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  • May252017

    POSTED AT 11:29 PM

    Shopping in China 五月五日 (May 5th)
         
    So
    far in 中国 (China) I have found many things that interest me. There are many everyday activities that are very exciting, and very fun. A couple examples of these things, are biking, 中文 (Chinese) yo-yo and cooking traditional 中文 dishes. But after thinking about it, my favorite thing to do in China is to shop. But in 中国, shopping is much different than it is in 美国. (America) When I say shopping in 中国, I am referring to street markets and places that you can bargain over a price. To be completely honest, bargaining is probably the main reason that I enjoy shopping in 中国 so much. But more on that later. However, bargaining isn't allowed everywhere in China. Just like in 美国, places like malls, supermarkets and company owned businesses like Nike or Ray-Ban are not places that you are allowed to bargain at. If fact, I have seen some stores having signs posted out front saying: "Prices are fixed, please do not bargain."
       
    The places that you are allowed to bargain at are mostly street markets, or anywhere that isn't a store owned by the company. It is possible however for a non-company owned store to sell that same product. For example, a store not owned by Under
    Armour could still sell their product. The only difference is that you can bargain for the same product, because it isn't found in the company owned store. There is a catch however, at these street markets, you have the risk of the product being fake or of a lesser quality, and most of the time you don't know because It looks the same if not identical to the original.
       
    The first time I had experienced bargaining in person, was with
    Tiger's mom one day while shopping at "The Silk Market." The Silk Market was in the layout of a mall, but acted much like a street market because you could argue about the prices. Going into this experience, I already knew what bargaining was because I had grown up in an 中文 household. One of my friends (also 中文) also told me a few strategies to bargaining and how to get the prices you want. But I had never actually tried doing it myself, and I had never experienced it either.
         
    My first time, was in a sun glasses store at The Silk Market. I had found a pair of sunglasses that I really liked and had been wanting for a long time. I told Tiger
    's mom this, and she went to work. The starting price of the glasses was 350元, (yuan) by the end, the price was at 100元. The whole time they were arguing in 中文 so I was only able to pick up on a little bit of what they were both saying. She was able to drop the price in just under 5 minutes and I was confused how she was able to do it so quickly. Because I didn't pay much attention the first time, I decided next time I got something, I would pay more attention to what she says and does.The next thing I got, was a 中文 sculpture that was worth 200元. Tiger's mom asked me if I really wanted it and I said yes. The first thing that came out of her mouth was: "五十块" which means 50 yuan in 中文. The woman replied with: "一百五块," which means 150 yuan. Tiger's mom kept coming back with 50 yuan and would not budge her price. The two kept going back and forth until they settled on the price of 55 yuan. And I was taken back how she was able to do it.
         
    While she was doing it, I noticed that she did four main things. The first, was she chose a much lower price than th
    e original, but not too low to the point where the shop owner would tell us to leave. You must choose a price that is worth it for you, but also reasonable for the seller because if you go to low, the seller will feel insulted. They will feel insulted because it's almost as if you are saying "The product you are selling is worthless." Second, she almost "played" with the object, tossing it back and forth between her hands, and trying to find imperfections in the object. This is done to show to the seller, and explain that because of the imperfection, it must be a lower price. Tossing the object back and forth also gives the illusion that the object is "worthless" because you are not caring for it to much. The third thing, is to stay consistent with your price until they say that they will not go any lower. Only then should you raise your price to meet what the seller wants. And finally, you must only bargain if you are actually planning on getting the product. Before Tiger's mom started bargaining, each time before she did, she would ask me if I really wanted the product. Because otherwise, you are wasting your time, and the sellers time.
       
    With this knowledge of
    bargaining, I was more than ready for the Xi'an trip. At the Xi'an trip there was this very popular street market called "The Muslim Quarter." At this market, they had anything that you could think of. Jewelry, swords, small 中文 toys, sunglasses, dresses, clothes, silk etc. My first time bargaining was very interesting. I was bargaining for a picture of the Terra-Cotta soldiers. The starting price was 250 yuan. At first I has hesitant to bargain, but I really wanted the picture, but I didn't want it at the price she was giving it to me for. So I said back to her: "五十块" which is "50 yuan." She came back with 150 yuan but I did not change my price. My heart was beating fast and I was afraid she wouldn't take the offer. Finally after going back and forth for a little bit, she took the offer. Afterwards I was so excited. I was so proud of myself for bargaining with someone over a price and actually gotten it for what I wanted. It made me feel powerful in a sense that I had won something like that. After that experience, I looked forward to bargaining. I bargained over every single thing that I wanted, and 95% of the time, I got what I wanted. I love bargaining now, in a way it is something that is so fun to me. The rush of it makes it exciting, and the sense of power when you get something for what you want is also satisfying.
       
    Now I am a lot more confident in my skills at it, that I have even started doing it for other people. There have been multiple times where I had to bargain for someone else, like Abi, Izzy and even
    Ms. Bergeron. Bargaining also improves my 中文 by a lot because most if not all of my conversations are in Mandarin. I also learned that Bargaining is something LJ is very good at and we have done it together sometimes and we have always done good. So far I have also developed some other Strategies to use while bargaining. So far, bargaining and shopping are one of my favorite things to do in 中国, which in a way makes me feel bad because there are so many other things that could be just as exciting. Although I admit that that the excursions and trips to unbelievable places are exciting and fun, bargaining leaves a different feeling and showcases a different part of China that I find very interesting and fun.


    May252017

    POSTED AT 11:24 PM

    One of the most fun nights that I've had since I've gotten here was when Cindy's family and I made dumplings. 我玩得开心 (I had so much fun.) We had so much fun making a mess and trying to learn how to close the dumplings. We made the filling first. You put the meat into the pan and cook it in oil. They you add the vegetables and spices. We used pork, leek, and a flower from a famous tree in China. 这朵花是苦的 (The flower is bitter.) Cindy's dad had already made the dough, and when we got home from our bike ride to the market to get the flowers for the filling, he had been kneading it the whole time. It is a very hard task to make dumpling dough correctly because you need to knead it for a really long time and it needs to be a perfect balance of butter, flour, salt, milk, and a few other ingredients. 其成份为重要的是得到正确 (It is very important to get the correct ingredients)
         
    I have noticed that in China, people put a lot of work and care into their food, more than in America. In China, making the food is a very important part of cuisine. We let the dough rise for a while and then rolled it into thin logs. We cut them into inch long cubes and then rolled each one of the cubes into a circle. Cindy's dad taught me a way of making a perfect circle. You take one of the cubes and flatten it with your thumb. Then, you take a rolling pin and hold one edge of the flattened cube and roll away from your hand and then back again. Next, you switch your grip and do it again. You do this until you have a circle with a diameter of about 3 inches. It is super hard to do it correctly, but once you finally figure it out it is pretty easy. After you have a bunch of circles, then you grab a little chunk of the filling with chopsticks and put it right in the middle. You fold the dough around the filling and pinch the top together. You pinch around the top on each side and fold the ends in and then pinch them together. After we finished doing to all of the dumplings, Cindy's dad put them into the pot and then let them boil for five minutes. They were so good and I was super proud that I made dumplings.
         
    It was super fun to make them not only because I gained another skill in the kitchen, but we talked the whole time we were making it. I learned so much about my family, and they learned a lot about me, I felt like we bonded a lot more over making dumplings and then eating them. 饺子是很好的吃 (The dumplings were good to eat.) 他们是咸的有点辣 (They were salty and a little spicy.)


    May252017

    POSTED AT 11:05 PM

    One of my favorite things to do in China is shop. Every time we go to any site, I am drawn to the gift shop. The thrill of getting something cool for a very cheap price excites me. There is this amazing place in downtown Beijing called the Silk Market. This market is a 6 floor shopping mall, full of fake items. I have not come across a store there that I cannot bargain at. I have bought six pairs of shoes there. One for me, one for my mom, and one for some of my friends. It will be a hassle to bring them back to America, but I'm excited to see the happy look on their faces. The Silk Market has almost everything you could possibly need, and is a huge tourist attraction full of foreigners.
       
                  During this trip, I have discovered my love for bargaining. I don't know why, but it thrills me so much. I was buying a jade turtle
    in Xi'an for my grandmother. I asked the store keeper 这个多少钱? (How much is this?) She responded with 六百五十, (600 yuan). I said 太贵了 (too expensive) and I started to turn. As I turned, she asked me how much I wanted it for. I knew it wasn't worth more than 200 yuan, so I said 一百元 (100 yuan). She countered with 二百二十元 (220 yuan) and I said 一百五元 (150 yuan). This went on for a couple of minutes before we settled for 170 yuan. I felt so happy for the rest of the night, and it helped boost my courage when it came to bargaining. The other day, 我们去前门 (We went to Qianmen). 前门 (is a very old streets with many small shops, right next to 天安门 (Tian an men) square. We spent several hours going shop to shop just browsing. I only bought one thing. It was a traditional Chinese black shirt, but I didn't get too good of a price because the man was not willing to change his price. Every time I bargain, I get better.
         
                Another reason I enjoy bargaining so much is because it is a good chance for me to practice my Chinese. I have gotten more confident, and been able to speak more clearly, partly due to bargaining. Most of the shop keepers only speak Chinese, so it really tests your
    ability to speak and understand Chinese. It is a really cool experience and I have never had anything like it anywhere else in the world. Other cool shops include tiny streets that are full of little trinkets and cool Chinese things that are always incredibly cheap. I have also learned that shops inside some historical sites are very expensive, and it is always best to go to shops hungry for business, because they will give you the cheapest price. I have also learned that everything is cheaper in China.
         
             Overall, China has given me many more shopping experiences than America, and it has proved to be a lot of fun. Because of shopping, I have not only got to know myself better, but the other American students too. We often bargain together, this makes it more enjoyable, and it is good to have another person to back you up when you are bargaining. There have been several instances where I have gotten a lower price because I had George with me. It is a crazy trick and it works just about
    every time.


    May242017

    POSTED AT 10:17 PM

    今天我醒来,并得到了在火车同Eric,Abi,Izzy,和Eric的妈妈。(Today I woke up and got on a train with Abi, Eric, Izzy and Eric's mom to go to the Silk Market.) I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I was super excited because I had heard so much about how fun it was from LJ and George. When we arrived at the train station, we walked up a few stairs and were in a huge building with lots of floors, shops and people. I had no idea where we were, but when I asked, everyone said that this was the silk market. I was not expecting that! I was expecting a small building or even some tents with a few items in them. I was already very disoriented, but I was super excited to buy some gifts and bargain with some people!
       
    There were seven different floors. Each floor had one or two main items. One floor focused on jewelry and shoes, while another was a lot of small goodies, and another was a lot of nice silk dresses and clothing. The first store that I decided to go to was a tee-shirt shop because I had promised a few friends to buy them some shirts. I managed to get the price down from 200 to 50. I wish I could have gone down lower, but the lady wouldn't budge. 好玩! (It was fun!) We continued making our way around the floor. There were many aisles and each side of the aisle had stores, so as you were walking, you could go into one if you liked what you saw. I went into many stores, but I really enjoyed the ones with the cute clothes and jewelry.
       
    Izzy, Abi and I all entered one store together that sold backpacks. Izzy really liked this red one, but it was 太贵了!(Too expensive!) We tried to bargain with the woman, but she ended up getting really mad at me because I dropped the price too low. I kept saying, "她是个学生。她年轻。她没有钱。让她有袋子150元." ("Oh, but Izzy is only a student. She's so young. She doesn't have money. Please just let her have this bag for 150!") The woman ended up throwing her chair on the ground and Izzy, Abi and I left. It turned out okay though because Izzy did end up getting the bag, but she got it for 200.
         
    After a few hours of shopping, we ended up getting pizza for lunch. This was the first time I had had pizza since I left America, and it was so good. I had a really fun time eating it and thinking about how excited I was to eat more American food when I went back home. Although I love all of the Chinese food, like 饺子,包子,面条,和饭,我也喜欢汉堡包,冷水,和比萨。(Dumplings, buns, noodles and rice, I also like hamburgers, cold water and pizza.)
         
    After lunch, we ended up doing a little more shopping and bargaining. I got a lot of things, like bowls, shirts, bracelets, bags, and some other small trinkets. My feet hurt from walking so much, but overall 今天非常好!(it was a really good day.) I know that I could never find something like this in America, so I was really happy that I could go to the silk market and spend my whole day there!


    May232017

    POSTED AT 12:08 AM


    At first, I thought that learning Mandarin would be really hard but it was surprisingly a lot easier than I thought. Most people think that Mandarin is the hardest language to learn. I thought that it was before I came to China but know that I am here and have the language surrounding me at all times, I actually find it very easy to learn if you put time into it and work hard. Having support and being willing and interested in learning about the Chinese culture is also a great way to learn because it makes you want to read about everything that is going on and find new places to go and explore.
       
    In China, we have Mandarin class. In class, we learn simple things like directions, food and flavors, and objects such as a cabinet, TV, movies, chair, desk, etc. The first test for the Mandarin class was really hard because I didn't know how to totally study for it but Han Laoshi, the Mandarin teacher, was so nice and let me retake it the next day. By the time the second test rolled around I had been surrounded by so much Mandarin that It was so easy to study for it. I learned 22 characters in a week and felt really good about the test.
       
    At school, not only in the classroom, I learn a lot of Mandarin also. I have learned how to say 不客气 (you’re welcome), 好吃 (it tastes good), and 一点点 (a little). All the little kids are so helpful when it comes to learning Mandarin because some of them are learning it too. Did you know that students have to take Mandarin and English? If you think about it, it is just like America. We have to take a language, in their case English, and we take English class. In their Mandarin classes, they actually learn characters that are harder- sort of like vocab tests for us.
       
    At home learning, Mandarin is different from in class. The things I learn at home are more relatable to everyday life. I learn things like 阵雨 (shower) and 洗手 (wash hands) to 走吧 (let's go) and 超市 (supermarket). Learning Mandarin at home is also a lot easier than at school because there are fewer distractions and I can get more direct help from Eric. Another big thing at home that I learn is simple conversational language. Both of my Chinese parents don't speak English. At dinner, they take out their phones and help translate things for me. I like it because I can also help them with their English. When Eric is out with friends I love talking with my 妈妈(mom) because she is so willing to learn.
       
    Lastly, I found our exchange group was learning more from each other than in actual Mandarin class or outside the school. We are all so willing to learn and share that whenever we learn something new we all have to tell everyone. Most of the time it is LJ, George, and Arden helping Izzy and me, but we still are learning tons from each other and helping each other as much as possible. Learning Mandarin In China has been really easy and I hope that now I know how to learn it and memorize it I will be able to learn it a lot easier in Wayland.


    May232017

    POSTED AT 12:04 AM



    A Childhood Memory 五月十四日 (May 13)
       
    Because I come from an 中文 (Chinese) background, and I grew up in an 中文 household, a lot of memories of certain things have been coming back to me. The way the culture and the lifestyle is played out is very familiar to me. I have also regained certain memories that I have retained over the past couple of years. Anything can remind me of my childhood, from food all the way to lifestyle, anything that seems familiar to me brings back new memories. This is really cool to me, because like I said, it reminded me of things that I have not thought about in years. The most memorable that has happened to me, was on the last day that we were at Xi'an. Grace and Laura brought us to a buffet as a way of celebrating our time in Xi'an and to treat us before we left back to Beijing. The restaurant had many cool foods, from noodles, to sauced pork even to sushi. I ended up getting 面,(Noodles) 牛肉(Beef) and some 饭(Rice) for 午饭(Lunch) that day and went to sit down at the table where everyone else was eating. Already with the food I was eating I was already being reminded of times as a child eating these foods.
       
    When I was a little boy, my 妈妈 (Mom) would make lots of different kinds of 中文 food for me. She would make 面, 饭, an assortment of different dishes, each one with distinct flavors. Even now I can still say that she was probably the best cook I ever knew. Although there were many things that she made for me, my favorite thing to eat was this 包子 that was filled with an 鸡蛋 (Egg) custard. The 中文 name this food is 奶黄包. I can't describe the taste of this food exactly. The best way I can describe it is a Chinese 包子,(Bun) with a yellowish custard inside that is very sweet. Although it is made of 鸡蛋, you can't taste it, you can only taste the 甜(sweet) creaminess of the custard inside the 包子. The 包子 itself is usually hot, but bearable enough to eat. But once you take a bight into the 包子, the hot steamy custard flows out filling your mouth with a 甜 creamy flavor. This was my favorite food that my 妈妈 had ever made for me. She would make it as a snack, desert or even if we were just watching a movie and needed something to eat. My brother also loved this food and all three of us would sit on the couch watching Disney films like Cars or Toy Story. The unfortunate thing is that I never got the recipe for the 包子s, or a store where I could buy frozen ones. So when my 妈妈 passed away, I unfortunately never got to know how to make it. I never even asked for the name so I was never able to ask anyone how I could get them. The last time I can remember having the food was when I was 7 years old, over 8 years ago.
       
    When I was eating my food, I looked over at Arden. Something on her plate caught my eye. It was a white 包子, with a bite taken out of it, inside was yellow creamy like filling. I asked Arden what it was and she said that she had no idea what it was and she just got it to try it. I couldn't help from staring at it. "Is that really what I think it is?" I asked myself. I asked Arden where she got it and she pointed me in the direction. I walked over to the place where they had the bread and pastries and looked into the tray holding the 包子s. Inside were white, perfectly semi-circular smooth 包子s. I picked one up and immediately got a rush of recognition. I was skeptical though, because I had had this happen to me a couple times, where I thought it was the yellow custard, but was instead filled with red bean paste. I couldn't wait until I got back to my seat, because I wanted to try the 包子 right then and there to see if it was really the 包子. The excitement that washed over me was to overwhelming so I immediately took a small bite into the bread, and my teeth immediately sunk in. And I took a chunk of the 包子 away. Inside a familiar yellow custard flowed out, and familiar sweet flavor from the custard and dry flavor from the bread filled my mouth. I could hardly contain myself. I swallowed the rest of the 包子 whole, grabbed 5 and walked back to the table.
       
    I was so busy eating them I only had 3 by the time I got back to the table. I sat down and was finally able to just take in the taste of the 包子s. The taste brought back so many memories which I hadn't thought about in so long. I remember all of the times with my 妈妈 and how she would make the 包子s for my brother and I. I remembered all of the memories like sitting on the couch watching movies while we nibbled on the 包子s. It was actually a 妈妈ent where I was able to drown out everything else around me and just think back on these memories. I had no idea that a food would be able to do this for me. LJ noticed that I was just sitting there staring at the 包子 and he asked me if I was ok. I told him and everyone else about the story on the 包子s and Ms. Bergeron commented on the story saying how cool it was that I was able to connect back to a memory like that. Although many of things like this has happened to me while in 中国, the Yellow Custard Bun (my new name for it) has had the most memorable and most impactful thing for me.
       
    Ms. Fong told us at the beginning of the trip that we would have 妈妈 (moments) like this, but I did not believe her until I actually experienced it firsthand. Being reminded of these memories has made the 中国 experience 10x better for me.

    (photo credit: http://www.chinasichuanfood.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/custard-buns-11.jpg)

     


    May162017

    POSTED AT 11:31 PM


    Hello to anybody reading this and I hope you are having a great day. Today I will be telling you, dear reader, many Chinese stereotypes that are false.
       
    First off, we have the common," all Chinese people do all day is study." While that may be true in some cases, it is never entirely true. I have met many students while in 中国 (China), and only a few of them instantly go home after school every day and study. Maybe once or twice a week if they have a ton of 作业 (homework), but it is still very uncommon. Normally after school, they 打篮球 (play basketball) or some other form of sports. Some days, from 4:00 till 4:45, they have a break and the students can do whatever they want. Almost the entire school goes outside to play various sports and other activities. The other day, I learned that there is a group of students who bring Chinese yoyos to school every day to play with them during their break. Because of the Chinese yoyo students, and a lot of time from George, I can now play Chinese yoyo fairly well, and I learned how to play in two days (not trying to brag). All the Chinese students love, and cherish all of their breaks, due to their long school day.
       
    One of the biggest myths there is about 北京 (Beijing) is the pollution. Everybody thinks that the pollution in Beijing is terrible and everyone wears a mask, that is far from the truth. Whenever my parents or I told anyone that I was going to 北京 their first response would be "Oh my gosh that’s amazing!" And then they'd say "Oh my gosh, it's too bad that you'll have to wear a mask whenever you go outside!" I always smiled and said something positive like "Oh it's getting better." But it always annoyed me because I knew it wasn't as bad as the rumors say in 美国 (America). So far there have been at most 5 days with a cloudy sky due to pollution, but the air is still fine. Almost every day we've been here, there has been a 蓝色的天空 (blue sky). It's amazing. However, there are still some people who wear masks, but it's mainly due to the fact that in spring, there are many white floaty seed things that can easily get into your mouth and get you sick. I personally, have not swallowed any yet, but one has gone in my 鼻子 (nose).
       
    The final stereotype I will be debunking is the one about Asians being antisocial, and to be honest, this is one of the things that surprised me most, not that they'd be super antisocial, but how welcoming and kind to us they are. I didn't know what to except on my first day of school in 中国 (China), but I'm glad I didn't because it was a pleasant surprise. Everybody loves us, we are like rock stars. The students always says 你好 (hi) and are always kind to us. But this stereotype is more about how they interact with each other. The JSYY students are incredibly social with each other, and are always making others feel welcome. Most of the boys 打篮球 (play basketball) together and the girls 打排球 (play volleyball), or other activities together. Everybody also helps each other out when it comes to homework. 我最喜欢景山远洋高中! (I really like JSYY High School!)
       
    I have learned from experience that whenever you travel to a new place, always ask somebody who has been there before about the place you are going to. This is because a lot of the time, whatever you think you know about a place is wrong. I have learned to keep an open mind when going places. Let's say you talk to someone that went to Rome about Rome, but they hated it. You can't judge the entire city from one person's opinion and you have to keep an open mind, so you can accept more of the culture, and learn for yourself what the place is really like.


    May152017

    POSTED AT 10:11 PM

    The difference between 學校 (school) life in 中国(China) vs. 美国(America)::
       
    Our 學校 life here and in 美国 is very different from the Chinese kids 學校 life. They have almost double the amount of 家庭作业 (homework) that I have on a given night, and they all take extra classes after 學校or on the weekends. Wayland doesn't even offer weekend classes. 中文学校是有趣 (Chinese school is interesting).
       
    In 美国 weekends are for sports, church or even just for family time. We still have 家庭作业 but there are no classes on the weekends because we need a break from 學校 In 中国, many of our exchange students haven't come on outings with us because of the amount of work they have. It is sad that they have so much work that they can't experience the same things we experience, but the trip is right around a couple of big tests so they have been even more focused on 學校 then they normally are. While I think it is very impressive how smart and how dedicated to 學校 these students are, I think that people need to take a break from 學校 to experience various things in life. It is unfortunate that sometimes 家庭作业 comes before hanging out with your friends or spending more time with your family because I think both of these parts of your life are equally if not more important than 學校.
       
    All of the exchange students have talked to us about staying up late at night to finish homework. The first time Cindy told me this, I thought she meant she stayed up until 11 p.m. because on the nights that I have the most 家庭作业, I am up until about then. One night towards the very beginning of our trip, so I was still pretty jetlagged, I woke up in the middle of the night, at 2 a.m. I wanted water and I knew my water bottle was on the table outside of my bedroom. I walked out to go get it, and everything was super dark. I was being super quiet and moving quickly so I didn't wake anybody up while getting my water bottle. I looked over to my left and saw Cindy working on her 家庭作业. It scared me because I thought nobody was awake, and I slipped and almost fell. Cindy and I started laughing but she quickly returned her attention to her 家庭作业, and I went back into my room. The next morning I asked Cindy what she was doing awake at 2 a.m. and she told me that she was finishing her 家庭作业. It was super surprising to me because she had so much 家庭作业 and it took her such a long time.
       
    Another difference between the 學校 in 美国 and the 學校 in 中国 is in the elementary 學校. In the elementary 學校 here in Beijing, the kids all have more responsibility and they are given more trust then in 美国. I think in some cases it is good that the teachers give them more trust but in some cases its risky. We take a class called Selective with the elementary schoolers. Selective is one of the hardest classes that we have because it takes a lot of patience and strength to carve Chinese characters in to the stone. You paint the characters on the stone with calligraphy paint, but if you mess up you need to wash the paint off and start over. I messed up a lot. After you get the correct characters on the stone then you use a knife to carve out the lines in it. It takes a long time to do each line because it needs to be really deep and straight. If you stray off of the line and make an indent in another part of the stone, you have to sand down the stone and start over. It takes a really long time to sand it down completely, and after a while it hurts your hand. It does take a while and it's pretty hard but it is also one of the coolest things I've ever done. It is interesting to think about how different the art classes are here than in 美国. In elementary 學校, art wasn't really that fun because all we got to do was water color. They didn't trust us to do things like carve stone with knives. I think that in Wayland some of the teachers need to put more trust in the kids and the kids need to earn that trust from the teachers by not doing dangerous things.
       
    There are many similarities but many differences as well. I think the level of homework they have requires a lot of time and energy and it takes away from the Chinese students sleep. I also think that arts and crafts in 中国 are super cool and important for kids to have a class where they can relax. It is cool that they let young kids use knives to carve into stones, and they incorporate some history while teaching them more about carving your stamp. They are still learning from the teacher, but as far as I can see they have a lot of fun.


    May142017

    POSTED AT 10:37 PM

    English Corner - 四月十七日 (April 17)
       
    So
    far, I have found that 英文 corner has become my favorite event to do at school. 英文 corner is when all of the 同学 (students) from 美国, go to visit a group of kids to talk with them. The kids can range from kids in 一年级 (first grade) at the primary school all the way up to seniors 十二年级 in the high school. Our job as ambassadors of America, is to simply talk to these kids. We are broken up and we have to find a small group of kids to start a conversation with. By doing this, we have very random conversations with them , it improves their 英文 because we are having "unscripted" conversations. I have noticed that in 英文 corner, the younger kids have been easier to interact with than the high schoolers. Mrs. Bergeron told us that this is because the high schoolers are a lot more embarrassed if they mess up on their 英文. With the high schoolers I also find it a little harder to find things that everyone in the group likes. As of writing this, we have only had 3 英文 corners. The one I will be talking about in this journal entry is the most recent one we had. Today, during our lunch block we had to go to grade 二(two) class 五(five). After lunch, all five of us walked over to the primary school.
       
    S
    ince Lj and I walk fast, we got to the class first. When we got to the class, we stood outside of the door waiting for everyone to catch up. The door was wide-open and all the 同学 in the class could see us. As soon as the 同学 got a glimpse of us in the door, they exploded into screams. Everyone jumped out of their seat and trampled over each other to get to the door. The first child to reach the door stopped to say hello, but was cut off mid-sentence by the wave of kids behind him. Everyone started screaming "Hello" and "Nice to meet you." To get into the classroom, we had to go through the back door because of the congestion at the front. The kids practically dragged LJ and I to a few stools that were set up in the back of the room. We sat down and the kids immediately started crowding us. They introduced themselves in 英文 and even asked what our names were. LJ and I were impressed with the amount of 英文 that they could speak. They started showing us their favorite books to read and gave us pencils. There was a little boy at the back of the class who gave me more pencils and talked to me about how he was obsessed with Bear Grills. The boys 英文 name was James. Finally, Arden, Abi and Izzy made it to the room. Once they walked in, the room exploded once again with shouts, screams and the voice of the teacher telling the kids to sit in their seats.
       
    Once all the kids were settled and in their seats, the teacher brought up
    同学 one by one to present something. One girl showed a video of her dancing, another showed a painting that she had made, and another showed traditional 中文(Chinese) Calligraphy. The student who showed the calligraphy took the painting and was supposed to give it as a gift to one of us. He chose to give the gift to me, which was really cool. Another child showed us a 中文 card game, that is much like Yu-Gi-oh or Pokemon and he ended up giving each of us some playing cards so that we could play on our own. For a little while, James and I were trading cards and he talked to me about Bear Grills.
       
    After that, it was our turn to present. We each got up at the front of the room and introduced
    our self. This was something that none of us were prepared for. In fact, for the first 30 second that we were up there, none of us knew what to say or do so we were just standing up their awkwardly. Arden eventually broke the ice by starting to tell the children about school in America. We all went down the line talking about different things. LJ talked about classes and I talked about sports.
       
    After we were done, the
    同学 started asking for autographs. This was a little weird for me at least because no one had ever asked me to write an autograph for them. There were around 15 kids lined up asking for my autograph. A little girl even asked to take a picture with me. But by far my favorite part of this experience was at the end. After we took a picture with all of the 同学, James, the boy from earlier came up to me in all of the Chaos of screaming 同学. He looked up at me with his dark brown eyes and said: "I like you" in his small squeaky voice. It’s a small and dumb thing, but it is maybe the cutest thing anyone has ever said to me; I even gave him a hug after it. It was sad to leave all the 同学. I could have stayed there for hours just talking to them.
       
    英文
    corner is probably my favorite part of the school day. We get to play with little kids and teach them 英文 all while having a good time. I look forward to all the future 英文 corners that we will be having.


    Apr262017

    POSTED AT 03:21 AM

    Sleeping like a burrito at Peter's house.
       

    There are many unexpected cultural differences I have experienced while in China. First off, you eat every meal at home out of a bowl. It was really weird for me at first, but now I'm used to it. You just grab what you want out of several bowls in the center with your chopsticks, and you put it on top of your bowl of rice. It took a lot of getting used to, with the idea of germs and everything, but I am now used to it.
       
    Another unexpected difference is the bathroom. There are two big differences in the bathrooms here. First is the toilet. The toilet water is blue and when you flush, blue water fills the old water's place. I have never seen that before China, it is pretty cool to watch. Also the toilet has two buttons on it. One for a small load and one for a big load. I think that the two-button system is a good idea and helps save water. If you just have the handle, then you might be wasting a gallon of water on a little that needs to be flushed and that is wasteful. Also, at least in my house, the seat is always left up. The other big difference is the shower. Instead of a separate section for a shower in the bathroom, there is just a nozzle in the corner. You just shower in the bathroom and the water slowly moves into the drain on the floor. I think this is because Chinese people live in apartments, and by having small bathrooms with built in showers, they are making the most of their space. It was very weird for me on the first day because I was so shocked. Now the bathroom shower is normal.
       
    One thing that was pretty
    (embarrassing) was on my first night I got into bed wrong. At my house in China you sleep like a burrito on a blanket, on a board of wood. The blanket covers the board, and the comforter is like the tortilla of the burrito. On my first night, I tried to sleep like I do in America, under all the sheets. Peter was watching me, and as I was trying to climb into bed, Peter said, "Maybe you should do it this way, let me show you." He said it so nice, but it was so embarrassing.
       
    One of the biggest differences in China is the school. Even though it is one of the best high schools in Beijing, the students are so nice. I thought they would be super focused on school always, but instead, they always go out of their way to let us join their activities. Everybody loves us and always tries to talk to us; I love it. All the students act like we are the best thing that ever happened in their school, and are always trying to get us to join them in various activities. I often play basketball with some of my new Chinese friends after school. It is really cool to be the person that everybody loves.
       
    We are also the only non-Chinese people, and we stand out. In America, when the students came from China, none of the Wayland students really noticed that they were just a part of our school for 2 months. This is probably due to the fact that Wayland is such a diverse place and there are plenty of Asians at our school. But here it is incredibly different. I think next year WHS should have the exchange students introduce themselves to the sophomores and freshman. Another thing we should do is have the Chinese students take more art classes and fewer academic classes. The exchange students in have a huge workload in America, but in China we have mainly art classes that enhance our knowledge of Chinese art and culture.
       
    A huge difference that is scary is the drivers. The most dangerous part of China is the intersections. Drivers don't care, and sometimes they just go, and don’t care about the pedestrians on the crosswalks. 
    On one of my first days I went out to dinner and on the way back I almost got hit by a moped. After that, I learned to always be alert on the dangerous streets of 北京 (Beijing).