Published: June 28th 2012June 28th 2012
I am not a clever writer. I am not going to pretend to be. So with that see if you can guess the theme of this post.
Last I remember, I was telling you of my surprise of how comfortable I was in China compared to the first time... And that is still true. After I arrived in Zhengzhou (ZZ), I was picked up by Chinese Tim who works for Tengda (my school). Talk about VIP treatment, he waited with a namecard and once we were in the car he handed me an envelope with 2,000 rmb and a cell phone. Then he took me to my temporary apartment where I crashed immediately. Not a bad place, living room, a little kitchen with a washer, bathroom and bedroom (with a rock hard mattress)
So yeah comfort is the name of the game... kinda. My temporary apartment is in central ZZ. The nearby streets are full of sporadic stenches, human's spitting, chefs dumping leftovers onto the curbs, along with a chaotic flow of walkers, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, taxis, and one out of place 'lawei' (foreigner). But even in that chaos, I can find a calm, clean, cafe to
relax in and use the internet (my current place doesn't have useable internet and a big reason why I want to move sooner than later). And I have discovered east ZZ, a newer more wealthy region of the city where I will be moving that is markedly cleaner, has an actual rythmic flow on the streets, and best of all has really comfortable apartmets (but still few soft western beds). Those features combined with the closer proximity to my school explain why som many colleagues live around there.
Speaking of comfortable... I am lucky to have friends already here showing me the ropes on what food to order, how to learn Chinese, how to get around, and to keep me good company... Compared to another new friend, Paul, my start has been quite good. Paul has been living in the same building as my temporary housing five months not aware of the strong expat community; he has been quite lonely to say the least.
Actually one of the ropes I have been introduced to is my chinese tutor... I am writing this email at the cafe just about to start my second lesson, so its about time I wrap this up. But before I go I will share a little context to the pictures below.
On my second morning I played basketball with that group of Chinese guys, only one of whom spoke English. And he, Lui, spoke very little of that. I met him taking a walk my first morning as I randomly introduced myself and attempted speaking Chinese on a nearby riverfront walk.
The skating picture is a group of Chinese I went skating with (I am in the green shirt). My friend Paul invited me to go with his colleagues, all Chinese on my third day. Hilarious because nobody else could skate at the start so people were impressed by my beginner skating skills. Soon, everyone was holding my arm as I attempted to teach them to skate... Lots of penguin steps as we all tried to walk across the ice on skates.