Saturday, May 25, 2013
As we head back to our dorms at 9:30pm our steps are heavy and we wonder why we have exactly zero energy left in our now-WuShu-trained bodies. In Ithaca, it’s 1:30am before most of us consider hitting the hay. We realize that the sun has just set on day 4 of our trip, though we all feel like we’ve experienced 4 days within just today.
The day began like the others. We started with breakfast in our banquet hall, the spread as impressively colorful and delicious as usual. From there, we went straight to our Chinese class with Mr. Yang. Today Mr. Yang’s English students joined us and made for a unique experience. We had the opportunity to break up in small groups with the students and practice the small amount of Chinese we’ve been trying so hard to learn. The couple “translation blunders” that had the Chinese students splitting their sides and our group scratching our heads made 8:00am less painful.
The Wu Shu master within each of us surfaced today when we buttoned up our traditional robes, gifted to us by the President of CSU upon our arrival. I swear our kicks were a little higher, our horse stances were a little deeper, and our hook hands were a little more fierce. Our Wu Shu class ended with the completion of a full Tai Chi set. Accomplishing what we have in such a short time is something we should be proud of!
During our Traditional Chinese Medicine class today, we took a field trip to a nearby hospital where were we able to see ancient herbs in action. First hand, we saw TCM doctors doing their work, filling prescriptions of Herb concoctions, and getting hands on with patients. Ariel, Amanda, Christie, and Sam hit the lottery when they were used as “dummies” for massage and acupuncture. Free TCM? SIGN ME UP!
This is where the day got really good… so we were heading to what we thought was just your average college competition. Little did we know we were each about to receive our 5 minutes of fame. Unbeknownst to us, an entire stadium of spectators, some 550 competitors, and the president of the college were holding the start of the show until we sat down! We were greeted by water bottles at our VIP seats, and applauded as we walked in and were introduced. But, despite our presence, the show must go on. The competition was an amazing display of traditional sports by the Physical Education students. The teams each focused on a different sport and had each choreographed a mesmerizing routine that showcased their assigned sport. After the competition, we ventured down into the arena where the 550 student competitors were sitting cross-legged on the grass. The crowd cheered as we sat among them to take an epic group photo. Five minutes of fame: commence. Cheers and applause greeted us on the way in, and also sent us off for the evening.
We had dinner in our standard banquet room for the first time all week, and somehow agreed to sing a song for an English-singing competition that was being put on by the English program. We rocked out to “Call Me Maybe” in our matching yellow T’s while the emcees were in gowns and suits. Rumor has it, our performance is going to make an appearance on Chengdu television!
We left the singing competition early because we had to sprint to our rooms and grab our gear for the final performance of the day. Wu Shu gear and sunglasses in hand, we headed to a welcome party that was thrown for us by the foreign affairs department and the English Language students. They prepared songs and games for us, complete with a host who kept the activities moving. Our contribution and gift to them was our grand performance. We started with the Macarena, got down to Cotton Eye Joe, jammed out to Soulja Boy, and finished with a dance circle that the Chinese students joined in for. Amanda and Ariel stole the show with their worm and break dancing skills! We couldn’t have picked a better way to end the day: making new friends, learning more about Chinese culture, and relaxing with our peers from halfway around the world.
Can’t wait to experience our first weekend in Chengdu beginning tomorrow!
- Christina Larrabee
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