Settling In Again

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December 11th 2005
Published: December 11th 2005EDIT THIS ENTRY

So it's taken me a little while to write now because I've had to start from scratch on the settling in. Now I have a lot more friends here in Dalian and not only do I have the classes at Rockies but I have added three more classes outside of Rockies. These are classes that I wouldn't be able to teach at Rockies for two reasons. The first reason is that the school teaches children under the age of 18 and the second reason is that the school is based primarily on the fact that the students can understand Chinese. Therefore when the students are learning new words we just give them the words in English and the translator gives the words in Chinese. However one of my new classes is a Korean boy who doesn't understand that much Chinese - so translating things into Chinese to teach him is practically useless. There is a fairly large population of Koreans here who have come from South Korea and live in fairly rich parts of Dalian. They pay English teachers a good sum of money to teach them and their children at their houses - which are some of the nicest houses I've seen in China. The Korean boy that I'm teaching is named Peter and is six years old. Like I told a friend from home the boy either has ADHD or is just a normal six year old - not really wanting to sit down and stay put while being taught. I teach him for an hour twice a week on Fridays and Saturdays.

My other two new students are adults. One is named Yang Dan (I have yet to give her an English name) she is 20 years old and works at a waitress at a nearby coffee shop. Her salary is very little per month so she is not able to pay me very much but I love teaching her - she's probably one of my most favorite students (even though I've only taught her once). I was talking to Camillo and Craig about her. The best part about teaching her is that it really doesn't matter to me how much money she pays me, she is so focused and intent on learning English that she makes teaching her a great deal of fun. Unlike some of the students I don't feel like I'm trying to drag her through a lesson but I feel like she's testing me - using everything she can get out of me to teach her. In that way it's a little tiring but still a great deal of fun. I teach her twice a week for two hours on Tuesday and Thursday. The last new student I have yet to start teaching but will start teaching tonight. Her name is Bai Yan and she's friends with a colleague of Sunny's. I have yet to meet her but she says she wants me to teach her Business English (which should be interesting because I've never taught that as of yet). I am looking forward to meeting her so I can see what all she is looking for from me.

This coming Monday I have a meeting with the parents of my once a week classes and on Tuesday at some point a man is going to film the Salon boys doing something with my hair. He's from the Dalian TV station so it should be an interesting little TV run. My second (?) time ever being on TV - my parents would have to confirm that one. Also I finally bought a new cell phone off of LiuXiu yesterday so people are finally able to contact me whenever they need to and I able to contact them as well. To some extent cell phones are a pain in the neck but when you really don't enjoy being at home alone like I do it's convenient as there's practically no other way for people to reach you (or you them). Today I'm getting my K8 class ready for Christmas Day. Unfortunately not only do I not get to go home to visit my family for Christmas but it will be my first year ever working on both Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. I have my usual 9 hours of Saturday classes and 7 hours of Sunday classes on Christmas Eve and Day respectively. Fortunately on the afternoon of Christmas Day Rockies the Wal-Mart shopping mall wants us to perform some Christmas Carols - which means for the next two weeks I'll be getting my K8 class ready to sing Christmas Carols in English at Wal-Mart.

This past week I had my usual spin of classes. Monday was Eason's birthday so we all went over to his place and I got absolutely trashed on Bai Jiu (according to the web "bai jiu" is a "grain whisky of 36-58% alcohol" the translation of it is "wine" but it's not what any westerner thinks of as "wine" as it is not made from grapes nor is it at all weak in terms of alcohol content - therefore I prefer to simply call it "bai jiu"). That wasn't my first time having bai jiu but it was definitely my first time in my life (and very hopefully my last) getting that trashed. You don't really get "tipsy" on bai jiu which is half the problem, you go straight from being fine to being violently ill with no middle in between the two. So to say the least that was quite an adventure. At one point Camillo got angry with me and started yelling at me which only made me start crying more. Alex finally just put me to bed in Camillo's bed. It was the second night in a row where I slept in Camillo's bed as Camillo had simply asked me to the night before. (He slept next door in Alex and Eason's room.)

Tuesday night Craig and I went over to visit Sunny and LiuXiu and had some great food at a restaurant nearby Xinghai Square. Thursday was my first class with Yang Dan - which I really enjoyed. Friday night Sunny, Craig, Cat and I went over to a coffee shop that is run by an American who has been in Dalian for quite a while. Going into the shop was seriously like stepping into a Caribou (is that the name of the coffee shop up on Franklin next to Kinko's and down on the corner of Estes and Franklin in Chapel Hill? I forget). It was quite freaky - I kept having to pinch myself to remind myself where I was. The food was extremely American as well. I suppose that's all that has really been going on. Just trying to settle into a new schedule. From now on my blogs will hopefully be more regular as my schedule will probably not change any more. All of my nights from now till when I leave Dalian are practically booked up as I either have work that I should be doing for classes, or I am going out with the Salon boys or I am with one of my other friends. It's a bit strange to be going out so much but at the same time it's kind of nice.


11th December 2005

Watch out for grain alcohol
No matter what country you're in, they will have something like the "grain alcohol" you described. It is always very high in alcoholic content and more importantly it is often (even in the US) very low quality. It's the low quality nature of the "stuff" that makes it dangerous. You want to stay away from it; or, from any "home-made" alcohol, unless it is beer or wine.

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