Calligraphy, Culture and Cupping!

Just as we thought the days could not get any better we encountered calligraphy, Chinese takeaway, Chinese culture lessons and a “foot massage”.

We dragged ourselves out of bed at 7.30am after a slight lie-in and made our way to a calligraphy lesson taught by the University’s Director of Finance. He presented us with a brief history on Chinese writing including all the different writing styles (they all looked the same to me!)

We were then let loose with a “shu fa bi” (“shoe far beer”), ink and some rice paper to try our hand at Chinese writing! With the help of the amazing Chinese students/volunteers we translated our names into the Chinese symbols. We were very impressed with our calligraphy skills and I think we all mastered this skill…. Ok maybe not quite but we definitely enjoyed it! You know its bad when the Chinese students (as politely as possible) compare your work to that of a child.

After our wonderful calligraphy session (which also included finding out our multi-talented ODP student Allyson could play the Cheng!) we had lunch as usual in the Canteen which was very busy! Megan and Tasha had the delight of ordering a milkshake which translated as ‘strawberries and cheese’- which we quickly realised was just like strawberry cheesecake at home so not as bad as it initially sounds.

Our afternoon consisted of a Chinese Culture lesson taught by a wonderful lady called Xiuye. We felt very looked after with bottomless Chinese tea and cake and it was a consensus that lectures should be more like this back at Edgehill *wink* *wink*. Xiuye taught us about the different cultures surrounding marriage, religion and festivals. I think we all came away from this having a much better insight into what principles Chinese families follow and what is expected of the man in marriage proposals.

Unfortunately, one of our members did not have the best of days and lost her battle against the mosquitos – at least she was the first to see inside a Chinese Hospital though (I am sure she will explain more about this in her blog later in the week). Thankfully though, she is on the mend and made it back in time for the next item on the agenda which was a well needed “foot massage”.

On entering the building for our ‘foot massage’ I can only describe it as being ‘papped’. We were greeted by 6+ staff members, a red carpet (which could have been there all the time but I’m sure it was just for us) and so many people taking pictures and videos. I kind of understand what it feels like to be famous now, just a little bit.

We were then guided into a room with 6 beds and a pair of pyjamas folded on the pillows. After a nervous wee we sat on the end of the beds eagerly awaiting what was to follow. The ladies came in with bowls of water and using no English at all managed to tell us to put out feet into the scalding hot water whilst we sat there and gritted our teeth. The next two hours developed mixed reviews of either the most relaxing of your life or the most excruciating. It involved kneading, pulling, slapping, kneeling, shaking, manipulating, bending, pinching, twisting, punching, rubbing, elbowing, scratching you name it – they did it. You should have seen the look on our faces when they brought the fire and proceed to ‘cup’ our feet. However, I am almost 100% sure that despite the experience everyone will feel the benefits of it tomorrow as it was so intense- it was amazing. It can’t have been that bad if it ended in one of the lecturers snoring can it?!

It must be noted that the only male in the group received extra special treatment from one of the ladies who treated him to a pedicure- maybe she just wanted to make his feet look pretty as she cut and filed his nails and everything!

This trip just keeps getting better and better and I literally cannot wait for what the rest of the week has in store!

Blog post by Lao Lun (Lauren Cumston) on Wednesday 12th June

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