So for our last couple of days out West, we went to go visit some of my students in a little town in Gansu called Baiyin. These were some of the students that I had had back in February when I was teaching with Michelle in a relatively high class and most of them were students that I actually liked. So, I decided to give them a call and have a visit.
To this end, we caught a bus from Labrang to Lanzhou (which is the provincial capital) and then, after wandering around lost for awhile, and trying to buy bus tickets from every one of the four bus terminals in towns, getting in a black cab with a couple of completely helpless Belgians who I can’t imagine wiping their own noses in China let alone getting visas to China and ending up in Lanzhou. Anyways. Our opinion of Lanzhou is rather low. In fact, I’m not really remembering this properly as I’m pretty sure some of this happened on our way back through Lanzhou at the end of our trip. As well as a dead fly falling directly into Amanda’s water cup. Highlight of the trip. Only not really
Anyways, we ended up in this little town of Baiyin, where two of my students from back in February met us at the bus. Literally at the bus. Like, I hadn’t climbed down the bus steps before I heard “PIIIIIIIIP!” It was cute. We established ourselves in a hotel and then got a much belated dinner where we all talked a bit. First, the students were like “Why didn’t you come on a weekend? We could have so much fun if it were the weekend!” But then, we were like “we could just come to your school, that would be cool” which somehow got to “why don’t you teach a class for us,” which the next day turned into, “why don’t you teach a class for all of the classmates (of which there were seven in town).” Which is how I ended up teaching over 400 middle schoolers how to do the Macarena.
There were plenty of interesting moments, (oh by the way there will probably be more than 120 students in this class), surprises (oh, you didn’t bring your own monitor cable? I guess we can’t use the computer), stunning displays of Chineseness (now the entire school will Jazzercise as morning exercise), and downright touching…ness. Touchingness (teacher! please give me a big hug!).
It was a lot of fun, although at the time I was like…..AH! mob of middle schoolers. (I have bad memories of middle school).
Anyways. It was a great way to end our trip, and we also got a ride back to Lanzhou out of it. In a police cruiser no less. One of my student’s husband is a court clerk and he had to drop off some papers in Lanzhou, so we got to tag along with her, him, and their driver from the court, and their ride. A police cruiser.