I am back from China. Naturally, as I am fighting jet lag and therefore a wee bit cross-eyed at the moment, my writing may be a bit rough. Nevertheless, I am eager to begin documenting my travels, as this blog is named "The Wanderer". Happily, this year, I am allowed to post things to "You Twit Face" as one of our group kindly refers to social media.
However, China being China, and Ningxia being Ningxia in particular, I will still censor myself somewhat. While nothing about the trip is secret, there are certain issues that remain very sensitive - for example, religion and politics. So if you don't see much here about either, it's not because they're unimportant or because my opinions are particularly private. It's because this is the Internet, and the Internet tends to misbehave, and I'd like to not cause trouble for anyone.
That said, as an introductory post (more to come), I shall now regale you with a compilation of interview questions and answers. Let's see how well I can predict the questions you're likely to ask first.
You: So where were you, exactly?
Me: Qingtongxia, Ningxia.... China. That's pronounced something like "Cheeng-tōng-shyah, Neeng-shyah".
You: Um, where is that in relation to Beijing or Hong Kong?
Me: Ningxia is the red thing. Qingtongxia is south of the provincial capitol, Yinchuan, and just to the west of the Yellow River.
You: How was the food?
Me: Delicious. I rarely eat eggplant in Canada, but in China, it's SO GOOD. In Canada, eggplant isn't that awesome, but in China, it's called qiezi, and I've yet to find a qiezi dish I don't like.
You: Was there a lot of rice?
Me: Yes. Also, a lot of noodles and a ton of delectable dumplings, or rather, jiaozi.
You: Was it really hot? What was the weather like?
Me: The temperature varied between about 22 degrees Celsius to just over 40. Qingtongxia wasn't very humid, and happily, much less smoggy than Beijing.
You: So.... what were you doing there?
Me: Teaching English. More specifically, I was helping with an English teacher training program, and taught a class of primary school English teachers, bringing up their English level and teaching them about communicative activities.
You: How many people were in your class?
Me: Eleven. Twelve at first, but one had a family emergency and needed to leave the program.
You: Were they good at English?
Me: The proficiency level in my class varied rather dramatically. There were three that were quite good - I sometimes forgot that they didn't understand everything - and one that I would say didn't speak more than a word or two of English. The rest were somewhere in between.
You: Huh. Happy to be home?
You: Do you miss China?
You: Both at the same time?
You: You want to go back sometime?
Me: I would be happy to.
My deep thanks to those who supported me in this adventure. Your prayers and your willingness to help with finances have been very much appreciated. I'm blessed with opportunity and blessed to have so many wonderful people behind me!
"Sometimes you look like a child, laughed a lot and feel happy. Sometimes you look like my friend, help me how to pronuce at the difficut words. Sometimes you like our sister. I'm very happy talk about with you! We had a lovely time." -from a thank you note one of my students wrote