Fans sitting on the sidelines
The boys basketball team of Hua Shan Elementary School were the tournament champions! I was so excited to watch them play. They were ALL so good! The girls did pretty well, too; they took third place. Everybody could really move around the court quickly. These little boys and girls are so much better than I ever was at their age! This was the final tournament of the fall semester. There will be another tournament next spring, too.
Above: The Pearl of Eternal Love (August)
There is a pearl for every single month. When we were at the Dragonfly Beads Art Studio, I decided to make the pearls pictured below for my family. I did not choose the pearls based on my family members' birth month, but instead chose the pearls based on aesthetics and meaning.
One of the artists helped me make the beads. She was part of the tribe, Paiwan, that specializes in making these glass beads. The population of the Paiwan is somewhat above 82,000. According to a brochure from the Bureau of Cultural, Park, Council of Indigenous Peoples, the Paiwan are the best at handicrafts. Apparently their expertise in handicrafts is a result of their heirarchical social structure; the nobles have a lot of time to refine their artistic skills because they do not participate in the daily-life productions. The Paiwan make a variety of objects, ranging from tools to architectural parts (i.e. wooden beams, pillars, etc.).
After making our beads, which took about 8 minutes to make and 40 minutes to cool, we headed to the Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park. There, we saw the tribe members of Paiwan dance and light firecrackers. The costumes they wore were very beautiful and brightly colored. We took a bus to the indoor Naluwan Theater within the park and on the way, saw many beautiful scenic spots.
For more pictures of this cultural experience, please see this album: Taiwan Photo Set 19: Sandimen Village.
Do you see me wearing the 7-11 uniform?
We did a little "cheers" and then played "7-Up, Heads Up" outside 7-11 before heading back to the school. It was a good activity for students to use English and it was a good day to drink a slurpee =D.
Amour with two other students singing songs from Cape No. 7 (left), Vicky singing with Frank (right)
Afterwards, Vicky (another Fulbrighter) got up and sang "This Moment" by Kelly Clarkson with Frank. All of the students were so talented! I know this because after Vicky and Frank sang, the entire class of 39 students got up and sang traditional Taiwanese songs.
After their singing performances, I taught the students the Hokey-Pokey and Macarena. They were not shy at all! When I taught my elementary students in English Club the Hokey-Pokey and Macarena, they were running away because they did not want to be embarrassed. The high school students, though, were not afraid to shake their bootie =D Cooking and dancing with the high school students was a great way to end a day!
Awards were given to teachers who had taught for ten years and to some special guests. Each grade did a performance that lasted about 5-10 minutes. The students and teachers worked really hard on the performances, practicing nearly two months before the actual ceremony. I made a video with clips from most of the performances. Hopefully this will give you a glimpse of how outstanding the kids are at Hua Shan. Here is what each grade did:
It was an incredibly fun day. The kids worked so hard on the performance and did so well. I also bonded with my fellow teachers and co-workers because we've been doing so many activities together, from the korfball competition to the relay race to the anniversary celebration! I'm so glad I'm at Hua Shan Elementary School because I get along so well with my teachers, fellow administrators, and students. Hua Shan is a very friendly, warm, and fun environment. I am so lucky to be at this school.
The day began with all of us heading to the middle school track and field. My school booked the track and field because ours was too small. The kids walked from Hua Shan to the middle school. The line of kids snaked around the entire block. When the kids arrived at the track and field, I led them in the "Boom Chica Boom" cheer and then they did warm-up exercises.
When the exercises finished, the students got ready for their relay race. During the race, my co-MC, Mr. Sha, would loudly cheer "Jia Yo! Jia Yo!" which literally means "Add Gas, Add Gas!" There isn't a real English equivalent except for maybe "Go! Go! Go!" So, I started shouting loudly in the microphone, "Go! Go! Go!" It was pretty exciting. The kids usually sped up when they passed by the stage and heard us yell.
It was such a fun event. I got a pretty bad tan, though. The sun was facing me so I was pretty hot when I was MCing. There are more pictures of my teachers and administrators in this album.
I had a lot of fun because Hua Shan was basically the cheerleading squad for the China-Taipei Korfball Team. The China-Taipei team played the Russian Korfball team. We were very very loud. The Taiwanese love to use these little plastic horns to blow and to also hit. The cheers are so awesome because everyone is so coordinated. China-Taipei won by two points, which is a lot because other teams that we saw kept only a one point difference with the opposing team.
The kids cheers were pretty cute, too. I recently burned the basketball coach a CD of warm-up songs for tomorrow's field day at Hua Shan and one of the songs I put on there was "Who Let the Dogs Out?" by Baha Men. At the Korfball game, the 6th grade sports class started cheering, "Who Let the Dogs Out? Whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo!" They thought the "Whoo" sounded like "Boo" so they thought it was legitimate to cheer against the Russian team. It was so cute!
Fellow teachers and staff at the game (above), Hua Shan students and a teacher (below)
You can find more photos of korfball right here.