May 31

Day 8: Fangzhou Primary School

We first caught up today at Fangzhou Primary School – Lachie, Abi, Charlie and Ciana all got dropped off at school with their host sibling. Everyone had gotten through the Homestay well and they were full of interesting stories.

Our first activity was learning the different types of Chinese snacks. After a short lesson, we went to the Principals Boardroom and discovered that we were making dumplings! We had a mixture of dough types (normal, purple or green) and two types of fillings : pork or prawn. After a quick lesson, we set off on the task of making lots of dumplings. It was great fun.

After cooking, Matt gave the Principal and School gifts from Big Hill PS. They liked the Bendigo Pottery jug and Aboriginal art ceramic coasters. Sport came soon after and we assembled with the 3000 students once more to participate together on their oval/sports area.

The next session was playing soccer – so Abi, Ciana, Lachie and Charli all got placed into teams and were given a school jersey to wear (either white or red). A couple of games were played and our students did well! Lachie even got a goal – Big Hill, Big Hill, Big Hill! At the end of the game the students gave the jerseys to each of the students – a lovely gesture 🙂

Lunch time was early to enable us to depart for our tour in the afternoon. We had a tomato broth, bbq pork, Chinese vegetables and fried rice with lots of prawns. Magically our dumplings appears – the chefs had steamed half and fried the other. They were delicious. We had to leave Fangzhou soon after and return to the hotel.

We farewelled Charli for the afternoon and night as she headed off to Alice’s (Xingcheng Gardens PS…2016 visit to Big Hill) house. The remaining three students and Matt boarded the bus and headed to the Suzhou Silk Museum. Whilst there we learnt about the lifecycle of the silkworm, looked at and held live silkworms, handled the cocoons and saw the process of making the thread through to the final product. It was very interesting. Did you know one silkworm cocoon is made up of a single threat that can be unravelled and is 1km long! Also – the cocoon has to be taken before the moth hatches or else the thread is broken and no good – ie. the moth chews through the thread to hatch. What happens to the moth? Next question… 😉 Before leaving the market you could buy any number of things from the shop – but 100% Silk is quite expensive.

Next stop was Tiger Hill. It’s a beautiful leaning pagoda (tower) perched above a mystery tomb containing hidden swords. The tower is 1000 years old and the tomb 1500 years old. The gardens, buildings and bridges around the tower were beautiful.

Before going back to the hotel, we stopped at Old Shantang Street to do some shopping. Lachie enjoyed looking around with the Camp Hill and White Hills boys, whilst Abi and Ciana kept Chinese teacher Yimin company. Matt found coffee but it was not much good!

We had a long drive back to the hotel through peak hour traffic and on arrival, we decided to just got to Burger King – we needed a break from the Chinese foods. Tonight was a chance to watch movies, relax, pack, shower, wash clothes and talk to love ones at home. Of course Charli was enjoying her time with Alice at this time.