Yesterday morning began like the day before, at the sports stadium. Kind of like Groundhog Day, except there were actually more people there. I met my team there at 10:30 – 6 foreign guys and 3 other girls, all Chinese.
Two of the guys (Julius from Germany and Victor from Hungary) were comically tall compared to our Chinese girls, so I had to take a picture:
We practiced the sack exchange a few times and then it was our turn to line up for the second heat. As we lined up behind the stands, I cheered loudly whenever they said our team name and was, surprisingly, the only one to do this. (This has always been my strategy in sporting events – make up in volume what you lack in skill.)
Somehow, I was selected to be the first leg of the relay.
I fell behind, but the important thing was that I didn’t fall. Each person had to jump 30 meters, which is surprisingly long when you’re jumping in a sack. (Side note – the Chinese name for this event is 袋鼠跳, or kangaroo-jump. The word for kangaroo literally means “bag-mouse”.)
Anyway, the rest of the team just continued to fall behind so I was really just being consistent. The Chinese students sack-hop like they do everything else – with an intensity that borders on, and occasionally surpasses, scary. We ended up with our last guy jumping after everyone else had finished.
Another last-place finish for the Overseas Education College. But, really, we were all winners, even before the race had begun – because we got our t-shirts.
It was actually hot this afternoon, especially jumping in the sun. Diederik decided it would be nice to have a picnic on the beach, so we bought some food and went out there. We got to watch the sunset while we talked and ate.
It got a little cool after the sun went down but after all, it is the end of November. That’s still warm in my book!
I went from the picnic to church for the 1st Sunday in Advent! The beginning of Advent (the season before Christmas), is the beginning of a new Church year, so . . . Happy New Year! There were new missals, new songs and Mass parts, and an Advent wreath (although I think it’s just for the English Mass). I don’t quite have the hang of the new Mass parts, but a few of the songs were familiar: we sang “O Come O Come Emmanuel” (天主圣子恳请降临) and something to the tune of Amazing Grace (谢圣体经).
I made it back from Mass just in time to go dancing. I had a particularly good time (Smelly Man didn’t come!) and I’m even starting to learn the Viennese waltz. The best part of the evening was getting the women to agree to come to the club afterwards. They were so funny – acting like teenage girls even though the youngest of them is in her mid-40’s. They wanted to make sure the others were going so they wouldn’t be alone, and kept asking if the 帅哥 was going. (It literally means “good-looking older brother”, but it’s a common term for “hottie” or something like that. It’s what they call Lester, my Filipino friend . . . we actually aren’t sure if they know his real name.)
When the music stopped at 10, we headed for the club. One of the women owns a car – a BMW, actually! – so she drove, with four of us women in the back. (They’re all so tiny that it actually wasn’t even a tight fit.) When we got to The Key, the crappy new Taiwanese band was playing so we got a table upstairs and sat for awhile. Once the bands changed and the music got better, I managed to get two of them to come down and dance with me. It was a little bit crowded, but they slowly warmed up to it and seemed to enjoy themselves. Dancing with these middle-aged Chinese women to songs like “Get Low” (they did, by the way) was one of the most ridiculous and special experiences of my time in China. To make it even funnier, there was a very drunk man at the table next to our spot who indiscriminately hit on us, even the older women.
Unfortunately I don’t think the other two women enjoyed themselves that much. The smoke, noise, and crowds were too much for them. Still, one of them is 60 and I’m kind of proud of her for coming at all! They left around midnight, chiding me for not wearing a jacket and cautioning me to be careful – still old women after all! I stayed there and danced with Leinira until almost 3 – after all, it was New Year’s Eve.