BBQ where you were able to cook your own food fresh on the table. This was really special because we could literally see the before and after of our seafood, amongst meat and vegetables and, there was even a chocolate fountain to douse every kind of fruit or sweet treat in possible for dessert.
However, it was not long before we began to miss the SPH students and eagerly awaited their return to us at the hotel from 7pm.
Following this, we wanted to end the day on an even bigger high so took the students to Chinese Karaoke. Needless to say, they truly loved this experience and were truly thankful for an amazing day, week and experience on the trip to date! Roll on the next week!
Lottie and Hannahʼs host visit
We first met our Chinese friend Lisa and her dad at 11330 after breakfast. Although we were nervous at first, as soon as we met them, we knew we would have an amazing day. The day began brilliantly when we were taken to the shopping mall and shown around all the different stores. (Many of the Chinese shops have quenched our thirst with a delicious passion fruit drink before heading to a restaurant where we ate cow tongue with beef and cabbage soup. Shortly after, we found ourselves in Beiling Park, investing ourselves in the history of the Emperorʼs Tomb.
As we had a Chinese tour guide, Lisa translated everything she said, and itʼs easy to say we were both immensely impressed. We then went back to the flat where we were introduced to Lisaʼs mum and auntie who were both extremely nice and welcoming. Lisa and ourselves had a lovely time getting to know each other whilst waiting for our tea. We
were invited to help make dumplings ready for our tea which we thoroughly enjoyed. As we sat down for our tea with the family, we tucked straight into the scrumptious food that was on offer; weʼre glad to say we werenʼt disappointed. There was a variety of food on offer such as dumplings, prawns, noodles, rice, egg and tomato and salad. It was after this that Lisa and her dad showed us the embroidery of her grandma which took her an astonishing 3 years to make! Unfortunately, it was now our time to say goodbye to the lovely family that had taken us in for the day. However, weʼre grateful to say that we have now made a new friend who we desperately hope to stay in touch with as we had such a lovely time with her and her family today.
Kim and Abigailʼs host visit
Kim and I started our day by meeting our buddies and the father of one of our buddies. The drive was quite a distance but we arrived in a city called Fushun, where we stopped off to have a photo in front of the cityʼs famous landmark.
Then, we went to a hotpot restaurant. A hotpot is where you are provided with a pot of boiling water and a range of fish, meat and vegetables which you cook yourself at the table. Kim and I chose a spicy broth/ sauce to accompany the dish and afterwards, we had an ice cream.
Shortly after, we went to a shopping mall, played on arcade games and one of our buddies won us two pandas on the claw machine (skilled to say the least)! Afterwards, we had a somewhat interesting dessert from a dessert shop. It consisted of tortoise jelly and glutinous rice, and we poured cream over it. Their friend also arrived and
joined us and we went around the shopping mall together.
Afterwards, we went to an authentic local market to get ingredients for the dumplings we were due to make for dinner at one of the buddyʼs houses. We then went to their apartment and played ‘Just Danceʼ before making the dumplings and eating them for dinner. Their whole family and friends (quite a number in total) joined to meet us and, again, we felt like royalty once again- something we could happily get used to...
Leon, Dominic and Sameeʼs host visit
Upon arrival at our host familyʼs home, we were greeted by our studentsʼ parents and a lot of food and drink!!
After settling in, we played a card game with the host and 3 of the friends that he had brought from North- east Yucai School. After this, we went outside to eat the best lunch that we had eaten so far... This included ‘Sweet and sour chickenʼ, pork ribs, Korean style noodles, sticky rice, yoghurt smothered fruit and cream sandwich cakes for dessert.
The Chinese students Emmie, Mary, Anna and Jack took us to a local museum for a short while and showed us around. After this, we were taken to a huge shopping centre that was so large, it expanded over 8 floors with an entire basketball court on the ground floor. After this, Jack took us to an escape room with his friends and
we stayed there for around an hour trying to solve puzzles. Once weʼd finally escaped, the hosts took us for tea at Pizza Hut and bought us drinks and an extensive amount of food.
Before we returned to school, our hosts surprised us by saying they were going to the toilet and instead returning with gifts for all of us. The whole day was amazing and the car in which we were taken was very luxurious. The hostsʼ second house was really nice and his whole entire family spoke amazing English. The hostʼs mother was the headteacher from the school and was really comforting and kind and we felt truly thankful for the opportunity to learn from them and experience their home life.
Michael, Jacob and Joshʼs host visit
Today was the beginning of an adventure! We were all nervous for sure not knowing exactly what to expect. Personally, I (Josh) was excited and did in fact meet our buddy, Thomas beforehand so felt relaxed.
After grouping up in the lobby of our hotel by holding up coloured paper with numbers whilst the Chinese students did the same, the hustle and bustle commenced for about 10 or 15 minutes and began to settle once weʼd all been paired up. Once we had, we drove off in two separate cars as our buddy brought his 5 friends to greet and share the day with us.
We went to a traditional Chinese restaurant and everyone got on like the best of friends... it would have been unbelievable to a stranger that we had been strangers earlier on in the day!
After exploring the city, we went to an escape room with an
ancient Chinese tribe theme and with our collective minds, we made it through most of the course before running out of time.
From there, we took the subway back to where the restaurant and it only took about ten minutes to his home. He lived in a large tower on the 17th floor. The house was really extravagant and quite fancy. He showed us around his house and showed us some Chinese board games which seemed very complex to say the least!! Il
After we made dumplings with his mother and grandmother which were served up with iced tea. Both were extremely friendly and welcoming and we chatted for quite some time before we said our goodbyes and his mother took us back to the hotel.
At the beginning of the day we were very nervous for meeting them but left feeling like we were not just guests but esteemed friends.
Ella and Emmieʼs host visit:
Having met Khloe and Emily (our hosts) in the Lobby, we went with them in their parentsʼ car to their area of residence. When Khloe realised we studied Spanish at school, she played ‘Despacitoʼ in the car and we all sang along. Then, we went for lunch at Pizza Hut where we ate pepperoni pizza and the Chinese girls had pasta. We didnʼt want to finish it but because we were aware of Chinese culture and didnʼt want to appear rude so we ate as much as we could but left a slice each. Khloe paid for everything which was incredibly kind and she refused to allow us to pay for anything as she wanted to be a good host. We were quickly aware that she could do everything on WeChat, include order and pay for food and were told that you can order taxis via WeChat and even buy clothes!
Immediately after lunch, we went to The General Marshallʼs mansion which was huge- so
much so that it seemed to extend on forever like the Chinese dragon!
Following this, we went to the Financial Museum where we saw all different types of currencies across the ages which was very informative. The only disappointing aspect was when saw the collection of English money which only consisted of the old ‘fiverʼ!
After our cultural excursions, we visited the largest shopping mall in China, where we went to a colourful and inviting stationery shop where Emmie bought a pig keychain. (It was adorable). The arcade was even more fascinating as Emily exchanged 100¥ for tokens to play with. We played a basketball game, a driving game, and the machine claw game where Emmie won a Mike teddy from Monsters Inc on the very first go! We also sung karaoke... or at least tried! Being noteperfect is over-rated anyway.
Then, Khloe informed us that we were going to her house to make
dumplings- an incredible experience that we never imagined we would have the opportunity to do.
Upon arrival at Khloeʼs flat, we were brought to the table to make the dumplings. Ella struggled (massively) which was really funny, but we learnt the skill of how to do it and it was truly fascinating! Then, before we knew it, they brought out plates and plates packed full of dumplings of all kinds, was well as chicken wings, ribs, fried chicken, and soup; it was all really delicious. Emmie ate so much her tummy starting gargling in the car!
Later on, we were given gifts on our departure and sadly, our time had come to an end. We sat on the sofa for 5 minutes taking photos to remember the day. It was a truly amazing experience and one that I will never forget.
Sophie, Alex and Libbyʼs host visit
Today we were paired with Yvonne (a 16 year old studying English who will be moving to Carlisle in September to continue her studies in the UK).
During the day, we went to Shenyang City Centre which reminded us of Market Street in Manchester. We ate lots including our first meal which was at a grilled meat restaurant and we cooked all of our own food on a hot plate and tried our first mango and cheese McFlurry! (Interesting and tasty to say the least!) We also tried a pearl tea which was delicious but found the gelatine jelly bubbles at the bottom of bubble tea, less appealing.
Later on, we met Yvonneʼs younger sister who was adorable; she was called Annie and spoke a little bit of English but was delightful company nonetheless. For tea we had a regional Shenyang dish and some potatoes covered in sugar (sweet
and savoury dishes are definitely very common here!).
Afterwards, we had a leisurely walk back to the hotel with Yvonne discussing our home lives. She was very happy with her gifts and gifted us with some Chinese tea leaves which we were given when we visited her mumʼs work.
When we got back to the hotel, we sat in the lobby and chatted for another hour as we were in awe of her commitment to her studies and travelling. She left as people started arriving and we exchanged contact details with a view to meeting up with our new international friend back home.
Caitlen and Lilyʼs host visit
The host day began with us meeting our Chinese friend in the lobby of our hotel. Her name was Erin and she had come with a friend for company and, probably to make the most of meeting some new English people.
Erinʼs house was extremely modern and particularly well designed- so much so, it was almost like a futuristic show home. We all watched Chinese TV and the girls translated or explained what was being said in Mandarin. We thoroughly enjoyed socialising and the time until dinner raced by. For dinner, we had a delicious meal which consisted of noodles, homemade dishes of beef, pork and chicken, as well as salad.
After that, we then drove to a famous Emperorʼs tomb!! We looked around marvellous buildings which had amazing architecture and grandeur, emphasising the status of the figurehead. The walk was long and challenging up hill to reach the tomb but it was very much worth it and, in fact, was nothing on The Great Wall so we managed to cope well based on learning from prior experiences.
Once we had finished looking around the buildings, we decided it would be fun to go on a pedal boat. There was was a bit of confusion at the start on how to function the boat but we soon got used to it. This was the best part of our day and was thoroughly amusing and entertaining.
Lastly, we drove to a restaurant not to far away from the lake. It was primarily a dumpling restaurant but it did also do other dishes such as chicken and salad. We ordered many different types of dumplings which we all thoroughly enjoyed and by the end we were all stuffed.
Our day had come to the end once our meal was finished and it was time to head back to the hotel. We both had an amazing experience with our Chinese friend and learnt so much about culture and customs!!