Thursday morning around 8am we all climbed aboard the bus and departed campus for the north-eastern part of Taiwan known as Yilan (宜蘭). The school had hired tour guides for the trip, so as we were driving the movies were occasionally paused so that the guide could point something out of interest to the kids. There aren't really highways that cross the mountains that run down the middle of Taiwan, so to get from the west side of the island to the east side you either have to drive up and around or down and around. We drove up, arriving in Yilan (宜蘭) mid afternoon. The only thing scheduled for the day was the International Children's Festival. First we lined up to go on a short sailboat ride, and after that the kids were given time to go and play in the water park area. Between the teachers that wanted to play in the water and the tour guides, any adults who didn't want to get wet didn't have to, so I sat in a chair under a tree reading Swift's Gulliver's Travels. The water park area was crazy! There was loud music pumping through the air, water spraying down from suspended nozzles, inflatable covered platforms, and wading pools. Workers with whistles were patrolling several of the areas. After that it was time for dinner and then we headed back to base for the night. Each group was assigned to a suite of rooms comprising a bathroom, living room, and two bedrooms. One bedroom had two double beds, the other had a queen with two mats on the floor. I told the girls that they could choose where they wanted to sleep. They decided that I'd get to sleep on the floor, because all of them were afraid of sleeping near the floor to ceiling windows on that side of the room. It was fine by me. I'm not too terribly picky about where I sleep. The girls all had so much energy though! And especially the three girls in my room just didn't want to fall asleep. Finally after multiple trips to the bathroom and a few ultimatums though, everyone was sleeping peacefully.
|Waiting for the sailboat rides to start up. They could seat six to a boat, plus the "driver".|
|Some of the girls playing UNO before bed.|
Friday morning started around 7am when I started waking the girls up so they could pack up their stuff and get ready for breakfast. We had to take everything out of the room with us when we left to eat. The museum itself didn't open until later, but there were plenty of different little crafty shops and stores to walk through, and that's how our morning was spent. S.J, one of the teachers, bought a traditional umbrella. The kids also bought a variety of different pictures, toys, and food. After lunch we visited a museum where each floor had a theme. We started on the third floor, which was all about the mountains around Yilan. The second floor looked at the plains. And the first floor focused on the sea. There was an actual retired fishing vessel housed on the first floor that the kids could take turns boarding in small groups which they really enjoyed! Then it was time to start heading back to Chaiyi.
|Putting the finishing touches on the umbrella S.J. purchased|
|The museum we visited in the afternoon.|
|A few of the girls reading a display in the lobby of the museum.|
My group of students realized fairly quickly into the trip that my Chinese was good enough to communicate with just that for a multitude of things, which meant that Chinese was their go to when talking with each other and me then. Although sometimes they'd speak English, and if I really didn't understand they'd go back and say something in English. All that functioning in Chinese required a lot more thinking, processing, and paying attention on my part, which made it a little more exhausting, but it was also good practice!
In the end, I think the students enjoyed their field trip. One week of summer camp to go. Then I'm off to Japan for a few days!