So I've always been a person that is big on personal development and work-life balance...and after 2 weeks in Panzhihua I have come up with my official list of goals for my free time while I am here. I hope to spend the majority of my time that is not spent in class doing these activities (or combining the activities with hanging out with students and helping them practice their English). I'm finally giving up on my dreams of playing guitar (yeah, if it hasn't happened by now it's probably not going to) and focusing on a few things that I already have some interest in.
1. Chinese - Self-explanatory. It's one of my main personal reasons for being here and a lifelong (well, since college...what was I doing slacking off in Chinese School all those years...) goal of mine.
2. Badminton - A very popular sport that I used to love dearly in high school. So much so that I used to skip other classes to attend gym classes so I could play more. I don't want to play the backyard laid-back version...I want to play the as-seen-on-TV, birdies whizzing by, hardcore, diving all over the place, competitive version. I played 2 hours today and I can tell my arm is going to be very sore tomorrow.
3. Ping-Pong - Another national hobby. There's no lack of people to practice with and with the skill that they have, there's no choice but to improve.
4. Chinese Chess - Trying to re-learn a game that I used to play as a child. It'll probably be good exercise for the brain.
5. Mahjong - Who doesn't want to be one of those expert mahjong players? I want to be able to say I play, not just I know how to play. Maybe I'll even get a chance to play with my dad then.
As you can see, most of these hobbies are very Chinese...I am following the advice of one of Claire's students -- "when in China, do as the Chinese do." I find myself feeling very American some days, but I figure I can also discover my inner Chinese soul also during my time here.