Time Flys when You're Having Fun!

Well what a day we have had!  It is hard to believe that this is our final day. We have been here for a long time, but it also seems that our time has flown by.

This morning after breakfast (spring rolls – very good but would have loved a bit of sweet chilli dipping sauce!) we had some Chinese culture lessons, these has been specially laid on for us, firstly paper cutting and then calligraphy. The lessons were great, we were told about the history of these traditional crafts and then had a chance to try them out. They were very relaxing sessions with some gentle Chinese music in the background the students silently worked away. The peace and quiet was much appreciated, as little did we know what the afternoon had in store!

After lunch we were teaching, although originally working to a plan for a 35 minute lesson of English, it soon became apparent that the session was to be longer – 90 mins. Some swift planning and we had an English lesson sorted out, ‘question bingo’ then using play—doh to model and learn new words. Then a sports session to teach and play ‘kingball’. The students were lower grades, so between 7 and 9 years old and I think they must have had a couple of cans of redbull with lunch as they seemed to have boundless energy! Some were quite mischievous, one had to be sent off from kingball! This being the final teaching session and the culmination of a series of leadership sessions through our time here, meant that we could stand back and let students take the lead, which they did amazingly well, over 10 days we have seen initial somewhat timid approaches to leading sessions develop into confidence and competence in taking the lead, demonstrating and explanting clearly. The sessions were a great success, we even managed the default ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes!’

A quick change after the teaching and then we headed up to a Judo lesson, the teacher has coached the Chinese National  team and is a real expert, as Mr Smith found out when he went over her shoulder and landed on the mat, I would have loved to join in but had to take photos! Although tired the students got involved and had a great time.

The final activity of the day was a farewell party. We were treated to traditional Chinese dancing and singing, also a show of Chinese clothing through the ages. Jamie entertained us with a guitar recital too. One of the parents has hand produced a calligraphy piece for each of the children and these have been beautifully mounted and framed and were presented, along with a Gold Apple School shirt, to our students.  We gave our gifts to the staff who have been so amazing in organising all our activities and trips, Cici, Lisa and Crystal. Also Principal Johnson, who has made us so welcome and been a great advocate of the partnership over the last 6 years. After a special dinner we headed back to the dorms and tried to squeeze these final gifts into some already bulging suitcases. Packing is an art in itself, and whilst some have mastered it some have taken the pile it up or throw it in approach!

Our final activity of the evening was a walk to the supermarket to buy some last treats and snacks, on the way back students were saying how fast the time has gone, a sure sign that they have had a good time I think. Some of the Gold Apple students have just come up so say good bye and now all are in their dorms and it is quiet, going to sleep doesn’t seem a problem! We are getting up tomorrow at 6.30  am and heading to the airport. Students have been planning what they are going to eat for breakfast on Saturday, as they have missed home cooking, there is quite a range from eggs (hot with a runny yolk) to pizza, a full English breakfast and a roast! So I hope that fridge’s are well stocked at home!

The students have been great advocates for the school, great leaders and teachers and also great company. They have worked well together and have taken part in a quite unique experience. We would like to say a big thank you to all the parents for your support in letting your children go on the trip. Also a very big thankyou to Mrs Kilbey for her unerring support of the China project.