This morning we all met at school at 8am to compare notes about our host families, and to participate in formal introductions. Mr Wen, the headmaster of the school welcomed us in the schoolyard at an assembly of the school’s 4000 students. The students stood in straight columns as Mr. Baker gave a short speech translated by a student. We were all presented with school uniforms. After the welcoming celebration, it was time to immerse ourselves in a morning on campus.
Mr. and Mrs. Baker each taught a class for forty minutes while the students visited other English classes.
Then it was time to learn about Chinese paper cutting and calligraphy. We had excellent teachers, and everyone caught on quickly , worked on original designs to celebrate the year of the rabbit, and we were all quite satisfied with our efforts.
The learning worked both ways- at one point Jane expressed an interest in TC’s dreadlocks, and he was more than willing to give her a hands-on, up close and personal account. This was a new experience for Jane- she had only seen dreads a few times, and from a distance, so she appreciated the tactile experience!
After a quick lunch at school, we left for the Sanxingdui Museum. The museum traces the history of human civilization prior to the bronze age and moving forward. The artifacts, most importantly large bronze cast masks, were only recently discovered in the 1980’s. We had a very knowledgeable tour guide who spoke terrific English, and brought it to life for us. Driving in the school bus gives us a wonderful view of all manner of transportation- trucks loaded with cabbage without benefit of tie downs, a motor scooter so laden with loose straw that you could barely see the driver, trucks loaded with huge bales of feathers, and this scooter carrying chickens. You just can’t afford to doze off in the bus- you miss too much!
Brooks tried his hand at basketball, badminton and ping pong at school this afternoon, and made friends all over. You need only sit in the schoolyard for two minutes, and you will e approached by students eager to speak English with you.
As we write this, the last of someone’s New Year’s fireworks are erupting somewhere in the city.