Wednesday 16 October 2019

Day 5 - Jinan

Today was our first day in Jinan. With an early start of 6:30 we needed to leave the hotel by 8am to get to our first sister school. To our surprise when Molly and I finally arrived in the lobby, no one was there. We quickly realised that this was because we were very late and they were already on the bus waiting for us. When we arrived at the school, we participated in a welcome ceremony where students from both schools talked about how grateful they were to be there and the Chinese students performed both a dance and sung a song. After watching their performance we became nervous to perform the Nutbush, as it was extremely boring compared to their dance. After this we were paired with our buddies. We exchanged gifts and asked each other questions. We then followed our buddies to their art class, where we were to create a lotus out of clay. It took a lot longer than it should’ve for Paige and I to finish and after many failed attempts we finally had a flower that looked somewhat average.

After our art class, we left the school with our two buddies and their parents. Our buddies Jennifer and Lucas gave us an itinerary for the day. For lunch our families took us to a local restaurant where Paige and I were forced to step out of our comfort zone and eat the Peking duck. While I'm sure that there were many dishes that we would have preferred, we were pleasantly surprised at how it wasn’t that gross. 

Next we visited the 12 statues of ancient philosophers and were amazed to see that there were ice cream vending machines?! Our host family, buddies, Paige and myself continued to walk to Hei Hu Chan (Black Tiger Spring) where we were told that many Chinese people collect their drinking water from there because it is so clean. Lucas and Jennifer told us to drink the water but we didn’t want to get sick. On the way to our boat that goes through the Springs, a man selling Wu Hua Gou gave us them for free because he believed he should “be nice to foreigners.” As we had never tried these before, our buddy Lucas told us that you could eat the whole thing, including the skin, however a bit later, Jennifer’s Mum informed us that this was not the case. 

The view while we travelled through the Springs was very pretty. The boat stopped at the other side of Daming Lake where Jennifer bought food for us to feed the fish with. At this point, Lucy and her buddies met up with us and we walked for a bit before separating again to get bubble tea. Paige and I had no idea what to get because the whole menu was in Chinese. We ended up letting Jennifer to choose our tea for us and we were very happy we did this, as it was the best milk tea we had ever had. 

After buying our tea, we drove back to Lucas’ house, where we watched both him and his five year old brother play the drums. While this was very impressive, it made us sad because we are three times his age and still aren’t talented enough to play any instruments. Paige and I taught Lucas how to play cheat and we spent the rest of the night playing this and decorating fans with Jennifer. When dinner was ready we sat at the table and both families told us how happy we had made them and what a great day they had. Their cooking was very nice and we were able to have many conversations. 

We were dropped back to our hotel and we were so sad to leave each other. In China, everybody is obsessed with WeChat so we exchanged usernames and Jennifer told us that we need to stay in contact. Although I don’t have enough fingers on my hand to count the amount of times I dropped my drink bottle and the host family experience was very unusual, it was an amazing day and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Brianna Pilgrim 

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