Long time no see! I'm sure that's what all of you reading this are thinking. : ) Well, no good excuses as usual, but the excitement level just can’t compare to happened during my last post so it's been hard to work up the energy to write about it.
My last post left off at Shelly's where I spent my Spring Festival and celebrated the Chinese New Year with her family. I overall had a great time, but was very excited to be traveling back on the 14th of February. Going back to Nanchang actually involved quite a bit of work both from Shelly and her father to get me to the bus station. To get to her house, if you remember, it took a 3 hour bus ride to Anfu city, then her family picked me up in a car, which in itself involved asking for favors from different family members, and then driving 30 minutes to her house. To get back, since it wasn't convenient to ask for the car again, Shelly's dad rode a motorcycle (theirs I think) and took my main luggage while Shelly and I walked to the nearest village (where Shelly's old school was).
From there we waited a while for an extremely crowded bus where we (THANK GOD) got two of the last seats and rode about an hour or so to Anfu city. At that point Shelly haggled with the 3-wheeler taxis to get us to the bus station where we then had to wait in line and get the very LAST ticket to Nanchang that left at 4 (it was around noon). Since we had a while to wait we went over to Shelly's aunt's house to rest and have lunch. Time passed pretty quickly and it was soon time to say goodbyes and our promises to stay in contact since she wouldn't be coming back to Nanchang, but would be going to Shenzhen for an internship in March.
The bus ride itself wasn't anything good or bad, and eventually I found myself once again in Nanchang. The problem was I wasn't dropped off at the bus station. In fact I had no clue where in Nanchang I was! At that point I tried calling Rainbow and Shelly, but neither of them was answering so I pulled out my handy dandy school address, found a taxi driver and then handed
over my last 100 RMB to get to my school. I can guarantee I overpaid, but at that point I was tired, unsure, and just wanting to spend the night in my bed, so to me it was 100 RMB ($16) well spent.
After all that my vacation was still not over! I had been to Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Anfu, and my next stop was to visit Camilla and Praveen in Chongqing. I actually left on the 16th and managed to get to the airport all by myself! And about 7 hours early. >_< Oh well, at this point now at least I have better understanding of how long it takes to get there from my school.
The Cherian's picked me up that night and we all went out to eat at a Tai restaurant. It, like all places I go out to with them, had delicious food. I stayed with them for almost two weeks and during that time I helped with their unpacking and tidying up the house. They had done about 90% of the work at that point and were pretty tired of all it. I was glad I could help where I could
since Praveen had by then started work and Camilla was helping the boys get adjusted in school and taking her own classes with her TEFL certificate. I'm definitely most proud of helping take down the wall paper. It was the biggest job and involved a lot of patience and elbow-grease, but I got a good portion of it done and Camilla showed me a few weeks later that Praveen had been able to paint over the bare walls and make it look much better than before.
Time of course flew by and on the first of March Camilla and I were saying tearful goodbyes and promising to keep up with Skype. I started teaching again on the fourth with a great new class schedule. I've really enjoyed everything about this new semester so far, from the same students, to the new book, to the new hours I work, it's been very encouraging working at my school.
I've also had fun getting together with my friends, old and new! I got in touch with all my Filipino co-teachers one by one to say hi. Len actually was feeling sick and had to go get a procedure done which thankfully
is covered by our insurance. We all stopped by the school clinic to encourage her the first day she was there. I had coffee with Fannie one day and I haven't done anything one on one with Anna, but I did take her and Fannie to go get bus passes last Saturday.
I had a great time on the 16th with Esmeralda at her house where she made a Portuguese dinner. We had a vegetable soup, some chicken and rice, and a traditional dessert made from a thin wafer and an egg cream inside. She also invited a couple of her colleagues from her school and we all had a great time just talking about classes, life and what we did with our breaks.
A couple new friends I've made are Lovenia and Stephen. Lovenia and I met at the airport on my way to Guangzhou. We had realized we met before at one of the Nanchang Cares 4 Kids events and promised to get in contact once the break was over. It took a week, but I finally sent a text and arranged to meet her at a well-known pavilion that sits on the bank of the
main river in Nanchang. I also got to meet a co-teacher of hers and we all had fun talking, walking and exploring the streets. I even got to teach the two of them as neither of them was familiar with the busses. We eventually ran into walking street and from there I took them to Bayi Square and helped them find the bus that would take them back to their campus. I look forward to meeting up with both of them in the future and hopefully get to see even more of the city.
Stephen is a friend from Guangzhou. He recently moved here and is in the process of finding a job. He’s got a nice apartment (which Hai Tao and I both helped clean quite a bit of) and has already started making friends by volunteering at the deaf school with NC4K. He’s definitely had his ups and downs since moving here. He’s had his laundry blow away (he’s on the 13th
floor), his bathroom floor flood (thankfully the landlord had a tool that helped clear it up), and has had his washing machine throw up water all over his living room (he and I commiserated on
New home sweet home for the Cherians.
that one). He’s also thankfully had his ups and is very optimistic about what his time in Nanchang will bring. I definitely pray for his perseverance as he searches for a job when most of the schools have already gotten all their teachers settled and arranged.
That’s pretty much it for now. I’m working up the courage to ask a student for help in getting a haircut and will be facing a 3 day holiday next week so hopefully some new pictures will finding their way onto FB soon. Hope all of you back home are doing well! Talk to you later and take care. : )
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