Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Experience

I really enjoyed teaching. The children were fantastic, who despite being immensely busy still put everything into the lessons. I think I will always remember shedding a tear as I locked up my classroom for the final time.

At times Dave and I got frustrated by the lack of things we could actually do for the children. We had grand plans for lessons that just could not be achieved with the facilities that were in place. A slide and video tour around England for example turned into us holding our laptops above our heads for an hour whilst 40 kids squinted to see the screen- but they still loved it! However once we figured out the school really saw us as no more than a marketing ploy for the school things started to fall into place a bit more.

As far as China goes I would love to go back. It was always going to be impossible to see all of the country – especially as I was leaving early. I only really got to travel around Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu and their surrounding cities. I would love to go further down south to see Guangzhou and Hong Kong in particular. Whilst I wouldn’t say that I love China I have found myself defending it to all and sundry when it comes up in conversation so it must have touched a part of me.

The parts of the trip I remember the most fondly are the first trip to the Great Wall that we did in October – a 10km walk in sweltering heat with a great group of people for company. Going to Xi’an to see the Terra Cotta Warriors was fantastic, knowing that you are some of the first people to see something that has only been discovered for 27 years is incredible and now that there is such a fuss being made over a few being brought to England for an exhibition it makes me much happier to say I have seen the entire collection. When Dave and I visited The Forbidden City for the first time I was amazed by how serene it was. We’d been to Beijing on 4 occasions before hand would always have described it as noisy, yet stood in the centre of the city in this amazing place you could literally hear the smallest birds singing. Climbing Emei Shan and staying in a Monastery at 1600Km (about half way up) was superb and despite things being a little tense between Clare and I at the time I think we made the most of the experience.

Whilst I know we all wish that we had had more opportunities to travel whilst we lived in Shijiazhuang I think we all made the best of the time we had. Teaching made it hard for us to get away as much as we would have liked but we still managed plenty of trips out at the weekend really – saving the longer journeys for our holidays.

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