Early one morning...
Well, I’m a little bleary-eyed but everything’s going ok. Looking back on the first part of the trip seems like looking back on some sort of nirvana: it’s been really rewarding, but very much nose to the grindstone since then! Blogger Paulraj commented ‘Isn’t it slightly tedious teaching 8 hours per day?’ Well, no, in a word! I love my job, and no matter how tired you are, something happens when you get in front of the class and see all these people coming from different lives and different perspectives wanting to learn and work together. I get this amazing rush of adrenaline , and can keep going for the whole day. The problem is at the end of the day, when all the adrenaline rushes back out of your system again, and you feel a bit like an empty shell, barely able to string a sentence together! When I reach this point in the UK, I usually go home and sit staring vacuously into space from the sofa, or play the piano for a few hours. I miss my piano, actually.
Anyway, back to the point. Shanghai was amazing; I learnt so much just from going on a one-day tour. May I share some photos with you?
I went to the museum where I learnt a new word: ‘numismatist’. From the context, I’d guess that a numismatist is someone who collects coins.
I saw some examples of early money. It wasn’t round, as you can see! These ‘coins’ are made in the form of a type of farm equipment. From the looks of it, I’d say they resembled shovels.
Neolithic prototype coinage
Skipping forward a couple of millennia, we have the world’s first paper money. Beautiful, isn’t it?
Later on that day, we also visited some gardens in central Shanghai. You can see what they were like from the photo below.
This portal is called a ‘moon gate’, and is aimed at framing the landscape, creating a composition worthy of a watercolour painting.
Lastly, we visited a Buddhist temple. It was incredibly serene. I feel quite drawn to Buddhism, although I don’t know a great deal about it.
Reclining Jade Buddha
Finally, I made my way back to the hotel. It’s a bit of a monolith, isn’t it? The architecture’s actually inspired by Broadway, an influence which you can detect in the Art Deco style of the exterior.
It was interesting to hear about your first words in English, and how you learnt them. Some people learnt through song, others through repetition. My Chinese repertoire has now expanded to include ‘Beautiful, isn’t it?’, ‘I’m full, thank you’, ‘You first’, and ‘You’re welcome’. I’ve also learnt the word for ‘teacher’, so I can tell when people are talking about me ;-) Feeling quite chuffed with myself, although it’s largely thanks to the patience of my Chinese friend that I’ve learnt these words!
Anyway, ‘bye for now, and I look forward to hearing from you all.
• bleary-eyed = pink, dry eyes with problems focussing due to lack of sleep
• Nirvana = heaven (a place without worries)
• nose-to-the-grindstone = working very hard
• tedious = boring
• adrenaline = a chemical produced by the brain which gives us a burst of energy
• to stare vacuously into space = to stare into space with a blank expression (and very few thoughts in your head!)
• prototype = the first known example of something, which is usually followed by more refined versions of the initial concept
• worthy of = good enough to (usually used in sentences such as ‘This painting is particularly worthy of note’)
• serene = calm
• a monolith = a big, slabbish building with very little lightness or beauty to break up its heavy appearance
• to feel quite chuffed with oneself = to feel quite pleased with oneself (informal/colloquial)
LE VOCABULARY CHALLENGE
a) Where do you think the term ‘Nirvana’ comes from? What does this word mean to you?
b) Where do you think the phrase ‘nose to the grindstone’ comes from? Can you guess the origins of this phrase?
LE GRAMMAR & SPELLING CHALLENGE
The following sentences are taken from the blog comments, and each contain one tiny error. Can you correct them and explain your corrections? Good luck!
1. So, you’re in China! I’m glad you had a good time. (hint: tense)
2. He didn’t have much money on him, so I picked up the tap. (hint: spelling)
3. I’ve been speaking it for years now, so I’ve never thought about the first words I’ve learnt in English. (hint: tense)
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