Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Update 4

Hello friends,
The past several weeks have just flown by so quickly. It seems that I have been here for so long, that I have always been here.

This past Sunday I got to see 2 sisters get a "quick bath" in the dunk tank.Mt 28.19-20 It really was an incredible experience for me- it was absolutely amazing to see how precious everything was to them.

After English Corner on Thurs (which is a time that the English Major students can talk with the teacher's in an informal atmosphere) I got to talk with 2 of my students for about 5 hours. It was an incredibly time of connecting, honesty, sharing, and openness. The students names are Angelina and Astor, then I got to go with them today to Green Lake which is so beautiful and has many ethnic shops nearby. We had lunch and then looked around some more. We then went to the walking district which has many shops, some ethnic, some modern, some western. I got to talk again to my students- with them bringing up interesting topics. They also gave me some good ideas for getting students to communicate more in the classroom which has been a slight frustration, but it is partially due to culture and the language. The culture is that the student listens and doesn't speak at all, and with it not being their first language it is easy for them to think in Chinese and silently listen in English class.

It was so sad in one section of the market there were all sorts of animals for sale, black beatles,snakes, turtles, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, etc... all crammed into little cages...I felt rather sorry for them. I didn't have too much pity on the snakes, beatles, and the scorpions though--- ick!! It just makes my skin crawl!!!

On Wed I went down town with 2 of my roommates to buy somethings that we can't get at the village outside of school. We bought 2 jars of Peanut Butter to solve the creamy/crunchy solution. We also bought a jar of Strawberry Jelly, just as we reach the school bus (teachers can ride from the Yunnan Business school to the regular Yunnan school for free--vice verca) to go back home we hear a crack... we panicked thinking it was a gift we had just purchased... We all look back and our beautiful jar of jelly is lying in the road with the bottom and the top of the glass broken... unable to salvage it and in a hurry to reach the bus, we left it... by the time the bus left it was a goey mess---- we like to look at it as a gift to the homeless animals. We later discovered that the bag had split from the weight, and out rolled the jelly. :/
I have enjoyed getting to know students outside of class. I feel some times that I am too busy now to teach with my busy schedule! Monday was Teacher's day, and also our dept.'s turn to sponsor flag raising at the school. So 7:30 in the morning with our eye's partially closed the students presented the teachers with cakes, fruit baskets, donuts, flowers, and lavender sachet's. It was really sweet of them! Then our dept. had lunch together and then for dinner the school hosted a dinner for all the the teacher's. Every dept. was giving happy Teacher day speeches etc... our dean and vice dean were not present to make a speech so we were all laughing and talking about who should give a speech for our dept. Everyone was saying no, not me... then just kidding I was like ha ha I'll do it... and everyone one was like yeah, good idea... so um since sarcasm isn't so well known here--- I think I have learned when to joke around now... so I gave a speech in front of all th other teacher's... and then the president of the school came to our table and was like your speech was too short.... AcK!!! I just want to be an invisible teacher... :) I have a lesson plan to do now! I hope you all have a wonderful week. :)

Sarah Evans

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Chinese Wedding

This past weekend one of my co-workers and I were invited by a student to attend her cousin's wedding. Here are the grand events throughout this day.

First we were picked up by the student's parents who didn't know English, but she wrote us a note explaining the day to us. We then arrive at the wedding shop a little after 10 am which is where the couple takes pictures before the wedding, and the bride gets her wedding dress, hair and make-up done on the wedding day. All of her family and friends that are female are sitting and watching her get ready. She is then finished and we go to her parent's apartment where we leave to go eat lunch at this incredibly fancy restaurant. The food was good, and we were able to talk a little with the bride's brother who knew a little English.
Then the bride leaves by 12 to go get ready for the groom. She hides her shoes which he must later find.

Then we go back to the apartment and we had to eat this good luck dish that was the consistancy of steamed play dough with a red bean flavoring in the middle. It was in kinda a vinegar caramel sauce. I choked on the first one because I ate it in bites and not whole, the next one I stomached ok, and the third one I was like forget it, this is entirely disgusting. There were four dough balls, but I couldn't eat the last one without gagging... so much for good luck :)

The groom then comes to the bride's home with the bride's boquet and calls out to the bride's family on the balcony may I come up? and they call down what do you have for us? or something to that affect and he gives money gifts in a basket that has been let down by a string, the money envelopes are dispersed and he asks to come up again and they say no, and he comes and bangs on the door, he goes back down and gives more money, and then the people on the balcony say... how much do you love her, etc... do a dance to show your happiness, etc... so he does everything and they say so that he can come up. After wards he bangs on the front door with all of his relatives they finally let him in, but the bride is in a bedroom with the door locked, then he bangs on the bedroom door, where 3 questions are asked by the bride "Who will wash the dishes? Who will clean the house? Who will bear the children?" to which the groom replies I will... so then after a while and more words of love they let him in and he has to find her shoes which she has hidden... he gives them to her, then they have a ceremony of honor to the parents, and the parents give them money and then the couple bows and offers them a ceremonial tea. Then the groom carries (piggy backs) her down the stairs and the courtyard to the car caravan, which all the cars in the procession are decorated with bows and flowers and we drive in the city to let people know of their wedding. We then stop at the new apartment and have the same ceremony for the groom's parents.
Then we stopped at a park and took a lot of pictures. Jeana and I were in them as well--- the more people in the pictures the better the luck. After driving around all of Kunming and stopping at 2 parks to get pictures we then arrive at the hotel where we are told that dinner will be (4 pm) at 6 we tell our student that we need to leave, but she acts offended and asks us to please stay for dinner which should start soon, which we find out later starts at 7pm. So then we are at this incredibly fancy hotel waiting for dinner for 3 hours just sitting talking and laughing trying to stay awake while the family and wedding party scatter til the ceremony. Finally at 7 the dinner and wedding ceremony start. The bride and groom come forward and then a ceremony is said, honoring of parents, etc... They then take a bottle of wine and with a pyramid of wine glasses begin to pour wine in the top glass and the wine spills into the other glasses beneath it- this is symbolizing their eternal love. Then a few more words are said and the ceremony is finished. All the time the guests are eating (which despite the fanciness of the hotel, the dishes served were the worst I have had here.) We finally convince our student that we must leave by 8. Hooray we are driving back to the apartment- home never looked so good.

It was really cool to see all the traditions and how they have been passed down for so long here, and the reasoning behind all of it.