Wednesday began with the usual 90 minute Mandarin lesson. Today, we learnt that Miss Angela has the voice of an angel! She demonstrated this when she taught us an even more complex Mandarin song: 最選民族風 風換穿 球(zui xuan min zu feng fengchuangchuan qi). This song is a famous song used for square dancing and was particularly fast- paced and for us, quite difficult to sing! Nonetheless, she patiently demonstrated and we harmonised our own version!
The first culture lesson for Class 3 (consisting of 15 students from of our group included: Zach, Libby, Abigail, Ella, Lily, Emmie, Sophie, Kim, Kaden, Alex, Michael, Caitlen, Josh, Hannah and Lottie) and, the subject was Embroidery. In this lesson, we were given a stretched silk handkerchief which had a flower design drawn on to guide students on where they should embroider. Students loved this class as they felt it was very therapeutic and calmly chatted about their experiences on the trip whilst carefully working through their pattern. A key tip learnt was to stitch from the middle of the previous stitch to ensure a consistent bf of line, rather than gaps and, for some, this was their first experience of sewing of any kind so was definitely a worthwhile life lesson, as well as an enjoyable activity!
Meanwhile, Class 2 (Jacob, Dominic, Leon, Michael and Sam) were in the canteen for their Chinese cooking lessons. After reminding the students to wash their hands, they began by making the dough for the vegetable dumplings (a change from the pork the other group used and, we got to make the dough too). Then, after a quick demonstration, we attempted to make the perfect dumplings. However, from rolling a circle, to over and under filling them, it seemed an impossible task! Eventually, Jacob got into a rhythm but Sam spent his time trying to make new creations like dough balls inside dumplings and other concoctions. Luckily, these did not pass quality control and didn’t make it to the dinner table!
Lunch consisted of the usual range of fried, skewered and sautéed chicken but fortunately, students enjoy the vegetables, prawns, different types of rice and range of meat dishes. (They may even be used to the Chinese cuisine now as well as chopsticks).
In the afternoon, Class 3 stayed in the ‘Home Room’ for their second culture lesson: Chinese knot tying. In this lesson, we were shown the steps to follow in order to create our own bracelets. This was a difficult challenge at first since the demonstration was fast- paced but, after some practise, it was ‘knotted’ into our brains as a memory/ keepsake of the class and the bracelets, a gift to take home for family or friends.
Mr Cooper’s group, however, moved on to Chinese Paper Cutting in the afternoon. We were all given a pair of scissors and started designing butterflies. After sketching our design, we started cutting...Samee and Leon’s intricate designs meant they struggled to finish in lesson time but the rest of the students finished and mounted their work. Some chose to keep their butterfly, whilst others chose to set it free...
In the evening, we visited a park called ‘Zhongshan Park’ near to the hotel. On entrance into the park, we found an outdoor gym where many of the elder locals were exercising. An older lady even showed Leon how to get the back massager working! After a bit of exercise, we progressed through the pathways to a lit up courtyard where there was a musician playing an unusual Chinese string instrument and a whole crowd of people were singing along.
Meanwhile, a group patrolled through the park in preparation for a band performance. We were so impressed by chiselled synchrony, we decided to copy. Miss Cox and Mr Cooper suggested doing our ‘Roll Call’ with such volume and precision too. (This is where we shout our own number loudly to check everyone is present in the group). So, we did! Right through to the ‘dance-floor’ and Ella, Abbie, Emmie, Lily and Sophie copied the Zumba style dance moves. Before leaving, we had time for a few moonlit pictures before another memorable day passed.