On Monday we tried to find a Buddhist Temple on the outskirts of town, we actually found out where it was. But we couldn’t go in because they were making preparations for the Mid-Autumn Festival that weekend. We’ll have to go back again when they’ve taken down all the decorations. One of the girls in our city, Sarah, had a birthday so we bought a cake and watched the Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It’s a great movie and helps encourage us to go out and explore China and do cool things.
Tuesday we stayed indoors because I had to do homework for my online class and Aaron had to prepare his lesson. I went to go teach that afternoon, but it turned out they didn’t have any students for me, so I met up with a couple of the girls in my city and we went window shopping in Down Town Kunshan. I’m planning on buying some clothes here, but I haven’t decided how much and we haven’t found the cheap markets yet. We still need to explore more!
Wednesday Aaron and I went looking for a small Buddhist Temple and we also went into the most famous mall in Kunshan. We looked around the mall and it’s so fancy! the layout of the mall is found so the inside is hollowed out and you can look all the way up to the 7th floor. We also found a sushi place at the top, so that was really exciting and Aaron was a good sport and we split a sushi roll. We taught at our school for just one hour and because there weren’t enough kids who came today Aaron and I taught together.
On Wednesdays, we teach “Story Time” which is basically when we spend one hour reading a 10 page (or so) book to about 8-15 kids (depending on the day). It’s become my favorite class to teach because you have a lot of freedom . You basically just teach them words you find in the book and play lots of games with them and they love it. The kids here are so sweet and cute. I feel bad for them because they’re forced to attend classes, but they love playing games with us. The game we played was where we have them walk around (and we repeat walk) and then when we say “sleep” they fall to the ground and pretend like they’re asleep. They loved it! I have to remember it because it was such a success. I had one of the little kids following me and tugging on my shirt the whole time. He was adorable. And it was actually kind of hard to participate for me because there were so many of the kids, and a lot of them were crowding around us.
Thursday we did more homework and class preparation and hung around the house. Then Aaron went to class and I went to my school for training. This is the second week I’ve been doing this training at Scholastic and the first couple days were the worst. I was so frustrated because they wanted me to be bubbly and talk in a high pitch voice and be really animated. I’m none of those things. My voice is low and relaxed and I’m only animated when I talk about something I’m passionate about, which does not happen to be the alphabet song believe it or not. But this week, after the training, I realized my teaching really did improve and my classes were better. Moral of the story, I hate doing things that are hard, but they do help and pay off in the long run. Plus I’m enjoying teaching there a lot more now, and I’m sure the kids do too.
As I’ve been frustrated with the teaching methods and the teachers at the school, I’ve tried to remember that I’m not here for me, I’m here for the kids and to help them learn English. When I remember that it’s become a lot easier and it’s (slightly) easier to keep my unkind thoughts to myself (not that I tell the teachers, I mostly use to vent to Aaron).
Friday I woke up and did, you guessed it, more homework. Then I met up with Kayla and Trevor, the other couple who is teaching in our city, and we visited… another temple! This one was pretty small, but it was still such a reverent place. Then we hung out in their apartment and played cards and talked. I taught later that evening and then Aaron and I went and hung out with Sarah, Natalie and Brenchi, the three single girls in Kunshan.
Saturday is always kind of boring because we pretty much teach the whole day. Sorry for nothing super interesting.
Sunday we went to church and then in the evening we went to the Mid-Autumn Festival celebration at a temple. It was nice we knew the way (because it was the same temple we couldn’t visit from Monday). They lit up the entire temple and had tons of lantern displays so that was really cool.
We decided for our long break (Oct. 1-7) we’re going to Xiamen. We’re pretty excited about it. The sad part is after spending all that time learning Mandarin Chinese, the main language in Xiamen isn’t Mandarin Chinese. It’s Minnan Chinese; adialect. I might not be able to communicate anything, or even order dinner. *sigh* back to pointing…
I was looking the orphanage up on the web too and read a lady’s blog about her adopting a little girl there! It was a couple years ago so she’s probably a few years old. But it was cool to read about another mom who adopted a girl from Xiamen. She’s also Christian, but not Mormon. Married and has two other blonde haired kids. It’ll be an interesting family dynamic. Obviously you’ll realize sooner you’re adopted if your siblings don’t look like you. Or at least that something is off.
Everyone who I talk to tells me Xiamen is a really beautiful city. So I’m ecstatic about finally seeing it. Also being able to tell people I’ve been to the city I’m from. People always ask me that when I tell them I’ve been to China, as if that’s the only reason to go. Also, apparently it’s also a very “romantic” city for couples.