Sunday, July 19, 2009

Things from Qingdao

First off, we were approached Monday by a professor on campus (one that we don't know) and he asked if we could speak chinese (me, Jackson, and Garrett) then asked if we would be willing to go on Tuesday to the local beach to hang out with some 12 and 13 year old kids to just interact (in english and chinese). We had no idea what was really going on with that, but we said ok. Tuesday he picks us up in a cab, we go to the beach, there are tons of people there (we live about 10 minute drive from the beach), and there is a group of about 20 kids in blue t-shirts. We introduced ourselves in english and chinese (a few kids could understand okay, but the majority were lost) and we spent the next 4 hours just playing at the beach. We were in the water for a while, and eventually settled on building a huge sand castle/hill with a network of moats around to keep the tide from reaching the castle. That was fun. Then the head teacher wanted us to teach the kids a song, so the three of us talked about it and I decided the Hokie Pokie might be the best idea. So the head teacher had me put on a portable mic and speaker and i stood in the middle of this circle of kids teaching the hokie pokie. They did really well with it, and really enjoyed it. At the end I was singing and not moving, and the kids had to listen to what part of the body to put in and out and they did well. A few came up to me after and said i was a good dancer...haha...

One girl, Zhan (english name, Jan) talked to me a bit. She's 13. We talked about her school, about what she thinks about the big college entrance exams (because she'll start preparing for that within the year...). I also learned the group is from the furthest city away from the east coast of China (in Xinjiang province). This was their first time seeing the beach and ocean (just a class trip/vacation before summer break). She loves going on-line, loves to run, and has no idea what she wants to do when she grows up, as is the case with the all chinese kids i've met.

The other neat thing that happened this week was yesterday. We all decided to go to the beach (on our own) for the first time. Just to chill. So we went, played in the water for a bit, then got on the beach (inland a ways) and started building a sand castle. But as we were each building our own thing, I began making a dragon head instead of a castle, and the rest joined in and we ended up spending about 2 or 3 hours building this 10 foot long dragon that attracted mobs of people. People were standing around for a good hour before leaving, and they just kept coming and watching and taking photos of us, or they'd come stand near it and take photos with it. We liked the attention. We plan to go back in a couple weeks and make a bigger something and see if we can't get in the paper a 4th time (well, me and jackson have each been in the news 3 times sofar).

Last Friday we went out to some clubs and danced and such. Twas fun. I normally don't do that, but we all had a place to stay (one of the upper level students has an apartment so we just slept there, all 6 of us). Today we are going out to eat breakfast, and then buy some HSK (the standard chinese proficiency test) prep material just because we want to see what's in it. I feel like my speaking has been pretty off lately, but my listening has been fine, and I've finally started to read the paper. It's cool... I can now read the paper... not the easiest thing, but I can get through 2 or 3 articles a day.