Friday, July 6, 2012

The Missing Week OR Why to Keep a Journal

The next week is spotty.

My journaling efforts took a break from July 6 to July 13.  And, only a few weeks later, I am having trouble remembering what I did.

Lesson 1: keep a journal.

Lesson 2: sometimes you're too busy or overwhelmed to keep a journal.

Lesson 3: being in the moment is always more important than remembering what you've done.

A little like a blackout, I do remember certain moments:

I spent a great weekend with my host family.
My host mother had to grade thousands of final English exams, so she was away during the day and had to return late. This gave my some bonding time with host dad. We got to make lunch together over the weekend.

A moment of cultural exchange occurred when he set a potato in front of me and said, "You cook this." Potatoes are very popular in Sichuan, so I am not sure if this was coincidence or that he knows of Americans' love of the spud. Not knowing what to do or how to cook with a wok, I sliced up the potato along with some onion and fried it in oil and soy sauce. The dish (basically, home fries) was a hit. With the innumerable vegetable combinations in Sichuanese cooking, I was surprised that that of potato and onion was a revelation.

The kitchen is very small, so after enduring my presence a few times, host dad began to tell me "you take rest" every time he was about to cook! There end, so far, my Chinese cooking lessons.

We went for (very) long walks after dinner. Great exericise. Unfortunately, as the days went on I became too busy with studying for such long walks.

I developed a friendship with the ice cream vendor near our apartment. Even so, I've been losing weight since I arrived in China. The healthiness of the diet is not thwarted even by my best ice-creamy-goodness attempts.

The first couple days, my host family walked me to and from class. I remember a very nice dinner with Fei Fei (my host sister) after class the first day.

Other than this, my first week of pre-service training is really a blur!

I got to know my fellow SNU trainees. Friendships forged during orientation grew, but but not necessarily at the same pace after I moved to a new location. Of course, a few came with me to SNU, and new friendships have developed since with my SNU group.

Most of all, I remember the training:
4-6 hours of Mandarin study each day
TEFL sessions on Classroom Management, Student Assessment, Semester Planning, Lesson Planning
Sessions on Volunteer Diversity, Common Peace Corps Volunteer Health Problems, Sexual Assault Awareness.
Interviews with the Peace Corps Medical Officers
Interviews with Site Managers

Signing off tonight with some real entertainment...

At the end of our first week of language class, we had a more light-hearted session during which we learned a Chinese folk song...and then improvised some modern dance to go with it (???).

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