Seeing all of the similarities and differences between our home and China is truly an eye-opening experience. The clothes people wear, the food they eat, the things they do for fun, are all so different. After spending time with all of the Y staff and some of the people who go to English Corner, we’ve gotten to see some of the different facets of Chinese culture.
Kali already wrote about this, but it’s a great example of something we’ve noticed. For any game we play, there’s always a punishment. The first day we went to the Y, they played this game where we clapped and patted the table and said someone’s English name, and then they had to clap and pat, and so on. If someone messed up the pattern, then they had to stand up and spell their name with their butt. Yeah, it was pretty funny. Kali messed up twice, so she had to undergo the punishment multiple times.
Here’s another example: two days ago, we went with Jason, one of our friends and coworkers at the Y, to get food after class. We then ended up getting on a bus to go someplace to play card games. We ended up playing UNO, as well as some other games, and of course there was a punishment for the loser. There were several options, including singing with one foot up, acting out a romance, making an animal noise while we went down and came back up, messaging the person to your right three times, and lastly having everyone in the room flick your head. We put all of these in a pile and had to choose one from the pile if we lost. Jason and I lost a lot, because Kali was really good at one of the games we played; she has a fast reaction time and Jason and I can’t see well without our glasses. In the end, it was punishment galore for the two of us. It wasn’t so bad this time, since the punishments were so ridiculous. But this emphasis on punishment is different from what I’ve experienced in the US, where we placed more emphasis on just participating, not who won and who lost. It makes everything much more competitive.
We also experienced one of the great pastimes of China: karaoke. One time after class we went with a few friends to KTV. We had the best time there! Karaoke is incredibly, insanely fun! You could sing Chinese or English songs. Jason, one of our friends, made us sing an English song that we never heard of about a duck and the ocean. It was an absolute blast!
It seems like everywhere we go we meet new people and make new friends. The owner of the place we went to play cards spoke a little English, and he took pictures of us when we were playing; he was really nice and asked us if we wanted to come again on the 24th for a party. He told us that there would be a lot of foreigners. We said we would love to, and I can’t wait to go back!
We have had a blast here. I will be happy to come home because I miss everyone, but I think it will be very hard to leave. Saying goodbye to the ones we have gotten really close to will be the hardest thing to do.