Well, hear I am, at the end of week 3 in Xining!
This has been an interesting week because most of our partners have had final exams all week, so we haven’t seen them much. As a result, we’ve spent more time hanging out as a team or exploring Xining.
Things are still going well between me and my partner. She is still the queen of random questions… at the end of each culture lesson we, as Canadians give a Journal Question intended to stimulate discussion between us and our partners. Most are quite deep and require lots of discussion. While they have all been very interesting and good questions, Jenny usually doesn’t respond to them and asks me random questions like “What do you think about people who have sex change operations?” “Do you think gay people should get married?” or “What do you think about what Japan did to China during WWII, why should I forgive them?” Needless to say, it is keeping me on my toes!
Yesterday (saturday) we went to visit the large mosque in town. There is a significant Muslim population in Qinghai province (2 different nationalities here are muslim – Hui and Salar people) and the mosque here is the largest in China. It was quite large!
The other night, a bunch of us brought a guitar out into the big square in the centre of the university and just hung out singing songs. As much as it pained me to sing them, the “classics” like Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” and Bryan Adam’s “Everything I Do” worked well to draw a crowd of Chinese students and we had them involved in our singing and added in some of our worship songs as well. They love to sing here! A few of us ended up having a discussion with some Tibetan students studying at the other university in town but who were visiting our university.
Friday night, we blasted Tibetan music in the square and learned how to Tibetan dance. After about 5 minutes of doing it, about 20 students joined in and were helping to teach us and about 50 more were watching around the edges (probably wondering who this crazy group of white people were dancing rather badly).
Last night, we had ‘Guys Night’ in the guys dorm and ‘Girls Night’ in the girls night. Yesterday most of the students in the buildings had to move out, so it is only those of us on our program still in the dorms. It is kind of eerily quite, but much cleaner! I’m not sure what the guys did (although i heard it involved a marathon game of p0ker and lots of food), but the girls had spa night. Who knew that makeup was such a novelty here! It doesn’t seem expensive to me, but I guess to the average student it is (It is a little cheaper than it would be at home when I convert from yuen to $, but not much). I wish I had brought more makeup! In any case, 2 of us ended up doing makeup on most of the Chinese girls and we all participated in having our hair done. I think that my short hair is a bit of a novelty and way too much fun for some people to play with. I had about 5 different hair styles over the course of the evening, culminating in one which saw all of my hair stiking out in different directions.
And a note on photos – I had intended to try again today, but this net bar is kind of dodgy, so i don’t want to risk a virus on my camera.
For those of you in PG, I will be up there the weekend after I get home (along with Anna and Jeff Van Tol) and will be at Lakewood Sunday morning, hopefully we’ll be able to share a bit about our trip with you. I’m not sure the exact dates we’ll be there (Anna’s sister is looking after getting our plane tickets for us), but the weekend is the 19th/20th of August. I’d love to see as many of you as I can!
For those of you in Victoria, I’ll be there the following weekend for sure (probably a little longer as well as there’s some other stuff I need to do in Victoria) – so that’s the 26th/27th. I’ll be at VPRAC Sunday morning and will share about the trip then.
Easterners and Lethbridgians – I haven’t forgotten about you, but it will likely have to wait until December.