Tuesday, September 27, 2011

行知基地! Camping in the countryside!

From Sept 23-25th the students of 中学高二 (Zhong Hua Zhong Xue, Grade 2) attended a 3 day and 2 night trip to the countryside of Nanjing. Since they said "countryside" I put my expectations really low to start with because I didn't want to be dissapointed when I arrived :P. We all came to school and I liked the atmosphere in the classroom when I came in, it felt less tense than on a usual school day (: At around 8:00 AM all of the classes headed downstairs and went on the bus. In our grade there are 12 classes and 50 people per class…which is around 600 people in one grade O:! So, one bus is one class...which is crazy compared to the classes in America! A couple weird things I was told when packing was: pack your own Tupperware and utensils AND pack your own bed sheets and blankets!

Day 1: 
- Pottery
- Dig! [Farmer]

When we arrived, I was glad I put my expectations really low because I was happy with what they gave us! We stayed in dormitories! 12 People per dorm! I was put in the same dormitory as my host sister! The first 30 minutes were spent setting up our beds. We all had to put our own bedsheets and blankets on the beds (they were bunk beds..three on the bottom and three on the top and there were bunks on the left and right sides of the room).  After we finished setting up our beds there was a meeting where everyone outside lined up, from height order and lines were separated by boys and girls. We had to bring down these little green stools downstairs from our rooms everytime we had a meeting. They were giving us instructions to what we were going to be doing today. In the morning, we went to make pottery. It was different than what I had expected but it was still interesting! After we finished making pottery, we headed back to the dorms and it was time for lunch! Lunch time was a different experience to me because we had to bring our own Tupperware and utensils to eat with but they provided us food. After every meal we would go out to the sinks (they had a long row of sinks, at least 25 for 25 people) where we went to wash our dishes and there were also two big rubbish bins to throw out the food we didn’t eat. After lunch, we walked around five minutes to an area where we were taught how to use farming tools. It was pretty hard to actually dig, they make is seem so easy on TV! After pottery and farming we headed back to our dorms and it was showering time and also time for the students to wash their own clothes. The showering system here works much differently. The girls have one showering area and the boys also have a showering area but they all shower together…luckily I brought my bikini (; This is where I thank Hawaii…haha. After showering it was dinner time but I missed dinner because I was showering…soo I bought instant noodles and went to eat it in the cafeteria while the other kids were outside watching a movie (they had set up a movie for all of the students)! While I was eating, I met some people who came into the cafeteria and I actually spent the two hours of the movie time talking to them! But it was really fun :)

Day 2:
-       Military Training
-       Life in the Countryside
-       Pick Tea Leaves
-       Campfire

On the second day we had to wake up at 6AM but everyone in the dorm got up at 5:45 So I ended up waking up around that time too. When I woke up my back was a little sore from the beds. The beds that most people sleep on in China are wooden boards with cloth over it. The reason why is because they say it helps straighten out the backbone :P. After getting up, I washed up, changed my clothes and everyone headed downstairs to have a meeting and some we had some “military training”. Military training was so hard. We had to practice our marching, our turning and how to hold a chair in the right way. The main reason why it was hard for me was because I didn’t understand the teacher’s instructions, so I had to watch all of the others and follow their lead. Since I was a little off at times, it was a little embarrassing but when it was over I thought to myself “wow, they are really serious about this” because If we did this at school in America, I think a lot of people would think it was a joke! On this camping trip I really noticed a lot of cultural differences!

After military training we ate breakfast and then headed out to the countryside. While being here I noticed wherever we went was going to be my foot. Even in America if it is 15 minutes away, there would always be a bus that would take us! But in China we had to walk everywhere, which also surprised me but then made me realize how lazy Americans can be! We walked around 30 minutes to the countryside and I saw a lot of interesting things while being there. The land was really empty and so were the streets. Its so rare to see an empty street in China! The houses were very simple, it seemed like they only had things that were necessary for living. Houses were really small and I saw a lot of animals: goats, dogs, cats, chickens…etc. We ate lunch at one of the houses in the countryside. The family that lived in the house were: three elderly, two parents and two children. The Grandpa and the Grandma of the family cooked us lunch! They made us so many dishes and it was so delicious! The way they cooked was different than what I have seen before, there was a pot that was implanted in the counter and a fireplace under the pot that heats up the food. So right next to the fire place, they had a stack of wood. They plant their own fruits and vegitables so they don't spend money on much food.

After eating lunch we walked back to the dormitories and rested a little bit, an hour later, we all walked over to pick tea leaves. Picking tea leaves was pretty fun for the first ten minutes then it got a little boring because it was the same continuous thing. The bushes were like a maze and we were split up into groups to pick our tea leaves. I went with my closer friend, Tiffany and four other classmates that are also very nice :D After everyone finished we got to see how the tea leaves were made into actual tea. I didn’t get to see the whole process because a lot of people were crowding around the lady but I saw the part where the lady used a round heated pan and  mixed the tea leaves inside…it smelt really good!

We then spent 40 minutes walking back to the dormitories and then it was dinner…then showering/washing clothes time! Today my teachers gave me a private shower in the teacher’s room! Which was a relief….! After all of this, I headed down to the campfire! My expecations to the campfire was different than I had imagined. When I got downstairs everyone was in a big half circle (separated by class) and since there are 12 classes, it was a really big circle! They then had this huge bowl with wood and oil that they lit on fire. The campfire was basically a gathering in which all the classes come up with something to do such as dancing, singing or acting. My class’s performance was three girls and one boy doing a dance to a Japanese song. A lot of the other class’s performances were singing and dancing and there were a couple acts. A lot of the singing seemed to be more karaoke style than professional sounding, which is different than America. After the campfire we all headed to bed around 10:30.

Day 3: The last day (half day)
-       Hike

The dormitories and beds!

Military Training!


Cooking in the countryside!

All the food they cooked for us!

Empty road in china, What?!

Picking tea leaves


ChenWei and I 
The last day we all woke up at 6AM and right when I got up I changed, washed up and packed  my bags. Afterwards we had a morning meeting then ate breakfast, then headed upstairs to get my bag ready for the hike. I packed a bunch of snacks, two bottles of water and my camera. It took an hour to walk to the hiking area and once we got there most of us were so tired that not a lot of people hiked. I actually wanted to but none of my friends did so I didn’t go. We hung out there for a couple of hours, it was actually a little boring but around 11:30 we had “BBQ”. I expected meat on sticks and such but it was radish and meat soup that was heated in a big pot under a fire. Right after lunch there were a big line of busses there to drive us back to the dormitories. A lot of people fell asleep on the busride back and when we got back we went upstairs, grabbed our suitcases and we had one last closing meeting downstairs. Once that was over we all walked over to the buses and when we arrived at school we just took our luggage and found our families and headed home. When my host mom picked Violet and I up, I felt like I was at home already, it was a good feeling.

When I got home, the first thing I did was unpacked then showered! Overall, I felt like this trip was a good time to get to know a lot of my classmates better and I thought it was a great experience, from experiencing city life to country life! 

1 comment: