Monday, September 2, 2013

Day 8

Posted by 雯雯 at 10:38 PM
I'm pretty sure I won't be able to keep on posting one new thing a day eventually, but there are still new things happening so I should enjoy it while it last!

Today was my first proper day here, following the timetable as it's written. After the daily morning meeting we had our first lesson with the male teacher FT, and we had something called "sanda" (散打), which my dictionary translates to "Chinese mixed martial arts". It was pretty fun, and we mostly learnt basics like a stance, a kick, two types of punches and so on, plus doing loads of exercises and training. I was quite tired and sweaty by the end of it, and had a quick shower after lunch, but only a quick one.

After lunch we had another lesson with FT. First we submitted some pieces of paper with things we'd like to learn about this year, then we started learning "tuina" (推拿), seemingly some type of massaging where you also stimulate acupressure points. FT gave us a very short, simplified introduction to the basics behind traditional Chinese medicine, and said that tuina was the predecessor to acupuncture. It was quite interesting, and relaxing as well. We divided into two groups, where one sat on chairs in a circle and the other stood behind and did whatever FT told them to do. We learnt how to find two pressure points today. Though their names passed me by, they were somewhere on the back of your head, and slightly above your shoulder blades. I've never had my pressure points massaged before, but it was an interesting experience. First it made me feel slightly sick, then uncomfortable (but bearably so), and after they stopped I felt very... light, in a way. I had trouble finding the one on the back of the head, but the one over the shoulder blades was simple.

Eventually we had to break for dinner, today salmon burgers. They weren't much to my liking, but I was starving so I ate one anyway.

FT is not only our course's teacher, but also in charge of getting the school exercises, so he's the PE teacher in a way. Every student had to pick either football, floor ball, strength exercises, morning jogs or individual training. I ended up picking football, so after dinner, I had 45 minutes of that. I'm not much of a football player but it was fun anyway. FT said he refused to sit and watch and joined in, but didn't come well out of it. First I accidentally tripped him into a wall so he bruised his leg and arm, and then Mr. Prepared accidentally kicked him in the nuts. Poor FT.

After football, I, Red Cross, Mr. Prepared and another guy from our course (who apparently was a forward for 8 years and so predictably chose football for PE) went down to the gym for some stretching. It seems everyone is intent on being able to do the splits by the end of the year. It feels like I'm already getting more flexible. At the very least, I'm dealing with the pain much better now.

We also got our elective subjects today - well, we were told what we ended up with, at any rate. I ended up with my first choices for everything, guitar lessons on Wednesdays, horse riding on Thursdays and ballgames on Fridays. Game of Thrones guy had gotten the course where you make teddy bears from scratch, and by the time I got back from lunch there was a full-on betting war between Red Cross and Towels about who would get the first teddy bear. It probably started out pretty innocent with something like.. I'll buy you a drink, or I'll give you massages, but when I got there they were offering up some pretty racy stuff. In the end, Towels won and cheered, but Game of Thrones guy looked slightly worried thinking about all the things and services he'd been promised.

In the evening, Red Cross and I massaged each other again to get some more practice, and she taught me how to find the pressure points behind the head which I could not find before. Loads of people in our dorm has offered their bodies for our practice (I can't imagine why), so I'm thinking when I get better at this, the massaging is a good way of earning some points with the other people here.

Finally, I had to practice some piano. I started out on the grand piano in the music room, but was kicked out because some people wanted to play a game there. I headed out to search for another piano. The one I usually pick was free, but there were people watching a movie in the room next to it, so I decided not to disturb them and used the white one in the Chinese classroom. I hadn't tried it before, but it was pretty okay - probably my 4th or 3rd pick here. I was expecting to be left alone in that room at least, but suddenly one of the art teachers pops her head in and asks if I'm playing Debussy. Sure, I said. She wanted to listen, so I had an impromptu performance for her. You don't say no to people who want to listen, even if you dislike playing for others. It went pretty well - it's a good thing I was playing a piece I'd had a lot of practice with!

And now, I am here. Technically, it's half an hour until I want to go to bed, but I haven't studied Chinese yet today, apart from vocabulary practice.. I'm not sure whether to try to rush in a little session or just take it slow and go to bed in good time. Probably the latter - I could do with one day break from the book, since I've already studied vocabulary and learnt some sentences from my friends in Hong Kong. Speaking of Chinese, tomorrow is our next Chinese lesson. I'm really looking forward to it, but I hope I don't get asked anything I don't know!




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