Saturday, 17 September 2011

Tianjin No. 1 High School

So I have never seen anything like it…we normally have Mondays off but for the first day of school we were asked whether we would like to attend the flag raising ceremony at 8am on Monday morning. “Cool” we said…why not. We walk out of our building through the school and what do we see…groups of students in military formation lightly jogging to a chorus of “left, right, left”. Turns out they were all making their way to the sports field to form an even bigger military style formation. Once all 3000 students were assembled nicely, someone shouted a few things over the loud speaker in a deafening cry, shortly followed by the raising of the flag and the national anthem. It was definitely a sight to see! (We have often joked with other ELAs about coming back to the school slightly under the influence and 'borrowing' the flag…but I am in no doubt that they would most definitely hunt you down!) So yes it was very interesting and so unlike anything you would expect at home but unfortunately we will probably not experience this again as we are fast asleep on Monday mornings!

Our living quarters

Our school is not pretty. It’s grey, a bit dull and the sunflowers (the school flower) that grow in the middle of the school are all dying, but I like it! It’s not beautiful but it’s in an awesome location, has everything you need (including a swimming pool..perfect for me!), and it takes us two minutes to get from our rooms to work! The students’ uniforms are quite nice too if you like lilac - more of a tracksuit than a traditional school uniform as one would expect at home. Our mentor is going to get hold of a couple for us to look cool (Chinese style) when we get home!

There are some very cute little streets around our school and the best place to buy flowers in the whole city is just down the road. I often see beautiful bouquets being prepared and people walking around with lovely flower arrangements bigger than themselves. Naturally they are extremely busy on Teachers Day and Valentine’s Day! There is also a little street that sells animals such as tiny kittens, guinea pig looking animals, fish and turtles. I nearly bought a puppy along this street…he was blonde and so small, the cutest thing I have ever seen! A lot of people seem to have pet dogs in China but they are all so tiny! Jake says they are not proper dogs. He seems to think that they all have rabies and he wants to kick them all but they are real dogs, they don’t have rabies and most of them are adorable. Just the other day I saw a tiny white poodle, complete with red slippers, strut past followed by a wonderful display by a Chihuahua attempting to climb up an escalator that had just decided to stop working (I still don’t know whether he made it or not).

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