Annie Philipps

October 29, 2013

Where are you – and what are you doing – on your PiA fellowship?

Yong Feng, China (A village about an hour outside of Xi’an).

I am teaching 4th and 1st grade English along with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th grade Music.

What activities do you do in your spare time?

When I’m not cooking in (or rather, experimenting with) our apartment’s toaster oven, I enjoy crushing my 6th graders at Ping-Pong, rehearsing with the students in Yong Feng’s new choir, and taking voice lessons (in Chinese… which continues to be quite the ordeal).

What is the most significant thing you’ve learned during your time on PiA?

Don’t squat too far towards the back. Also, I've realized the aspirations you have for the service you are providing, especially in a foreign country, may not be appropriate or relevant given the context on the ground. It takes flexibility, understanding, and a lot of creativity to be able to execute your value-added work in a way that will be best for your placement community.

What has been your most embarrassing moment in Asia? (So far … there will be more! ☺)

There’re so many… how can I decide? Chief among them is confusing 皮肤 pifu (skin) for 屁股 pigu (ass) and then repeating it many times in front of my students. I also attempted to politely accept a toast from the head of the Education Bureau of Xi’an while crying, as a result of the scalding dumpling that I stuffed into my mouth just moments before. And, most recently, I tripped on a rock while running in a nearby park. Now, this may sound like your everyday hilarious wipe-out, but since it was in front of a mob of 60+ year-old Taichi-ers, I was quickly swarmed by elders who were all eager to help the white-girl back to her feet.

What do you miss the most from home?

Family, friends, and the expectation that relevant scheduling changes will be communicated more than an hour in advance.

What do you miss the least from home?

Not being able to walk everywhere I go and less than friendly people.

What do you hope to do after your PiA fellowship?

I'm open to where the winds may take me.  

Please write an original haiku on the PiA-related topic of your choice.

New music teacher.

Clingity, Clangity, Oh…

Plays no piano.

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