Sunday 20th November
Myself and the other foreign teachers were invited to dinner by an American couple who have lived in Duyun for over 20 years. They have raised two children, taught English, and started a cattle farm during that time. They also recently adopted two kittens which are so cute that I started to wonder what the pet policy is in my apartment! During the dinner we ate delicious food, chatted, and watched a really good film called “The Three Idiots”. I highly recommend it.
Monday 21st November
Sunday evening I missed 5 calls and 2 text messages – I’ve never felt so needed in my life. What was the emergency? Lunch. Who was the person urgently trying to reach me? Max – the Class Monitor from Reading Class 1. Class 1 wanted to invite me to have lunch with them. I thought that sounded nice but slightly impossible as there are 50 students in the class. How would we all get served at the same time in the canteen? I agreed anyway.
I met two students at our agreed meeting point. I asked one of them where we were eating and he said the canteen. Then for some reason, despite the canteen being less than 10 minutes away, we got in a car. Then for some other reason we started to drive off campus! Well, despite having to teach a Tourism class in less than two hours time, I rolled with it because YOLO (You Only Live once).
Next thing you know we pull up outside a huge restaurant and all the students, and several teachers, are inside. It was a lovely surprise – especially for a Monday. The restaurant was beautiful and had enough room for us to spread across 5 tables. Unfortunately I had to leave early to teach at 2pm but I thoroughly enjoyed the lunch – wonderful food and great company.
Tuesday 22nd November
My office hours were great for two reasons. First, a student named Amy gave me a beautiful bag. The bag is a good example of how pretty things are in China and how kind students are. I will use it as my lunch bag. Second, the conversation topics were super interesting. Students spoke to me about racial discrimination in America, career aspirations, and goal setting. Their language skills are incredible.
I had lunch with a student named Brianna. Brianna is excellent for introducing me to new dishes. Today we tried a delicious eggplant dish. Later I had dinner with Hope I can’t remember what we ate but it is always nice to chat with student/s during meal times.
Wednesday 23rd November
The University’s Foreign Affairs office booked mine and Aimee’s tickets to Beijing. We are going to Beijing for one week to complete our TEFL training. Despite the recent snow fall in Beijing I am super excited to visit as I have never been before.
Today I had lunch with Brianna and Laughter and they introduced me to a bean dish and a spicy potato dish. My taste buds were very grateful. I’m very lucky to know both ladies and can’t wait for our next lunch together!
Thursday 24th November
My dance shoes arrived and they look stunning! Very kindly a student named Echo helped me purchase them over the internet as I don’t have the appropriate identification to shop online (which maybe is a good thing with all the pretty things on there!)
The temperature plummeted to zero. Thankfully our office has two heaters and we are getting some for our apartment soon.
I started to write my first exam paper. Watch this space – soon I will be a Dean!
Friday 25th November
Aimee, Stephen, Amanda and I braved the cold and visited Cliff and Rebekah’s for dinner. We ate delicious home cooked food including honey-fried carrots, bread rolls and a really tasty salad that contained apples, nuts, bacon and raisins.
Saturday 26th November
People are so kind it baffles me. Today I went to the supermarket and upon seeing a tray of chocolate samples, unstaffed no less, I stood there and proceeded to eat as many as possible before the staff member returned. Then a few feet away I spotted the staff member who looks after the cracker samples. Last week she encouraged me to take a few extra crackers. This week she went above and beyond – especially considering we haven’t said more than “hello” to each other. As I picked up my usual box of 12 mini chocolate cakes, near where she stands, she indicated to a cupboard under a stack of crackers. She opened the cupboard, reached to the back and pulled out a box of 12 mini strawberry cakes. Using hand gestures she explained to me they would be free with the purchase of my chocolate cakes! It was so sweet of her. It made my trip to the supermarket, which I usually dread, really nice.