First Full Day in Kunshan


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August 25th 2009
Published: August 25th 2009
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Last night I got in about 4pm (China's time- 3am Central/Chicago time) without much sleep from the plane. I was pumped and wide awake with excitement and adventure. There's just something about the feel of China that is comforting. Sure, it can smell bad and there's more pollution here than the US, but I can see clouds and stars here. Well, they're few and generally partially hidden by smog, but nonetheless, I can see them!

Christian picked me up from the airport and spotted me quickly from the photo I sent at my initial employment screening. I sure do have a lot of stuff (140 lbs worth, 60 some kilos) I'm trying so very hard to learn the language, but they're so nice and thrilled that I'm a flexible, go-with-the-flow kind of girl. It's just so mellow, and you HAVE to be that way, because things rarely go according to plan or get scheduled in advance. The government tells us when school begins and ends. Christian is from Syndney, Australia and has been here four years.

Last night we (Christian and I) went to a bar called Oasis, which is owned and run by a Chicago native that found he couldn't leave Kunshan and has been here about four years. His wife is Chinese and she is very hospitable. I got a real, actual, hamburger, without the fear of it being cat or God-knows-what. I met Paul, who seems kind of crazy, but in a good way. Paul and Christian are both 29. There are only 3 foreign female teachers, the rest are male. I think Christian said there were 12 staff, but I can't remember. I met the British lady and her partner, Pete. She seems very well travelled.

After the bar, Christian, Paul, and I went to a bar called Flower's Bar. I met Flower, her mother, and Shannon. Shannon and I came up with this elaborate, fun story that we're long lost sisters. She speaks English pretty well and reminds me of the Chinese girl who taught my Chinese class in Hangzhou last summer. Everyone smokes here. It's a good thing I'm not so allergic to smoke anymore or I think I might die.

I's super hot and humid here. That's good though. I went on a 5.5k walk this morning just down the main road that leads into inner Kunshan. I didn't get near downtown, but there was a lot of fun stuff to see anyways. There was an entire block of wedding stores with manequins in the windows displaying intricate and colourful dresses, some with an arch of flowers decorating the front door. Another entire block was devoted to interior design and decoration. There were STOVES for heavens sake! I thought they were band or something. I doubt I'll try to put a stove in my apartment, but it's fun to think about.

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