Monday, May 17, 2010

Day 7: TNU Primary Edu Dept.

May 7, 2010

One thing that is hard to convey to anyone not here is the different smells. You can take an image and capture part of the visual experience, also the audio with video; however, we cannot bottle and preserve all of the different smells. Driving past the garbage dump to the university again today did not bother me as much but it is still a potent pungent smell that engulfs my inner nasal cavities, lingering long enough to cause me to breath through my mouth only.

It is difficult for students in China to study abroad because there are so many trying to travel to the US/UK/Australia, and elsewhere.

Today is the Primary Education Department at Tianjin Normal University. We were late and classes had begun but were taken to a class to wait and found students waiting there. The class was taught in English by a Chinese teacher. Her English was fairly good to our standards. She appeared a little strict and the rest of the class was basically just a free-for-all talking with the students. I talked with two female students. They were shy. I took out my laptop once I saw Professor Gant showing them things on his and I decided to show pictures of our campus and of Vincent and I dancing and some of my family. We talked a little and asked/answered questions to each other. Class ended and we exchanged emails and photos.

The next class came in and it became apparent that we would be observing and participating in learning from her students, and then conversing. I was at a table with Amanda, Milah and 3 guys named David Zhang, Ivan and Augusting. I talked with David the most but we all had mostly a group conversation. David's right eye was mostly closed but I did not want to ask him about it, but now I wish I would have because I tried not to stare at it when conversing. The teacher told us to only talk about the theme of tourism and traveling...but they wanted to talk about other things. We mainly talked about China and names and etc but then she interrupted us, as Augustine (he spells it Augusting though, but maybe just in his email, I am not sure...) says she likes to do. She was interesting. She then had two girls perform a play dialogue they had practiced before. She said they usually just read or memorize but today was special for they did a short skit. It was cute and had a moral attached to it about spending more time with your children instead of working all of the time. They then asked the class questions and we were invited to participate as well. After awhile the teacher kind of looked annoyed that it was taking this long and more or less told her they were done...
Then a few different groups presented places around the world, including Tianjin, The Great Wall (indirectly), London? I forget the names of some of the sites. One girl was presenting a wall in Europe and got on a tangent of TGW and basically said it was the greatest wall and better (for my lack of better terminology) than the European wall she was presenting...and then got into tips about the GW. After awhile the teacher hurried her up. David's group was supposed to present Italy and they had notes and pictures about it but the teacher skipped to another group. Milah and Amanda told them about Detroit and a lot of places to see there. The teacher kept telling them to ask us about Chicago...where we were from...and everyone would bust into giggling spurts until after about a 7th time she found out we were from Ann Arbor... We then talked again and Augusting wanted to know what American books said about China but by then the teacher cut us off I told him we'd get in touch to talk more.

Then we played a game of telephone...tragic hahaha we staggered her students with us and played 3 or 4 games...the sentences of about 20 words were chopped dramatically down to about 2 or 5 and usually had nothing to do with the first sentence. After taking more pictures and exchanging emails we left the building for lunch. I had Caryn help me with lunch...she ordered me fried rice with just shrimp, instead of the entire seafood fried rice...but I was handed a huge plate of white rice and little shrimp sprinkled on it...I figured I would never order a meal and have it be what I ordered...but I was still hopeful. It was good, just kind of plain so Lou let me taste some of his seafood fried rice. I also ordered a smoothie and it came back as a green tea smoothie with strawberry ice cream on top in the form of pink soft serve. I am not a fan of bitter and the crushed ice tea was soo bitter but it was tolerable if I mixed the ice cream in with a spoonful of green team smoothie.

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