Week 3 came and went so quickly, I don’t even know where to begin. We did so many exciting things, and my food palette has finally expanded. Let’s begin with the weekend…
Saturday, there was a typhoon outside, but my host family really wanted to take me out to see Zhuhai, so we were planning to drive and tour through the rain, but once we arrived to Lover’s road, the skies cleared and we were able to cross to one of Zhuhai’s many small, but beautiful islands. We walked around along the water; it was really breathtaking. Then we went to lunch at a hot pot restaurant. My host mom ordered seven different kinds of beef, and of course I had to eat all of them. Don’t get me wrong, it was all delicious, but there comes a point where you cannot eat anymore and I for sure reached that point much earlier than seven.
Following lunch, I met up with the Duke students to visit an orphanage, adjoining the mental illness school, to play with the children. When I think of an orphanage, the only thing I have to go off of is Annie, so what I actually found in this Zhuhai orphanage was much different. It was not all song and dance and play. The children were left, many just on the streets, either because they had a mental illness at birth or were just a girl, because with the only child policy many families preferred to have a boy. Most of the time when foreigners 外国人want to adopt children from china, most likely it will be girls. In my high school, I was involved in National Chinese Honor Society, and one of our charitable endeavors every year was to raise money to give to an orphanage in China with children born with physical defects. So, for me it was so cool to finally be able to go to an orphanage in China. To my surprise, 90% of the children at this orphanage had some form of mental illness. It was both an interesting and challenging experience; we danced, played musical chairs and frisbee with the kids. It was such a heartwarming afternoon playing with them; I felt we truly made an impact on them. One of the adorable little girls took such a liking to me she hugged me and wouldn’t let go!
After returning home for dinner on Saturday, I went to go see the movie, Alice, with my host siblings. I enjoyed it, and occasionally read the Chinese subtitles to see how accurate they were. I realized that through translations, my host siblings were missing out on the best part: all the rhymes.
Sunday was such an amazing but exhausting day. My host family and I went to a different island to explore and go bicycle riding in the oldest area of Zhuhai. Snow and I rented a surrey with the fringe on top (just like at Disney World!), while my host parents and brother each rented individual bicycles. We rode through and old part of town, stopped by some famous people’s houses, and went to a beautiful beach where there were over a dozen brides and grooms taking their wedding photos. After two hours of riding, it was time for lunch. We went to this beautiful tiki restaurant, I felt like I had left China and was transported to a tropical island. After lunch, we went to the mangroves and walked around, then went to a hutong to a really cute coffee shop full of cats. Snow, Ethan and I all passed out in the car on the way home from heat and exhaustion.
This week we taught shopping in our English classes. I played “heads up” with the words for this week and all the kids really loved it. My Thursday 8th grade classes had the most amount of students who actually remembered the difficult words in this weeks lesson: discount, cashier, and bargain. It was so thrilling to see them remember the words I taught them and pronounce them correctly. I teach my host sister’s class on Tuesday and she was my highest scoring student of the week with 66 words in 60 seconds for the “heads up” game. I was so proud!
On Wednesday, the Dukies played basketball against grade 8 class 7. Although we lost, we played a strong game, making our blue devils and Coach K very proud (maybe?). And on Friday we went to a special needs school and interacted with the children there. The school, ranging from pre-school to high school, was connected to the orphanage we visited last week. One of the high schoolers was an incredible dancer and taught us many different dances to all his favorite songs.
That’s all for this week! I can’t believe we are about to start week 4. See you next week!