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My Experience of the Land of the Rising Sun|
My first step on Chinese soil, the first thing that hit me was that the early June hot weather. I bent down to the ground and touched my hand to the ground for my belief that this would be my interesting adventure and a stepping stone for my development in teaching soccer and also learn more about myself and the country that opens to the outside world. Before I came to China, I had traveled to four countries teaching players from all ages and abilities. But China is quite a different country with its own special culture and its long history. Nevertheless, young people here just react similarly to their peers, the same as the other parts of the world. My approach is to be open-minded entering into a different world and being able to build up a rapport with the children and staff. I have been involved in grassroots football for almost fifteen years and before that I had a good footballing career and learned from many good coaches from professional clubs. I started coaching experience in my hometown of Leicester, England. I travelled to many cities in England arranging trial games against professional clubs. We selected good players from communities and played against youth teams from professional clubs to discover and introduce talented young players to professional clubs. I have coached players in the communities, schools, clubs, special needs and girls/women football in America, Canada, Holland and Belgium, which are all developed countries. Now for me this is the right time in my life to go to a developing country like China-----they are developing and there is much room for improvement. We all know that football here is going through a transitional period. I am positive that where there is a problem, there is a solution. I am thankful that Mr. Wang Zheng from Avando invited me to work here and gave me this opportunity.
The first school I worked in was Nanjing No. 4 Middle School. I will never forget the day when I got there. Just before the car took me to the school, I noticed through the window a wall with “Victims 300,000” on it. I wondered whether the city had suffered any natural disaster, and was even beginning to consider my safety here. But the driver told me it was Nanjing $$ Memorial Hall. The Japanese had invaded the city and killed 300,000 people during World War II. I got stunned. Never before I heard of it when I was in England. I told the driver to stop the car and walked in. I couldn’t believe my ears when I was told that around three hundred thousand people, mostly civilians and POWs, were brutally slaughtered. There was hatred in my eyes when I saw pictures of women being raped and killed. This was the first time in my life that I began to believe human beings can sometimes degenerate into barbaric. I shuffled my feet out of the hall. Here the busy streets, the kind, gentle smiles on people’s faces tell me that the great nation swallow their bitter and humiliating past, neglect their wounds and hurt and march courageously forward, trying to overtake any country that is running ahead of him.
When I was in England, I knew that English is taught throughout China. I was confident that I would have no difficulty in communicating with people. But my first class in football discouraged me. I couldn’t make myself understood and guessing was my main weapon when the players tried to express themselves in their own-way English. To make my coaching easy, I decided to help them improve their English . In the following weeks we were getting on quite well. Honesty and friendship makes the cultural differences nowhere to be seen. The players’ love for football, their insistence and their quickness to learn make it an enigma for me to look into why China cannot stand out in the football world.
Daytime was always elapsing quickly for me. My accommodation was not in the schoolyard. Every day after the training, I’d got to take twenty minutes’ walk to get there. Mosquitoes and flies (my Chinese colleagues jokingly called them “small planes” at the dinner table) showed their great interest in my British blood. I tried mosquito incenses (which were given by my lady neighbour.) to keep them away. But the incenses seemed too “patriotic”. They intended to get me first before what they might do for their duty. But compared to loneliness, that was nothing. I don’t know how many times I got up from my bed and looked through the window into the sky. Beyond the horizon over five thousand miles was my hometown--- England, where my mother might be now sitting in her room looking at my photo. I winked quickly to stop tears coming out. For the job I love and my career, I want stay here longer.
My contract with Nanjing No. 4 Middle School expired after five months. On April 6, 2005, I came to Pizhou, a small town in North Jiangsu Province. This is an underdeveloped town, where cars, trucks, tractors, tricycles, and pedestrians make their ways wherever it is convenient for them. Now I am working in Yunhe Middle School of Jiangsu Province. It is a very big school with three campuses. On the first day I arrived here, the headmaster told me proudly that his school has more than 10, 0000 students and 700 staff. But what is lucky for me that they have a grassland football pitch. Mr Yang, a middle-aged man, who looks after the grassland, loves it so much that he is never happy about my using it. Once I told him jokingly that if you love your wife, touch her, feel her and never let her alone. If you love your grassland, let the players do their training on it. In an underdeveloped area, you have to be wiser. No football equipment to mark areas, I use clothes. No bibs to distinguish the players, I use tags. Every morning and afternoon, I do football training. In between, I walk to each of the campuses to give English-speaking lessons to students of different ages.
I am much happier here in Pizhou. I live in the school campus, because of which, I have more chances to communicate with the students and teachers. Mr Fu is the personnel assistant with me since I came to Pizhou. He is in charge of PE and sanitation of the school. But he is a good English teacher. He speaks much better English than some foreigners that have come to China to teach English. He might have gone to big cities to teach in universities. But he is loyal to the school. We spend much of time talking about everything that happens to be our concern. He felt sad as I felt when I got the news of London explosion. His personality reflects the diligence, perseverance, generosity, endurance and kindness of the Chinese people.
Time flies! More than one year has passed since I came to China. I have learned and got use to many Chinese customs: you never exactly know your payday; people mean to show interest in you when they come to your room looking here and there; at the wedding, people may flirt with the bride; at the dinner table drinking as much as you can will make you a hero(but heroes often stagger out of restaurants)…
Five thousand years’ history has given too much to the great country. I fully realize that if you want to know more about it, you have to be part of it. I love this land. I am proud that I am doing my bit for this great nation.
[ Last edited by 55555terry at 2006-2-4 10:24 AM ]