One third of the way!

Trip Start May 05, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2013

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What I did
Peoples Park

Flag of China  , Tianjin,
Monday, July 2, 2012

Yesterday (Sunday) marked eight weeks since our arrival in China! We have now been here two months and are one third of the way to our Europe trip! HOORAY!!

Last week was rather uneventful and hence the lack of blog updates.

On Monday I decided to go for a walk to get out of the house and see what I could see. I ended up at the People's Park which was about a 30min walk away. It was really beautiful - by China standards - and was almost a surreal find as it is tucked away between skyscrapers and seriously busy roads! See the pics for a a visual description of the park.

After Chinese class on Tuesday we both went for a walk in the opposite direction toward the river and the massive Tianjin World Financial Centre Tower. This building is HUGE and can be seen from most places in Tianjin - well the places we venture to anyway, Tianjin is probably about the size of the greater Wellington region (from Wellington up to Palmerston North). We walked along the river for a while and found a series of "interesting" statues and also the movie theatre complex/mall that we went to to watch the avengers in one of our first weeks here. It was much prettier in the day time and we got some more snaps. We also came across a whole heap of gardeners who were replacing every single flower in all of the flower beds along the river. It was crazy. Instead of planting the flowers in the soil of the flowerbed, the plants sit in polyurethane planter sleeves - the type that you get plants in when you buy them from a garden centre. We have been told before that since the soil in Tianjin is of such low quality - from years of abuse thanks to industry - the local govt replaces all the trees and plants that adorn any public space almost annually. Apparently Beijing has a similar problem. It seems crazy - and it is - but it is also such a uniquely Chinese solution to the problem at the same time!

Our classes this weekend went really well for both of us. Being the last weekend of the month means that we get to teach science to our math classes instead of ... math. I had one class where I was trying to teach the phases of the moon and ended up using the projector, a mirror and two "volunteers" to get the message across.
In my other class I was teaching the food chain in the wild and how the food chain/circle of life works. I managed to incorporate a good 10min of The Lion King into my class as well as spend a solid 15min talking about poop - the kids loved it! By the end we had a cycle of nutrients flowing from the soil, to the grass, to herbivores, on to carnivores and finally back to the soil in the form of poop. I couldn't think what else to call it and so made them title it "The Circle of Life"! I thought it was great!

Our Mandarin classes are ticking along very well too. We sat a practice test for HSK Level One on thursday and both managed to pass it without having done any revision - we didn't know we were going to have the test until we got to class that morning. HSK is a standardised compentency test of Mandarin for foreigners and is done by the Chinese govt. We are hoping to get HSK Level Two by the time we leave (it goes up to Level Six which is SUPER hard) and seem to be on a pretty good track for that at the moment.

The first third of our adventure in China is already through but we still have a lot more adventuring to do before we leave the Red Land.
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Mike and lou on

One third of the way,can hardly believe it! What a great idea to incorporate the lion king and the circle of life in that class,enjoy all the creative ideas from you both.
Take care ev and steph and enjoy the start of the next phase of your time there xx

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