Temples and Elementary Schools

Yesterday was the day I’d been waiting for!! After class, we visited the Jade Buddha Temple and the Old City God Temple. Let me start by saying, please google some pictures for reference. Unfortunately, uploading pictures for this blog is quite an effort with the slow internet here, so I’m sorry that my blog posts haven’t been visually stimulating recently.

Anyways, the Jade Buddha Temple was beautiful! It was a lot smaller than I expected. It was an interesting comparison to the temple that I had seen in Cambodia. The main attraction of the temple was the large, carved Jade Buddha. Jade is coveted in China because it represents a link to Heaven and your own human nature, changing color the longer you wear it. And boy, was the Jade Buddha breathtaking! After visiting the Jade Buddha Temple, we visited a Daoist temple called the Old City God Temple. I’d never been to a Daoist temple before and we were lucky enough to witness an afternoon ritual taking place. It was such a strange phenomenon, a sacred ritual being performed around rudely babbling tourists snapping photos. I almost felt like the temple was a tug of war between a tourist attraction and a place of worship. We toured the temple grounds and it was gorgeous with similar architecture to the Buddhist temple. What I really liked about the Daoist temple was how much of my knowledge I could apply from my previous Daoism class! I’ve obviously utilized a lot of my knowledge on Buddhism, but this was the first time I could notice certain motifs and characters I had learned about in my Daoism course.

After touring the temple we shopped around the market, which turned out to be my favorite market that I’d been to so far. My bargaining skills were absolutely on point yesterday and I made it out with several gifts for some people back home!

Today, Thursday, we had class then visited an elementary school in Shanghai! We were divided into three groups, so Saba, Tiffany, Deshawn, Omer and I taught a first grade class English. They were adorable! There were about forty students in the class and we reviewed body parts, colors, and animal names. All the kids were so energetic actually spoke pretty good English! After class we played games with them outside. 🙂

Right now I’m just relaxing in my dorm, surrounded by all my drying clothes thrown around the room (I lost my dryer token 🙂 ), but on the bright side our room smells like laundry detergent! I think I’m finally becoming comfortable here in Shanghai, I just wish there were more things to do around campus besides shopping. Fortunately, tonight I’m going to be taking a class on Chinese painting! I’m extremely excited, especially because I’ve learned so much about the history of Chinese painting at UW Madison.