Published: August 31st 2012August 31st 2012
So far my time in China seems to have been a literal rollercoaster condensed into a couple of short days! I have already found myself in many situations we were warned about regarding what to expect as a foreigner in China. I have already been approached a couple of times asking to teach at rival school and also by a cleaning lady in the supermarket who handed me her contact card asking me to teach her daughter English. I have seen (and unfortunately heard) lots of Chinese people hocking their throats but have regrettably yet to see a child relieving themselves in public.
We visited Guiyan Temple the other day which was lovely. The architecture here is really amazing and much different to anything we have in England. Saying that, it’s not only in the temple where I have seen architecture which surpasses England in both size and scope. Buildings are so much bigger here! The temple’s main attraction for me were the turtles which according to Lonely Planet’s travel guide ‘cling to the rocks like shipwrecked survivors’… A simile which is likely to engage any English graduate’s interest ha ha! There were two pools, one which seemed to be filled with turtles and goldfish and another filled with algae but this time only a couple of turtles which I can only assume were either the exiled outsiders or consciously avoiding the hussle bussle of the adjacent pool to chill and take in some algae fumes dude… However, it was less of a tourist attraction than one might expect as local people were visiting in order to worship their ancestors. The room full of a hundred golden buddhas was really interesting and I assumed that each symbolised something in particular as people seemed to be praying to to individual statues. I asked Crystal the next day and she did in fact say that each stood for various things such as hope, wealth, fertility. etc. Oh and not forgetting, two groups of people asked to have our pictures taken! Predicting that my return to England is likely to be a crash back to reality where I realise that I am not in fact famous! Seems to be some kind of widespread fascination with my green eyes...
A way of getting around here is often the very cheap taxis! Seeing as my Chinese is what we might call MINIMAL, I have taken to relying on showing the taxi driver my address in Chinese character and hoping this will avail in successfully taking me to my desired destination. My Chinese so far spans as far as ‘hello’, ‘thank you’, ‘good bye’ and also ‘I want a bag’ – the essentials of course! Aleks’ mandarin is quite good in comparison and in our taxi ride home from the temple he was having a confused conversation with the driver who apparently began by asking the ordinary age to marry in the UK which then naturally led on to whether or not I was married and if I was looking for a husband in China.
Oh this is exciting, I have a Chinese name! I’m unable to write it in this post due to not having a Chinese keyboard but as soon as I can, I’ll get it online! It’s separated into two syllables and effectively sounds similar to my English name but the literal meaning of the two syllables are cotton wadding (?) and elegant which of course suits me perfectly ha ha!
Since being here I have taken up smoking (of the passive variety) as everyone here seems to smoke! Well men anyway… Lauren said that when trying to buy cigarettes on two occasions she was refused on the basis that ‘men smoke, women don’t!’ Went to a western bar called Helen’s on Wednesday where it was ladies’ night which meant that girls only had to pay 30 yuen for drinks all evening until 12pm! It really is very cheap here as 30 yuen roughly translates to £3 which is ironic considering it’s a western bar yet no bar in the UK would be able to get away with such reduced prices with the amount of alcohol Western girls are able to put away these days! It was a fun night anyway and it seemed to be a place where many foreign teachers seem to congregate!
Start teaching tomorrow despite it being a Saturday! Apparently at Meijie there is tradition whereby their term starts on the 1st
of September regardless of the day so roll on a 7 day week! Talk about easing you in gently… Nevertheless, can’t wait to get started and see what teaching in China has to offer! Hope my kids go easy on me!
For now, I might be going to a BBQ tonight where you choose what you want, place it in your basket and they cook it for you! Also want to try out the dancing which seems to occur outside my accommodation every evening at 7.30pm so might rock up to that and see what happens, should be fun!