You don't know you're beautiful

Why does this entry share a name with a terrible boy band hit single?
Oh, you'll find out!
SO. This week has been crazy, busy, work, work, play, play, meetings, meetings, teaching, meetings, teaching, planning and so forth. It's nuts, but typical. Lots to figure out like schedules, teaching assignments, routines etc. On top of all these lovely happenings we were informed that we would be performing in a talent show with all the other ILP groups from the area and other english teachers Saturday at a big banquet for all the staff and parents of Bond (a organization that helps place english programs into schools in the area) - last minute performances in front of hundreds of people, pretty typical of China. No pressure to us, but our native coordinator Gloria informed us that the last semester teachers from our school won. So naturally, to follow suit, we wait until Friday night to rehearse… I mean choreograph and then rehearse act. We had for some reason, as a group chose the song "You don't know you're beautiful" by the boy band, one direction. I am not quite sure how it happened but it was between this and 'Sweet Dreams (are made of this)' by Eurythmics (the latter didn't seem like it would be as much as a crowd pleaser). LUCKILY one multi-talented young lass in our group, Kasey, is a zumba star and had done a zumba routine to YDKYB and had it memorized. Choreography done, viola! Now that that part was figured out, we realized we needed to add some spice, something to get the crowd going, so of course realizing that we were the only ILP group with guys, we decided it was very necessary to have them dress like women, and us ladies dress like men? Let's face it, I already warned them that these shows are not all about skill, but about being dancing monkeys, so being complete fools wasn't out of the question. We rehearsed at the school - which honestly was the greatest work out I mean, it was a good hour of solid zumba, and called it good!
The next morning we arose bright and early and boarded a bus to a school 15 minutes away where we took a giant group photo with all the ILP teachers, and other english teachers that taught within the Bond program so about 150 of us - oh and did I mention the lovely Bond track jackets they gave to each of us and requested we wear to the event? Lovely, jack-o-lantern orange. Booyah! Anyway, after pictures we walked down the street to a park where 150 or so bikes were parked - that was the first part of the morning, photos and then a bike ride around the city before the banquet. The bike ride was super awesome, good for your health and a fun way to get oriented with the city, Zhongshan.

As if being white Americans doesn't make us stand out as it is..

Our ride lasted a good hour and we ended it ride in front of the fancy banquet hall we were performing/having lunch at. The room our event was in was very large, with about 55 tables fitting 10 each. At the front was the big stage where the show was to go down! Lunch started about the same time as the talent show but our group was the last of 24 (talk about saving the best for last!) so we got to enjoy our meal while watching all the other performers. Ps. Chinese food is great, but the fancier it is the nastier it gets and I hate to say it but this banquet was catered with pretty fancy food. Anyway. As the last few performances got near, our coordinator directed us back stage to get into our 'costumes' which were boy clothes for the ladies and skirts and dresses (only the classiest) for the men. Oh, ladies got mascara beards (side burns and thick eyebrows for me, dedicated to my main squeeze) and the guys got cherry red lipstick. It was a hit with the chinese! They loved it. We did our thing, and earned a prize of 500 RMB (roughly $80)!
All the thug-nasty men
Top left to right: Kasey, Chloe, Shontai, Courtney, Sharae, Me, Lexi, Vicky (our adorable asian polly pocket) and Jenna
Blurry - but you get the gist!

The food at the banquet was… fun to try? It was very fancy which made it - Chinese food that is already so different - even more unique and unappetizing!

After the banquet was through, we decided that since we were already out on that town that we would go and explore a part of town called 'walking street'
Preston, Jenna and I enjoying cold icecream on a cold day

These two goons made themselves peanut butter sandwiches while the rest of us ordered dinner

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was a full week ago. The goal is to post daily so hold us to it!
We hope everyone is having a great Sunday/Saturday night, wherever you are!

xoxo the smiths

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