Teacher, students and camp leaders in Xaimen, China

One year after my amazing experience in Haimen, I was invited to Xaimen to teach english for the same program. Without hesitation I jumped at the chance!  However, this time I was more prepared for what to expect. I did not bother to bring food from home, nor did I pack near as much. I knew that our meals would be delicious and that I did not need as much clothing as washing clothes by hand was simple and with the heat of the summer they would dry very quickly. I learned so much on my first trip I was eager to get back to teaching the children and for them to teach me.

When we arrived in Xaimen the landscape was vasty different from Haimen.  We were right on the oceans edge facing Tawaiin and a beautiful little island called Gulangyu which was nicknamed piano island. Our accommodations and the school was a five minute cab ride from the city centre full of shopping and restaurants. On the first day we were invited to a banquet where we had traditional Chinese food and most of it was delicious. Some of the food I did not recognize and others I was unsure of trying but not wanting to insult anyone I tried it all. Even the raw cows tongue.

Students learning basketball

The children were amazing at this camp and I was met with the same shock and awe that I would be teaching them sports. It was an incredible feeling to watch some of the students touch a basketball for the first time and to watch their skills grow. We also played ultimate frisbee and the children loved it! None of them had ever played with a frisbee before and being able to throw something super far with little effort was very exciting.

This second journey to China really challenged the things I had learned the last time I was here. While I did find my communication both verbal and non verbal to be better, I still had a long way to go. This trip also reiterated the importance of patience when dealing with other cultures and situations. My daily experiences really helped me to grow as I challenged myself to get out into the community more and speak to more people. My day to day interactions allowed me to build relationships within the community, and help people where I could be it washing clothes, cooking meals or just wanting an ear to listen too.