So guess what. I’m in Guangzhou, in Guangdong, in the south of China.
Thursday, July 1: orientation in SF. Was given teaching placement for Taiwan. Kind of disorienting. Ironic, isn’t it. Flight at 1:30am that night. Family drove up to the SF airport to see me off.
Friday, July 2: arrived in Taipei, Taiwan. Bus to Ming Chuan University, whose dorms we stayed at during the entirety of our stay in Taipei. MCU is on a hill. Like, it really is on a hill. Like, you start at normal street level when you enter it, right, then you climb more than 400 steps to the top, where the dorms are. Bus couldn’t make it up the hill; it went halfway, then we lugged our luggage the rest of the way and cried. We tried our first can of Sweat from a vending machine. Taiwan is lush and green and packed. Some of us (not me) went somewhere else in the middle of Taiwan for a homestay. We wandered about Shilin but too early for the night market.
Saturday, July 3: Met up with 3-aunt, 3-uncle, cousins andy and lily and their son hong-hong (nickname… we also call him xiao mer), cousin wen-wen and her husband and their son (who is a lot older than me) who I call ah-chi. R came too. Went to the “Grand Hotel” and ate at a buffet. Fancy. (Grand Hotel is known as “Round Mountain Hotel” in Chinese. Er… “Ruean Sang” something.) Fell madly in love with hong-hong, who was shy for about 2 seconds and then wouldn’t stop running over to play with me. He played peekaboo with me all night. He would demand that my 3-uncle cover up my eyes and then I’d pop out and little mer would laugh and laugh. 3-aunt kept saying “it is fate/destiny. because of xiaobei, you know?” except in chinese, where it sounds better. (I find out later that my mom (who my 3-aunt calls “xiaobei” which means “littlest sister/treasure” cuz my mom is the littlest of five sisters) got along the best out of anybody with my cousin Andy when he was born. Ok, let’s try this again. My 3-aunt had Andy when my mom was 18. Andy loved my mom and they got along really well and my mom took care of Andy a lot when he was little. Now, Andy has a son, and I am about 19 years older than him, and I got along instantly well with Andy’s son. That is why they were all making a big deal out of saying “it is like destiny” except in Chinese where it sounds less awkward.) You can tell that I dunno I place much importance upon this. If i go on like this, I will never finish this “brief barebones writeup” that I meant this to be when I started.
Sunday, July 4: Met up with all the above relatives plus my big-aunt and big-uncle (er, “eldest-aunt” and uncle I suppose). Ate lunch. R came again. There were 3 vegetarians this time… they gave the vegetarians these special little plates with lots of courses. At night we do some lesson planning (or not).
Monday, July 5: First day of school. Our chinese coordinator Shelley took the 5 of us in our group (me, R, Lindsey, Mary, and Jai) to Ming Lung Senior High School. The MRT is clean and beautiful and marvelously easy to use and we go from Jientan station near Ming Chuang University to Rueang Sang (round mountain) station, which is only one stop away. First lesson was on family. My kids… I had 15 of them. First and second years (which is our 10th and 11th grade). 15, 16, 17 years old. 11 girls and 4 boys. Bored to tears by the way-too-easy lesson in the textbook on family. Tried to make them improvise skits. They were way too shy for that. Oh well. Combined classes with Lindsey and Mary and I led them in playing That Shoe Game (take off a shoe, take away one shoe so there is exactly one fewer shoe than there are people, then the one that is left out each turn says “everyone who _____ has to run” after which everyone who “_____” has to run to a different shoe.) Was mildly successful. After school, Shelley took us to some Japanese restaurant in uh, Fuxing I think.
Tuesday, July 6: Can’t remember anything. Lesson was on airport words. On Tuesday or Wednesday I brought in some songs for them to listen to (burned them on R’s computer)… taught them Scarborough Fair.
Wednesday, July 7: Started getting upset cuz China wanted a copy of my passport to verify that I was born in America and was an American national. Embarked upon downward spiral. Went to 3-aunt’s house to drop off laundry.
Thursday, July 8: Lesson on hobbies/entertainment. Had a fucking miserable day.
Friday, July 9: Party in class in the morning, incorporated Mary’s class cuz she was sick for part of the time. Pulled a game that involved Human Scavenger Hunt, Shoe Game, and Bingo out of my ass. Was proud of self. Kids gave me little cute gifts. Talent show (we did some skits that were TV shows that the kids made up the day before. Funny chinese jokes (“what does a cow eat? newspaper” … because in chinese, “newspaper” sounds like “cow eat paper” … har har har). Lindsey’s class did a funny skit about the titanic that had harry potter and legolas in it.
Sat, July 10: Family. Others in our group went on some “guided” tour. Cousins andy and lily (and hong-hong!) picked me up, picked cousin Bin up, we went to eat at a yummy restaurant for lunch, went to the contemporary art museum in taipei, which was cool. [the following in this day added on 7/26 at 8:25pm] In the contemporary art museum, there were some computer simulation things (like a simulation of a virus taking hold in some lungs, and some interactive things where you touched a screen and the art would change and stuff), and a room with neon lights and a fan with a glass ceiling that you could stand on, which I stood on until I remembered that I was wearing a skirt. And there was this one spinning ball that had a movie projected onto it, and it was really cool cuz you could see the movie playing both on the wall behind it, and on the actual wires of the spinning ball itself, so it looked 3-d. It was neat. And there was this one monitor that played images of the faces of famous religious statues morphing into each other called “from jesus to buddha.” and there was tons of cool stuff that I can’t remember right at this second. Then after the art museum, my cousins dropped me off with my big-aunt, and I had dinner with them. Then I went over to my cousin Wen-Wen’s apartment, which I remembered from 10 years ago–it was brand new then, and I remember playing with this table they have in a little room that sinks into the floor if you press a button, so I played with that again, and they showed me video footage from the last time I was here, which was when I was in 7th grade, and it was for Mrs. Tan’s choir tour. And then we all went back to my 3-aunt’s apartment to eat ice cream. I miss them a lot. They told me not to cry so much; I felt stronger after spending a day with them. Ryan bought me a jade fish from the jade market (he went with the tour group).
Sun, July 11: plane from taipei to hong kong. bus to guangzhou. dinner at hotel. no idea what’s going on.
Mon, July 12: flyered. continued to not know what’s going on.
you know i have 5 minutes left until i’ve spent an hour and a half on the internet here. it is time to go away. bye.