Today I woke up at 7:00 in the Qufu Teacher’s College dorms feeling tired but excited. It was my birthday, and the first time I have ever spent it without my family, and in a different country. The first thing we all did was go to a two-hour lecture about Confucianism by Peter Zhang, one of the most knowledgeable individuals in the Confucian belief system. He showed us all a PowerPoint which included information about Confucius’ early life, his contributions, and even some negative impacts on Chinese culture.
After this we ate lunch at the cafeteria we had been going to often, on campus, which I think we all thoroughly enjoyed, and headed back to the dorms for break time. I think that staying at Qufu is nice because after a long and tiring two weeks of constantly moving around, you can finally have a laid-back schedule with lots of time to relax.
After lunch we all headed back to the same room the first lecture was in and prepared for the second session which was about Chinese folk songs. We learned about the stories and situations for different folk songs, and how they are primarily based on emotion. For example, one of the main categories of Chinese folk songs is labor, as the music eases the repetitive tasks and makes the people work more efficiently. This lecture was more interactive, and the teachers had us sing portions of songs and then taught us a song called Mo Li Hua, which we had already learned at Qinglai, the previous school. Nonetheless, the teacher was very impressed that we picked up on it and sang it so well, and even said that out of all the groups she has taught this song to, we were the best ones.
After dinner at the same cafeteria, we had another rest break and then went to a night session with Mrs. R, where the group went over and discussed our journal entries, and some of the unique experiences we have had on the trip thus far. It was nice to have a group discussion on this because at least for me, I hadn’t had the chance to talk with everyone about the trip so far, and I think we all had a nice time reflecting on it. We also had my birthday celebration at this time and I got a big cake, which reminded me of home and my family, but also made me realize that I will probably never experience my birthday in China again and how special it was to be celebrating it all the way across the world. Overall, it was a laid back but fun day, and so far, I am really enjoying my time in Qufu.