Thursday, May 23, 2013
Today we had an early start and went to breakfast at 7:15. We all seemed pretty tired but ready to start the day. My favorite food at breakfast was the dough balls with meat in it. After eating, we went to a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) class where the students in it all looked excited that American students would be joining them. Professor Dong talked to us about the processing and preparation of the different herbs. I had never really thought about the processing of them, and also because I didn’t really know that much about TCM. There are many steps such as water processing, fire processing, and combinations of the two. We learned that different tastes mean and interact with the body to do different things. For example a pungent taste promotes the circulation of Qi, which is the energy within the body. Different color foods correspond to certain organs. Black foods help the kidneys, yellow for the spleen, and red for the heart. I think we are all excited to start practicing using TCM in future classes this week.
After the TCM class we went to WUSHU. We played a fun game that was like basketball where you try and get a ball in your net while the opposing team defends. The WUSHU Hall is extremely hot so just being in there made us sweat like crazy. We then went through the different leg kicks that we learned yesterday. The teachers taught us how to do different kung fu like kicks. And we practiced doing them by kicking a mat block that someone held. I had never done any time of martial arts so it was a little difficult for me at first to get down the fluid motion, but got better by the end of class.
Everyone was exhausted and extremely sweaty after WUSHU and was looking forward to lunch and a little break.
We then had a class taught by Mr. Yang learning about speaking/reading Chinese and about the city of Chengdu. He was a great teacher and made us interact and had a good sense of humor. We learned about the 4 different tones of the language and phrases like Ni hao ma? (How are you?) Zia Jian (goodbye) Bu yung xie (you're welcome). The transition between English and Chinese is so different, it amazes me how many people here are able to speak English and pretty well. It makes me wish that I learned a different language before high school.
After we are lunch Connie and Shirley (2 of the student volunteers) took us up to their dorm room. They both live with 5 other girls in a very small space that was very hot. Their bathroom is just a faucet and the toilet is just a hole in the ground. They have to walk to another building to shower. After seeing this, I will never complain about the living situations at IC.
We had a other WUSHU class after but we were glad there was a competition going on that we got to watch. The martial arts students did a routine with a sword while spinning and doing a floor routine. It was very cool to watch and it makes sense it's called martial arts because it really is an art the way they move their body in such fluid motions. Everyone was too tired to do more WUSHU so we did Tai Qi, which was nice because it kept the sweating down, although not by much.
We were driven to the Shun Xing tea house where we had another great feast. I love these big meals because there are so many different dishes to try. Even though I'm a picky eater, it's still fun to try everything. My favorite dish was fried pork in a sweetish sauce. The waitress just kept bringing out more food every minute it seemed.
We walked down to the room where the 'opera' was. It was a series of people showcasing different talents such as singing, using a diablo, balancing and spinning a pot and table on feet, and the famous mask changing performance. The performers masks changed before our eyes in a millisecond and know one knows how. We were all trying to figure out how they did it but I personally think it's just magic. That was a great cultural experience. We also got to drink some delicious tea during the acts. The tea house was beautiful inside. There were little ponds with bridges and even geese. We took many pictures just walking from dinner to the other room.
Everyone was exhausted by the time it was over and couldn't wait for bed. I bet we're all going to sleep well tonight. I'm looking forward to the fun activity-packed day tomorrow!
- Emma Lazzari
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