Two Fridays ago, Huludun celebrated its 20th anniversary with a series of performances and a “garden party.” Students danced, played musical instruments, and sang at the morning assembly. There were a diverse array of musical instruments and songs: there was a marimba (an African instrument), large drums (the kind you see at Chinese New Year), an EDM (electronic dance music) dance, a cheerleader-esque dance routine, and a recorder player group performance. See pictures below!
The most memorable part of the day was definitely the “garden party” that followed, which was like a night market, school bake sale, and yard sale rolled into one. Students sold food, candies, homemade desserts, drinks, and a hodgepodge assortment of secondhand items (e.g. key-chains, pencils, Pokémon cards, toy cars, pencil cases, paintings, tea-ware, and so on.) I enjoyed seeing students assume the roles of shop-owners/food stall operators. Some students’ shrewd business acumen and bargaining skills were put on display that morning.
I knew of the event the day prior, so I intentionally did not eat breakfast that morning in order to save room for all the delicious food the students prepared and sold! It was a feast for the eyes to behold: pancakes, waffles, sandwiches, milk tea, tea, fizzy soda, jipai (fried chicken), fries, tea eggs, cotton candy, chocolate pudding, chips, cookies, and more! Of course, many of those things are difficult to stomach in the early morning, so the “garden party” was scheduled to last practically to lunch. For myself, I settled with pancakes and a few homemade desserts to enjoy later. The sugary drinks were a bit too sweet for my taste!
I was impressed by the students’ collective efforts to promote their products with colorful handwritten and hand-drawn signs lining their “booths” (i.e. repurposed student desks lined along the hallways).
The “garden party” gave me night market vibes when I came across carnival-style games such goldfish scooping (albeit with fake fish), pinball, baseball, Pokémon cards, etc. There were even proper night market stalls in which adults (perhaps parent volunteers?) sold fries, jipai, cotton candy, and inflatable toy prizes.
Another memorable component was purchasing secondhand items from students. It seemed like the students themselves donated their own items to be sold as a class – and, I’m assuming, the profits would be applied to the class budget – given the assortment of items I saw (I also asked the students where the items came from, and some proudly claimed them as their own). The students were so eager to sell their items that they’d wander from their booths and trail you as you were trying to browse other things. I had little resistance in the face of my students’ sales pitches and took delight in how excited they became when they made a successful sell. I used the opportunity to encourage my students to speak in English to me (besides, I knew some had just finished lessons on sales terminology), much to some students’ consternation, and for others, enthusiasm. It was also entertaining to see the students excitedly checking out their peers’ wares, playing games, and getting “sugar-highs” off of the night market-style food.
By the end of the event, I had gathered all of my items into a number of small bags in order to feasibly carry everything back to the English classroom! I walked away with some key-chains (including a Ponyo one), new tea-ware (I can’t resist), homemade cookies, marshmallows, a map of Marco Polo’s explorations (I ended up buying this simply because the student was so adamant on making his sale), a student’s painting of a dinosaur (which was very impressive for a 2nd grader), pencils, a small bag, and probably a few more things I’m not recalling. I thought it was a fun event for the students, staff, and teachers. Everyone seemed to have a great time!
Here's a picture of the dinosaur painting one of my 2nd graders made that's now proudly displayed on my desk!