Friday, 3 June 2016

Good Evening Manchester!

Greetings from the Netherlands!

It's cold, wet and cloudy here in Amsterdam but we are only 4 hours away from seeing our families!
Although we miss our Chinese friends already, it is a relief to finally visit European toilets!
It is almost 10pm in Beijing but we have set our watches to UK time ready to adjust.
Not long to all xx

This is a Dutch police man. (We couldn't find anything better to take a picture of!) 

...We just found some tulips!

Our Welcome Party and Friends

From left to right: Mr Zhou (Mr Joe!), Mrs Gardiner, Miss Ding, The lovely Heather & Mrs Edwards.
These people have been our rocks. The most helpful, kind, thoughtful & generous people we could have hoped to have met.
Thank you x

Look who we Found...

As we were walking through the airport, jiggling our last few Yuan in our pockets, we spotted some beautiful pandas wearing traditional Chinese clothes. Pandas are an endangered species and there are about 239 living in captivity in China, 49 abroad and around 1590 living wild in the mountains. While the dragon is the national symbol of China, the panda is slowly becoming more recognisable and was even used as one of the main good luck mascots in the Beijing Olympics. These ones were so cute, they practically jumped into our shopping basket! (As well as a chocolate muffin) We hope they'll love their new home.
1hr 30 till be board. Love to all x

Homeward Bound!

We're up, dressed and having breakfast in the airport hotel which consists of coffee, croissants, chocolate & cheese spread crackers as well as a range of beef, pork and seafood dishes with rice. We opted for croissants & coffee today! 
Flight KL898 is on time & ready to depart at 10:55. 16 hours to go. We're on our way! 
Love to all, see you soon. Xx

Thursday, 2 June 2016

School life in Qingdao

Looking back at our photos, reflecting on our experience and talking to the teachers here, it seems like there are many things we can learnt from each other.
In China the lessons are always very formal and text book based. The children stand up to answer questions and have a different teacher for each subject - much like English high schools. Each lesson lasts 40 minutes and they have daily 'exercise' where they raise the Chinese flag.
During a discussion with the teachers who observed our art and science lessons, they expressed how creative they thought the activities were. The children were keen to continue the tasks we set and were clearly learning independently, thinking for themselves and demonstrating enquiring minds. Mrs Jiang the principal explained to us afterwards that she would like to change the structure of her school day to include longer afternoon sessions so the children could benefit from English style creativity.

Life in Beijing

Many people in Beijing wear masks on the streets as it can get quite smoggy here.
During busy times of the day, roads get very full and traffic is a big problem. Many people travel on motorised push bikes, scooters, rickshaws and tuk tuks! Taxis are very cheap but so many people use bikes. Its so interesting to watch daily life here!