By Aubrey Brinton
So much has happened in the last two months I don’t know where to begin. I’ll share with you the most couple recent events. First off, Happy Holidays Kuna! I had a few students come over to my apartment for Thanksgiving and we made some delicious homemade dumplings. It was great but these last couple of months have been pretty rough to say the least. This is the first time I have been away from my family during the holidays.
My spirits were raised when just two days ago myself and three others hopped in a car full of school supplies and clothes headed to a poor middle school in Tongliang, Chongqing. What came next I was not expecting! Hundreds of small smiling children applauded us as we entered. They had never seen a foreigner. I gave a speech on the importance of education and taught them my favorite camp song called Baby Shark. Many of these kids will quit school and go back to the farms to help their grandparents. I was told these beautiful kids were called left behind children because their parents had all left to go make more money in cities far from home. The English teacher with me got 3000 Rmb from a friend and 2,000 of her own to present to 50 students with high achievements (this is around $1,000 in total). It was a memorable day and I hope to see them again soon and give them encouragement to stay in school. As I left they all wanted my autograph and picture! It was adorable and I felt like a movie star.
Last weekend I had another unforgettable experience. I went to one of my students’ hometown in the countryside. They had pigs, ducks, dogs, fruit trees and were cultivating rice. I soon found out they would be slaughtering one of the pigs the next morning to sell the meat. I decided I should witness this for the cultural experience and boy was it a spectacle! I woke up bright in early at 6:30 a.m. It was so misty and foggy out you couldn’t see 10 feet in front of you.
What seemed to be the local pig butcher suddenly appeared with his bucket of tools and plastic overalls. He had a big toothless smile on his face and his hands were worn and tough. Two other men came to help hold the pig down as they killed him. I held my student close as they did the deed. They were trying to save the blood in a big tin bowl to drink/eat later when the pig fell off the table and spilled the blood over everyone. Luckily I was far away from the mess! The family dogs rushed to the scene to have a quick free meal! Then they boiled water to pour over the skin in order to scrape the hair off. After the pig was gutted swarms of neighbors came out of nowhere to purchase the fresh pork. There was laughter, babies in baskets wearing four or five layers to stay warm, old men smoking from their pipes and still wearing their blue suits Mao Zedong distributed decades ago during his political reign, and lot of people staring at me and asking the same question, “where are you from?”
I am just scratching the service when it comes to understanding China and it seams the more I learn the less I understand. I am enjoying my classes and loving my students. Almost time for finals! I have good and bad days but overall my mission outweighs the negatives. I am here really to create and establish healthy relationships with the next generation of Chinese. Our friendship with China is important for a more stable world. Until next time my lovely Idahoans! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!!