The reason I named this blog Open to Experience is because that is how I approach nearly every new opportunity that comes my way. This attitude has opened many doors for me so far, and many more are on their way. I recently passed my 6 month mark here in China and while the first half of my adventure has yielded many great experiences, I’m confident the second half will prove to be even better; in fact, it has already begun.
In my last post I wrote about my experience teaching kids to rock climb and how great it was. Well since then I’ve taught 4 more classes and climbed on my own many more times. I even
slept attempted to sleep under the bouldering wall one night, but the bugs had a different plan for me. In addition to my recent climbing adventures, I also played a big roll in our school’s 1 year anniversary with 5 performances and a cheerful attitude. Let’s start with the climbing school.
First let me say that it is awesome being able to climb outdoors instead of a smoke-filled pub that hates playing good music. It’s hard to beat the clean fresh air you get after a good rainstorm. Also, listening to a combination of Zhazha’s Chinese music and my own library is a refreshing change. Teaching the kids has been such a rewarding experience. They are older than the kids I teach at my school, so I can practice more Chinese with them and our collective love for rock climbing overcomes the language barrier, creating a community feel where everyone is free to be themselves.
Beyond teaching the classes at the wall, we also have climbing parties where Zhazha invites his climbing friends from the University and around the city. It’s great because I get to climb routes that are actually difficult and meet new friends who are in my age range. Always a good time.
The first night we climbed here, we didn’t stop until midnight so we slept on the crash pads under the bouldering wall you see above. As it turns out, we seriously underestimated the amount of mosquitoes and by the time we gave up around 3 o’clock, I counted 29 bites on my arms and legs. So then Zhazha decided to get his magical Chinese herb bug repellant and we slept bug-free for the rest of the night. That was until about 5:30 when the adjacent track and field filled up with elderly people having their morning walks and playing classical Chinese music. (You kids and your confounded rock n’ roll!) I decided it was time to throw in the towel and head home to my cozy apartment and rock hard bed. Always an adventure in China!
Which brings me to our school’s anniversary party. This was our biggest event since I started here 6 months ago. I’m not sure exactly how many people we had in our little center, but I counted over 100 at one point. We had numerous performances, activities, giveaways and lots of cake!
As for my role, I did a performance with my poi; performed “Take me Home Country Roads” by John Denver with Lear, one of the Chinese teachers; I performed “Jingle Bells” with 4 of my older kids, 3 of whom sang while another drummed and I played guitar; and helped both of my older English classes with their fashion shows. It was all good fun and another China experience I won’t soon forget.
Well my 6 month mark here in China has come and gone and what a ride it’s been! As always, I’m excited to see what the future holds. In my next post I’ll tell you all about my trip to Huangshan, the beautiful yellow mountains, as well as my experience being on a Chinese game show! Until then, cheers and thanks for reading!