First Day of School
Trip Start Dec 13, 2009
25Trip End Jan 22, 2010
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I was one of the first in the class to get in there. I was full of apprehension; just as a year 7 starting high school feels. Would I make friends? Would the class be too hard or easy? Would the teacher be nice?
Luckily my fears were cast aside once the class started. There was no time to be afraid when the class was in session. The teachers were both very nice, and they liked my Chinese name. They both have a method of picking out people from the class roll and from the room to read and answer questions, which I don't particularly like. I hate being put on the spot; I don't do well under that sort of pressure. Nevertheless, I survived, and was quite proud of myself. The teacher spoke Chinese the entire time, and I could understand every word she said. It was a great feeling, especially because I was so worried about that before. During the 20 minute break that we had in the middle of the class with a teacher swap-over, I checked the schedule for the next 5 weeks. They were providing a trip to the Great Wall tomorrow, which is very exciting and a great way to get to know my classmates, but there would also be a final exam on the 18th of January. I was not prepared for that. I thought that this course was a fun short-course, but it turns out that it is still taken very seriously. More than 28hours of being absent, and I am expelled. That is extra motivation for not missing the bus!
My classmates, from the people that I have met, are very nice. The class was very multicultural; I sat next to a Spaniard called Alberto, sitting directly in front of me was an Italian-Chinese guy (whoops, forgot his name; that will make for awkwardness later) and an American named Ben sitting behind me. There were also other Australians in Danielle and Laura that I would like to get to know better. I was the youngest member of the class; the others' ages ranged from first year uni, to a father of another uni student
We were given homework before we were dismissed. It was a relief to have finished the first day; all other days would be much easier once a routine has been established, and that's what I did today.
Rebecca's mum met me at the foot of the stairs of my building, and we chatted about class. She can't speak English, so I enjoy practicing my Chinese with her. She takes great care in speaking at a slower rate and helping me with my pronounciation. We walked to KFC to have lunch, which is another fast food place that is within walking distance of my school. We caught a taxi back home where I began to do my homework.
Rebecca's aunt had orgainsed for me to see a traditional Chinese opera, which has recently been revived after a long period of time when it was very unpopular. We had to travel for awhile to get to Beijing University, which was where it was held. We had to wait forever for the bus, and just when I thought that my legs would turn into icicles in jeans, the bus arrived.
The opera was very interesting for me. They wore beautiful traditional costumes, with large sparkly headdresses. They sang very high-pitched, even the guys could sing so much higher than I could imagine that I could! They sang most of their lines; a line may take a whole minute to sing, but ten seconds to say. They did not have what Westerners would see as an opera voice- I can only describe their singing as slightly child-like in their annuciation. It was all very sweet and innocent. The play was simple to follow in storyline but employed very complex language. Officialdom to the garden of peonies anyone?
We left at intermission because it was really late and i had to get up at 6am to go to the Great Wall the next day. We had to wait for 15mins before we could flag down a taxi so it was not until 11pm that I went to sleep