7:20 AM- the phone rings.
This morning Jake called my room saying that there was no wake up call. It was already 20 minutes past our wake up time. Skyler and I had to hurry to shower, eat, and get ready to go for this crazy stupendous day. When I got to breakfast I was a little disappointed due to there being no lo-mein. We were a little late this morning to our meeting at the Inner Mongolia Arts College. The meeting was really cool because Tom’s face lit up every 2 seconds seeing a new person that he has known for a long time. After our meeting with the teachers, some students, and the principal, we got to go to our rehearsal room. On our way there, I met a guy who is very close to my best friend, Kayla Williams (Gao Wuxiang). I gave him a letter she gave to me for him. When we were walking to the building, he managed to video call Kayla and I got to talk to her today. It was so great seeing her face and I was almost in tears. As we walked into the rehearsal room, I was super excited because the first thing we were going to do was sing. As we started the song, right away, I knew the teacher was going to be tough on us. Within the first 2 measures he stopped the song and made us fix our mistakes, over and over. It made me feel like I was back at District Chorus making the song perfect and fixing every tiny mistake, working endlessly to perfect everything from tone to pitch to even how loud we sang, giving the song a certain effect.
The chorus we were singing with obviously knew what they were doing because they put a lot of amazing singers I know to shame. I was told that they weren’t even the best chorus at the school which was kinda of crazy to believe. We worked for about an hour on the Chinese song and then switched over to Here Comes the Sun. Mr. Goodemote was in charge of this. He arranged the song into three parts but there was only two parts learned so we had to start over and relearn notes. It was kind of frustrating because I knew my part and I had to sit and wait for the other parts to catch up to the highest part (the melody). After we finished with Here comes the Sun, some of our students did an instrumental collaboration. Mr. Goodemote was on the trumpet, Fairen was on the flute, and Jake played the drums. They did a really great job and in the song there was some Mongolian throat singing, which I thought was so cool to get to hear up close and to watch the band rehearse together. I was quite hungry at this point and was very relieved to hear that we would break for lunch.
At lunch we had dumplings, fruits, and a bunch of different meats mixed with veggies. After lunch, we had an hour and a half break to rest and hang out. I sat on the bus for a while to regain some energy then, I went into the music room where Mr. Goodemote was playing trumpet, and it sounded really good. Then, as I was sitting in the room I realized Skyler had her ukulele outside and I could go outside with her to sing. I love singing with Skyler, it is always so much fun. We sang Ho Hey, Riptide, I’m Yours, and Here Comes the Sun. The security guard kept walking over to us so he could listen to some great tunes while on the job. Our break felt like such a long time but it was definitely needed after singing all morning. I thought when we went back to the music room we were going to start working on our dance collaboration, but yet again, we were singing. I didn’t mind singing again this afternoon but some people were obviously upset about it. We worked on Wild Goose (the Chinese song) again and fixed even more things. During that time, he asked all of the American students to sing it just American students. I could tell that some of us were extremely scared and did not want to do that at all but, I was super excited to do that because I love singing and wish the rest of our group was more of a singing group because we could sound so good together. In our song, there are two parts, the low part was most of the guys, except Adam, but it included Skyler and Mariah. On the higher part was most of the girls but, Adam was on our part as well. We definitely embarrassed ourselves at that moment but it was okay because we are just learning the song and we will get better.
We worked on Here Comes the Sun again and fixed a bunch of stuff so that we could sing through the whole song, obviously with mistakes, but we knew the gist of it which was pretty cool. After this, it was 4:30 and we finally got to dance. I was so pumped to dance because I knew the guy I met today was an amazing dancer and he would come to help us. We had 4 girls leading the class, he jumped in and helped whenever he could, as he was able to speak English very well. As the girls showed us the first part of the dance, I got a little nervous because it seemed as though it was hard. We worked on it for a little bit and I finally got it and was very proud of myself. We moved on to the second part which, in my mind, was a lot easier. As I got more and more into the rhythm, the third part took no time at all. At the end, we split up into 3 groups and had to show what we learned to each other. I chose the first group and we did it with our instructor first then we got to show the group and our instructors. It was well, honestly kind of embarrassing to be dancing a new dance that we had just learned. I was so afraid that I was going to mess up but I was told that I did a great job which was a huge reliever. The other groups did a good job too and everyone embarrassed themselves equally as much. I love our group so much because we can easily embarrass ourselves in front of each other while doing artistic things without there being a huge problem. During one of our breaks Brianna was doing a split and the guy did a split each way and brought his leg up over his head which was so cool. When we finished the Journey East group went out to dinner and we had a good night in.
Overall, today was definitely my favorite so far and Inner Mongolia is my favorite place out of all of the others. At the college everywhere you look there is someone dancing, playing an instrument, singing, or drawing. Everyone here has some sort of amazing artistic talent and it is so great being here. The food is also my favorite so far. I can’t wait to see what other amazing experiences we have in this great city.