Day five and six - Homestay

Hello again from Shanghai, the homestay is always a tough one for staff. We know the students will be so well looked after and will have experiences they will remember for the rest of their lives, however every time the phone beeps we all hit panic stations thinking what has happened!

We have had a little time to do a bit more sightseeing and met up with the Gold Apple Staff who will be coming over this summer. We have had some lovely food and Mr Barwise (the Geography teacher) even managed to get us a little lost on the metro only to realise 2 minutes later we were actually going in the right direction. We still all find ourselves looking round doing imaginary headcounts and worrying we don’t have 13 students with us!

It was also great to meet up with Eileen, she left the Gold Apple School a few years ago but was instrumental in setting up the exchange programme  here and visited Jack Hunt on a few occasions. It was lovely for Mr Barwise to receive a complement from her – ‘you are looking younger’… followed by the somewhat less flattering… ‘do you dye your hair now?’.  Just for the record, I do, and I don’t!

The blog will be slightly different today and the students will be telling you all about their weekends so we will hand over to them…

Lydia and Grace

On Friday 20th April our homestay family took us to old Shanghai and to a restaurant where we had dumplings. Then they took us to a river and we had dinner in the Shanghai Min. After that, they welcomed us to their home.

The next day (Saturday), we woke up and had a delicious English breakfast, cooked by Julia’s father. That day we went to a theme park called ‘Century Park’. There was a bike/car contraption that we went around the park on and we went on a few rides. One of the rides that we enjoyed was the space ride – it took us around the whole of the park in a bubble car above the rides. We went up Shanghai Tower on the fastest lift in the world; it went at 18 m/s. When we got to the top it was an amazing view! We went on the VR and had a green screen picture taken.

On Sunday morning, we woke up and took Peter, the dog, on a walk around the neighbourhood; then we went shopping and had Domino’s pizza and started our journey back to school.

Lucy and Emma

Firstly, Wonder and his mother accidentally left us and then came back when they remembered. Lol. We then walked to find his mother’s car; it was small but pleasant. We zoomed off towards the apartment.

On arrival, we drove under a white and red barrier. Next, we stopped in the middle of the road and hopped out of the car. The six flights of stairs was good exercise. When arriving to the apartment we got given shoes to wear around the house and got taken to our room. Unfortunately, Emma could not get onto the top bunk so we both had to share the bottom one.

After that, we had a small rest while Wonder and his mother went to the shop to buy us some snacks. We went up to his balcony to his small plant garden and cut some plants to eat for dinner that night; this only took about 30 minutes to cook and was spicy but delicious. We ate a range of new vegetables and meat.

Next the mother did a tea tasting session and we learnt a lot about it; such as there are different teas for different generations and they put it in a ball before serving it! We had about 10 cups of tea and learnt the culture behind each one. About an hour later, we went to bed and had a good sleep.

I’m sure there are 2 more days to add here. Mr B!

Simran and Karolina

One Friday the 20th of April, Peter’s mother picked us up at around 2pm and drove us an hour out to the hotel that we were staying at. We then had time to unpack and rest in the room. Peter then took us for a walk around the hotel campus before we had some traditional Chinese dinner.

After that, we went to the cinema and watched ‘Ready Player One’. We met up with Emma, Lucy and their student, Wonder, and went shopping for the following two days.

We enjoyed Hotpot for dinner on Saturday and Japanese food for lunch on the Sunday. There, we met up with Caroline, a student coming to England in June, and her mother who owned the Japanese restaurant we went to.

Our most enjoyable moment during home stay was when we visited the River Bank on Saturday evening as the river overlooked the Pearl Tower which we had visited previously in the week; we took lots of photos which capture the views perfectly. We enjoyed home stay a lot and are very thankful for this experience.

Abbie and Devonne

Our homestay experience was fantastic. We started off at the Gold Apple School where we met our lovely hosts. Afterwards, we were taken to the car  - this was a Tesla with doors that opened vertically! This was extraordinary as we hadn’t seen anything like it before!

As soon as we left the school we travelled to a famous temple; it was very interesting and beautiful. At the temple we met up with Lydia and Grace; it was very busy and lots of people were taking photos of the temple (and of us)!

On the second day, we woke up full of energy since we were able to sleep in. After a filling breakfast, we travelled to ‘Central Park’ where we met Lydia, Grace and their host family. We were given a bike which held all six people; we all hopped on and travelled “at high speed” around the park. We then went to the amusement park section and got quite aggressive on the dodgems. As it was fairly warm Abbie was craving an ice cream, which is exactly what she got. We then went on an electric boat and had a relaxing time chatting to Julia’s father (Lydia and Grace’s host’s father) who was very interested in England.

Later on, we went to the Blue Frog for lunch/dinner; we ate some delicious burgers and fries (our best meal yet!). We then travelled to the top of the tallest tower in Asia, the second tallest tower in the world!!The view was extraordinary and Mr Barwise was very envious (Sorry, sir!)

The final day of our amazing weekend started off with a strange breakfast which included crisps and some strange ice cream sort of thing. We then packed up all of our belongings and got ready for the day. Honey then took us down to walk around the paths surrounding her apartment; it was very hot and muggy weather. We were excited to play football downstairs with Honey’s younger brother Jerry; it was very fun. After an outstanding weekend we sadly returned to the Gold Apple School where we said our goodbyes and were reunited with everyone else.

Lawrence Gould

Upon my arrival, I unpacked my belongings and sat down on my bed and watched an episode of ‘The Simpsons’ while I waited for Hotpot to be ready. Once food was ready, I sat down at the table and started to eat with the family. I enjoyed most if it but the seafood wasn’t as enticing. Once we had finished dinner I went back to my room and fell asleep.

The next day, I woke up and ate porridge for breakfast and some bread with raisons inside. I watched some more Simpsons for a few minutes and then had a shower, after which I went with Jason and his Mother to eat a steak (It was a recurring food option) for lunch.

Later, we organised to meet up with Caitlin and Kim at a market called Tien Ze Fang and bought some souvenirs and had a very interesting snack, Liquid Nitrogen Soaked Biscuits, which made it look like we had smoke coming out of our mouth and nose. We then decided to go to an Italian restaurant and (Surprise, Surprise) I had steak for dinner as I couldn’t find any other dishes that were appealing at the time. After that, Caitlin, Kim and I parted ways and went home. As soon as I got home, I fell asleep.

The last day I slept for a few hours until I woke up and ate some more bread until we went to eat more steak (Whoop Whoop) at Pizza Hut (I’m not a fan of pizza) and then went back home and played Badminton until we had to leave to get back to the school. The Host family gave me some Green Tea to take home to my sister and then we drove back to the school.

Grace and Summer

On the 20th of April we were picked up from the Gold Apple School by Tompuson’s mother. They live on the outskirts of Shanghai so it was an hour and a half journey to their apartment and on the way we picked up his mother’s close friend who would stay with us for the weekend. When we got to the apartment we settled in and relaxed for a while; we then got ready and went to the shopping mall close to his house to have dinner and to buy some ingredients for the Sunday morning breakfast that we made. We ate at an Italian restaurant because his mother and him enjoy Italian food, then we looked around and went down to the supermarket.

On Saturday, we woke up to a traditional Chinese breakfast which was made by the Mother’s friends; he’d prepared steamed buns, egg and Chinese pizza base. In the day, we visited Hangzhou which is in a Jiangsu province. We went to the Western Lake with Tompuson’s uncle, cousin and grandmother and took a boat into the centre of the lake. It was very different to Shanghai and it was nice to experience a rural part of China. For lunch, we went to KFC but later on we had a more traditional dinner in a beautiful Chinese restaurant where we tried many new dishes. After dinner, there was a show in the centre of Hangzhou where there were fountains and a light display.

The next morning, we made pancakes and scrambled egg for the family as a thank you for making our weekend so special. We then went to a shopping mall to eat lunch which was a Hotpot.   Afterwards we were very sad to leave their home as we headed back to the school. We had such an amazing weekend and we appreciate all the things Tompuson’s family did for us.

Hope you have enjoyed reading about everything they have all been doing. Seeing them all come back absolutely buzzing with huge smiles on their faces, excited to tell us all about their weekend makes all the worrying over the last few days a distant memory.

The students have clearly been well fed, however they were peckish this evening as we were  planning lessons for tomorrow. So we managed to place an order for some pizza – however, as with the McDonalds order the other night, it wasn’t a complete success… we ordered 3 rather than six. The students were very understanding and ensured that we were left with the 3 decorative chillies and a few scraps of ham! Thankfully Mr Cooke gallantly volunteered to run to the shop and get us a pot noodle!

Tomorrow we are back in school teaching lessons to some of the primary students and also in the coming days visiting and working in Pu Xing and Pu Guang schools. A really busy few days ahead, so we are pleased that the students have had the chance to rest and recharge their batteries! It is hard to believe quite where the week has gone. We’re looking forward to a really good few days coming up.

Regards Mr Barwise, Mr Cooke and Miss Shirley