This month marked the beginning of a new school year and the start of my second year at Shuangliu Experimental Primary. Last year held many great experiences for me and I was able to really develop as a teacher whilst working with the amazing children and staff within the school. I look forward to continuing my development within the school and, hopefully, to experience more Chinese culture, something that has already started. Earlier on this month, I had the pleasure of enjoying two days of activities arranged in celebration of the Mid-Autumn festival.
The first day of celebrations were conducted with a local youth centre situated next to the picturesque Tianfu Chuangke park. We gathered in their newly finished building in order to take a bus to a nearby tea house. The famous tea house is steeped in history with a rich blend of local tradition and culture. Luckily, as we enjoyed our tea, traditional Chinese music bathed us in a peculiar rhythm and tone that captivated the surrounding patrons. As is customary with most tea houses there was a man cleaning ears. I had only experienced this once before and was eager to try again so I was delighted when I heard the familiar chimes of his metal tweezers. He took me to his chair and began the procedure as the members of our group (some of which were new to China) looked on in puzzlement and with hints of anxiety. However, it was very relaxing and a great experience. In the second stage of the afternoon we returned to the youth centre to make mooncakes.
Arriving back at the centre we were faced with a makeshift kitchen and some interesting pieces of clothing. We were asked to put on aprons, a chef’s hat, gloves and a mouth guard in preparation to make mooncakes. They had arranged for very experienced pastry chef from a famous bakery to prepare the dough and filling for us then taught us how to weigh, roll, and the assemble the cakes. Once they had been prepared, they were cooked for 20 minutes in the oven and devoured in around 2 minutes. I ate 3 and thought I’d never managed another again…
Until, the next day.
Following on from the previous days event I was invited to another arranged by our very own Ms Wen alongside various other people. This event consisted of some live music performances whilst participants met with each other over a generous display of cakes and fruit. There were difficult ‘brain teasers’ available that are basically difficult questions that have interesting and sometimes obvious answers, I really enjoyed these.
After this there was another round of mooncake making. However, today there was no oven. These mooncakes did not require cooking and we were able to add bright colours to them to decorate. To end a lovely morning I was the first to be treated to a 30 minute Chinese massage. I was very grateful for this as the shoulder I received treatment on felt much better after.
This was a very hospitable and enjoyable Mid-autumn festival and I’m so thankful to be included in the events. I hope everyone had as lovely a time as I and now it’s time to exercise and work off all of the mooncakes that we ate!