Our First Day in Yangzhou

by Noah ’17

We begin the day with our host families. I woke up early, about 6 o’clock, and was greeted by my host mother who, in Chinese, said to me that my host brother is extremely lazy because he was still asleep. It was probably the first laugh I have exchanged with my host mother, which allowed me to relax and ease into my house even more. She then brought breakfast out – spicy vegetables, rice porridge, and my personal favorite, baozi, a thick, doughy pastry often filled with meat or vegetables. I think that is one of the dishes that is helping me to arrive at the conclusion that I was meant to be Chinese. Since I’ve been here, I have filled my plate with more food than imaginable. It is one of the many aspects of the country’s culture that I will miss dearly.

After breakfast, we all headed to the high school to say goodbye to our brothers and sisters and head off to Slender West Lake. Slender West Lake is an imitation of the West Lake in Hangzhou that also has scenic spots dispersed throughout. Sites such as the White Pagoda and 24 Bridges in juxtaposition to the lake and various small gardens made for such a scenic hour of touring. While we were touring, a group of Chinese tourists stopped us and asked us to take several selfies with them. Since we have been in China, I have noticed how often foreigners, in particular Americans, are regarded almost similar to celebrities. It was quite an experience, to say the least.

Lastly, we prepared our lessons for the beginning of our classes tomorrow. I was honestly quite nervous to begin, mostly fearing that these children, who could be no more than about twelve, would not understand one word of mine, and so my efforts would be null and void. Even still, I feel as though teaching can be accomplished through several means, even if the language barrier is present. I feel as though this trip will help me come to realize that, and also help me make fair judgment on the difficulties of teaching.

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