National Week

9 10 2005

National week is officially over. Sadness, woe. Tomorrow we go back to class and routine and getting up early.

So I started out the break going with my friend Eunice to her home in Yi Bin which is a 3 1/2 hour bus ride South East of Chengdu, and is the first city on the Yangtze river. It’s a small version of Chengdu, and hemmed in on several sides by mountains. The city kind of creeps up up the sides of the mountains. Eunice has a sister Echo, and her two aunts and their husbands and her grandparents were around alot, so I got to hang out with the whole family. Echo and their grandfather showed me their calligraphy styles, and wrote some poems for me. Their grandmother showed me how to make jiao zi. Echo played piano for me, and then I sang some, and I had happened to bring a hymnal with me, so Echo (I was really impressed with this) sight read some hymns. We did all of them really slow, but it still felt good to be singing with a piano. Echo really liked doing Silent Night, and I taught her to sing it in english, too bad we didn’t have a Chinese translation. They also started teaching me a traditional Chinese folk song about jasmine flowers. They had some music videos of popular english songs, and the uncle really liked “My Heart Will Go On” and asked me to sing it. I was also asked to sing a few more from that, and Eunice wanted me to teach her “From this moment” by Shania Twain, and she had the words, I did that one evening. One evening we watched “The Princess Diaries” and at the end there’s a ball, so I pulled Eunice up, and showed her how to waltz, and then Echo and their younger cousin. Their grandmother and aunt also knew how to waltz, so we waltzed to the music video of “Auld Lang Syne”. They also showed me some Chinese dance. It was a really enjoyable evening. Eunice, Echo and I also did these little pictures at a picture booth shop, and that was really fun, when I get home you all will have to see them. Abby’s really gotten into them, so some of us did them the other day too. Earlier that day we had gone to a temple of a boy god who had slain the four dragon kings, and gave luck if you worshipped him. It was interesting to watch and Eunice asked me about my religious beliefs, and we talked about it some, but told her that I’d explain better at another time. She asked me if I wanted to try the worshipping, and for the first time in my life I was faced with really refusing to worship something other than God. It was kind of surprising how strongly I felt about it inside. The the most interesting part of the trip was the night of National Day. Echo, Eunice and their aunt took me to an old opera house that’s now a public hall, and the public can come and sing and there are some people who kind of “mc” it, and a small band with a hammer dulcimer, a couple erhu, and some other more western instruments. My host aunt had heard that I sang, and went to the people in charge and they came over to meet me with huge smiles on their faces, and the woman hugged me which is really rare in China, and then they convinced me to sing, and since I didn’t think that the band would know songs I knew the words for, I sang one tin soldier because I knew that I’d be able to carry the tune, and remember the words. It went well, and then after that the main guy singer sang “My Heart Will Go On” in Chinese in my honor, and then after a couple songs they told me they had the words to “Edelweiss” and asked me to sing that, and then after a while the guy MC and I sang “Happy Birthday” because it was the birthday of modern China, him in Chinese and me in English. It was really nerve wreaking, but fun too. The stage was a balcony which is pretty typical for Chinese opera, and there were people sitting around at tables drinking tea. So that’s all kind of out of order of what I did there, but, it gives the feel of the time. I was supposed to go to my Chinese teacher’s home town near by, but I heard some difficult news, and decided just to go back to Chengdu. I’ll tell more about the rest of the week later.




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