7/12 – Dance and Kung Fu

Day Twenty – Wednesday, July 12

Today got off to a slow start, but the afternoon was very fun and entertaining.  This morning’s classes were average – everyday they are fun but nothing really special happened today.  However, we did play a fun game on a bunch of countries and Chinese cities we’ve learned throughout the program.  What we had to do was face away from the board and dance to some upbeat Chinese music.  When the music stopped, you (and the one person you were facing off against) turned around and ran up to the board.  One of the TAs said the country/city and the first person to hit the right word won.  This was a really fun way to review what we’ve learned, as it brought out the competitive side of all of us (literally some people we’re fighting at the board!)

Lunch today was a little different than it has been for the past few days.  Most people decided to go to canteen 3 for lunch today, but my language partner and I still chose to go to canteen 1.  Since there weren’t a ton of American students at 1 today (just Sydney and I sat together), I got to speak more Chinese with my language partner during this period.  Even though she is a little shy and not too talkative, we still had a few, short conversations in Chinese during the lunch break.  I really like speaking with her because she is more patient with me than my family is (i.e. she lets me finish my thought in Chinese even if it is taking a few minutes to articulate).  I also feel like I am subconsciously improving in Chinese – I’m realizing that I understand more of what she says and can reply faster and more completely!  I hope that after Shenzhen (Thursday and Friday!!) I can spend more time with her just to practice talking!

This afternoon we had culture class, which as Chinese music and Chinese dance.  For music, five of our language partners each taught us how to play a different traditional instrument.  I love the sound of old Chinese instruments, but I’ve now learned on two separate occasions that I am not very skilled in them!  After the music session, we moved into a dance studio on campus for our dance lesson.  The language partners first asked if any of us could dance, and a couple people got up to show what they know.  Afterwards, we broke up into 4 groups and learned a couple basic moves of Mongolian dance.  We then played a group game/competition which was like whisper down the lane for dancing.  The first person would watch an LP do a move, then show the next in line, who would show the next, until the end.  The team that won was the one whose last person was the most similar to the original (we came in 2nd!)

Last for the afternoon, Matthew and I stayed on campus to practice/demonstrate martial arts with each other.  Matthew is a very advanced Chinese kungfu master, and I am a second degree Korean Tang Soo Do black belt.  Since the two martial arts are pretty different, we spent about 1 hour just showing each other our favorite techniques and forms.  I realized that kungfu is much more upper body focused and placed heavier emphasis on sparring and fighting techniques.  In comparison, Tang Soo Do is less about speed and attacking and more about finesse and uses legs and lower body more.  I think we both learned a lot about each other’s art, and realized that there were many similarities between the two practices.

This evening was pretty weird and confusing.  My mom said my sister had a piano concert tonight so I said I’d come and listen… but we then just dropped her off at her piano teacher for an individual test.  While Linda was at the piano place, my mom took me to a traditional Chinese medicine doctor because she wanted to get some treatment.  Later, we picked up Linda and went home.  I don’t understand the point in me coming as I seemed to be more of a burden to my mom than anything else tonight.  While I love my host family, they are terrible at logistics and planning.