Saturday, March 24, 2007

I came, I climbed, I won at mahjong

As is typically true here in China, a lot happened this week. Yet I don't always know what to write on here because most of it consists of "I walked to the store and everyone stared at me and talked about me and some of them sneaked up behind me to measure themselves against me to see how tall they aren't. I actually heard and understood a lot of what they were saying yet they didn't know that I understood because they assume foreigners can't possibly know Chinese and I'm pretty sure some of them would be embarrassed if they knew I had heard them." It makes everyday an adventure, but sometimes it piles up and just makes you fall into culture shock. However, I'm happy to say that this week I am NOT culture shocking. Yay!

My big adventure from this week was when I took my Friday morning class on a field trip to Sifang Shan, which generally translates as Square Mountain. Not sure why it's called that, it just is. Yvonne went with me and we had a pretty good time. The trip began when we met my class at the front gate of the school at 8:00. We all piled onto the bus and rode into the middle of town. Then we walked for almost two hours, at first through town, then through the outskirts of town at a slight incline, then up a winding mountain road at a slightly steeper incline, then up a few dirt trails that cut a kilometer or two off the trip, finally ending up on a nice trail through the woods that came out directly by the gate to the park. We arrived around 10:20 and spent the next hour and a half hanging out and playing games in the grass. It started out cloudy and a little wet, but the clouds thinned and the sun began to shine through after we reached the top. One of my students somehow finagled a mahjong table from some men working at the refreshment stand in the park, so we sat and played for a while. I surprised my students by winning 3 of the first 4 games. I warned them, but they didn't believe me. The rest of the games were more balanced, but I definitely showed them that Americans have their place in the global mahjong circuit.

We took a lot of pictures with Yvonne's camera, but they are still on her camera and not on my computer so I can't post them at the moment. I'll try to get them up in the next day or so. I think that tonight we're going to trek over to Family Pizza, the only pizza joint within 8 hours. I'm not sure why, but we haven't eaten there a single time this year. Let's just hope that they don't disappoint. I'll let you know how it goes. Peace and love.

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