I can’t believe I’m in China! It still seems unreal. Luckily everything is going well thanks to everyone being so nice. Here is a rundown of what I have done in my first week:
Monday 12th September
Ethan, a Peace Corps volunteer, showed me and my flatmate Aimee around the city. We saw the local gym, underground supermarket, and our university.
Aimee and I then bought lunch by ourselves. We managed to order vegetarian noodles by just pointing at words in our Mandarin phrase books.
For dinner Aimee and I ate Taiwanese food with Ethan and another Peace Corps volunteer called Sam. I will talk about eating out lots as I have decided there is no point cooking at home when I’m here. There are so many restaurants serving tasty food at cheap prices all over town.
Tuesday 13th September
Two new English teachers arrived from Scotland called Callum and Stephen. We visited the university together to meet staff from the Foreign Languages Department.
For lunch we went to the staff canteen where they have an all you can eat buffet for 10 Yuan (1 Pound). Luckily tofu is popular here so being vegetarian hasn’t been hard.
The weather is warm here (think dress and flip flops) but unfortunately is rains sometimes. I got caught in a rain storm so read a book in our office called the “Foreign Teachers’ office”.
After the rain storm I managed to get the bus home alone for the first time. Then all the English teachers were invited to dinner with the Foreign Languages Department. It. Was. Amazing. Think delicious food buffet spinning on a table, good company and nice drinks. Also, the host told us the story behind Moon Cakes and Mid-Autumn Festival. I hope story telling happens at ever dinner.
Wednesday 14th September
Jet lag has hit me hard this trip. I woke up at 1.30pm (!) and immediately had to go to university to collect my teaching schedule.
Then we had to rush home to meet the internet repairman. Imagine trying to discuss setting up wifi with no common language. Eventually we ended up with internet through an Ethernet cable and an app that steals local wifi!
In the evening the four UK English teachers (Aimee, Callum, Stephen and I) went for a walk around the city and to get dinner. The city is very pretty at night with lots of lights. For dinner we struggled to order food until a young boy helped translate for us.
Thursday 15th September
Today was the start of a three day holiday called Mid-Autumn Festival. Very kindly a student named Miranda took the four UK English teachers on a tour of the city. First we visited a Buddhist temple where we drank tea with a monk and ate vegetarian food. The monk shared some wise words with us over a period of two hours. We felt very lucky.
Then we visited an underground shopping centre and a beautiful park that incorporated water, bridges and traditional buildings.
Throughout the day lots of teens asked us for photos much to Miranda’s surprise. She said she felt like a photographer. She explained to us many people have never seen Westerners in real life before.
Friday 16th September
We were invited to a BBQ by a member of staff called Stone. The BBQ was outdoors next to a river. It was lovely to met Stone’s family and friends and try Chinese BBQ.
Next Stone took us to a new Tea park where we saw lots of beautiful buildings. Then we went back to the university to eat Hot Pot at one of the restaurants. Luckily I could pick out vegetarian food like cabbage, potato and tofu.
On our way home we saw groups of women dancing on the street. Different groups did different dances including dancing with flags and dancing with pompoms. Apparently it’s free to join so watch this space!
Saturday 17th September
On Saturday Stone and Simon, another staff member, came to our flat to fix the wifi. We also asked them to help us translate the instructions on the washing machine and TV!
In the afternoon I played badminton with Jason, an Art Teacher, Ethan and Aimee. I’d only played Badminton a few times at secondary school but it was good fun.
For dinner Jason showed us another building on campus that houses many restaurants. I picked the ingredients for my own soup then the chef cooked it. After dinner Jason showed us his Art studio. It was nice to see his work, tools, and books of inspiration.
That’s all folks! If you have any questions feel free to ask.