Monday, June 13, 2016

True Beauty

Originally posted on: July 15, 2015
This week has been extraordinarily busy.  We have started working with the students and have both morning classes and evening activities.  A few colleagues and I, though, were able to take an afternoon to navigate the Chinese bus system and explore West Lake.  While, in America, we know very little of this lake, it is of the utmost importance in China.  For over a thousand years artists, poets, and other creative minded people have sat upon the banks of the lake to be inspired in the most unique way.  West Lake is of great cultural significance here, so much so that it is even featured on the back of some of their money.  Standing on the banks of this lake, watching the dragon boats float by and willow trees blow in the breeze, it was quite clear why this lake is so special.
Visiting this site was a remarkable experience.  The beauty of the lake against the distant mountains allowed me to stop and reflect on the specific moment in time.  As Charlie says in Perks of Being a Wallflower, “I felt infinite”, which is cheesy, but I truly did as I took in the natural beauty of the lake.  It allowed me to step back and appreciate my unusual life, which brought me to this small city in China.  Below are some photos from my journey around the lake.
The pagoda was our goal, but unfortunately was too far of a walk.  We decided to save it for another day
On our walk, we opted for a break at a teahouse right on the lake.  The tea was extremely pricy, but with a view like this it was worth every penny.  There is a close up of the small pagoda below.  The walkway out to the structure appeared to just float on top of the lake.  It was simplistic, yet beautifully designed.
West Lake at sunset is a must see experience.  If I had a bucket list, I would be checking that off as we speak.  The sun slowly retracted behind the mountains, casting an amazing pinkish hue onto the lake and across the horizon.  It was incredibly peaceful and an experience I will never forget.
I am planning on returning to the West Lake area later this week to visit more of the sites, and also to visit the nearby Apple Store….that glowing logo in the window was calling my name!  Hangzhou is an amazing city full of Chinese tradition and the modern amenities I am used to (like Starbucks…although iced coffee is easily lost in translation).
For now, I am continuing my planning and instruction with the students, which, has been an extraordinary experience.  I have been teaching 15 and 16 year olds, who have minimal English, about the biomes of the United States, which was an unfamiliar topic for me from an instruction perspective.  This experience has taken me far out of my comfort zone in many ways, but that is what life is all about!  I will be posting soon about my unique experience as a high school ELL science teacher, so stay tuned!

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