Tuesday, October 21: This afternoon, my English Interest Course on “Storytelling Photography” goes on an outing to the university athletic field, a sprawling concrete area with a track, outdoor basketball courts, exercise equipment and people doing all manner of exercise from playing baseball to doing yoga to running / walking around the track to taking dance / aerobics classes. I gave this outing as an option last week and the students picked it.
I think it might be interesting, but it’s not.
I’m not a big fan of sports in general, and it’s quite a hot day. We wander around taking pictures of some of the various activities that are going on. It’s actually the most boring outing I could have ever devised. The 45 minutes or so that we are there seems like an eternity. I think when I do this course in the second half of the semester, I’ll cross this one off my list.
One of the other English Interest Course teachers is teaching an exercise/yoga class, so we stop to take pictures.
Yet another English Interest Course teacher is teaching baseball as his subject, so we stop to watch his class. The girls are fashionably dressed, as they always are, which surprises me when I see them involved in sports activities.
Here are some random pictures. It’s not great or even interesting photography, but I’m trying to document some of my life in China.
One of the students tells me that in order to pass the physical fitness exam, they must do 10 pull-ups on the pull-up bars, lifting the upper part of their bodies above the bar. I ask my students how many they can do, and most say 3-4. Doing 10 is the passing score. To get 100%, they must do 18. I tried to do one pull-up and I couldn’t even do that. I’m such a weakling.
One of my students has an interesting tattoo. He says there’s a story behind it, but he doesn’t really want to share the story.
This afternoon, I walk out of my classroom building to find a group of girls practicing a dance routine with sticks in their mouths. One explains, as she takes the stick out of her mouth and laughs with embarrassment, that they hold the sticks in their mouths because it reminds them, or forces them, to smile!
I mention to a fellow teacher that when I first came, I was fascinated by all the group sport and dance activities on every street corner. But now I don’t see it as odd anymore, just a matter of routine. It’s amazing how quickly strange things become normal when you immerse yourself in a foreign culture!
When I first arrived in September, I would often walk by the athletic field in the evening on my way to the campus supermarket. At twilight, I would see hundreds, maybe thousands, of bats, flitting about in the sky. It freaked me out a little. 🙂