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Published: September 7th 2010
Week 2? Week 3? I can't seem to keep track. The days blur together and apart. We do not have a calendar even though every day we say, we need to get a calendar! I like this laissez faire schedule, where I don't need to worry about what day it is, or what month for that matter. I just worry about time. I am still on two different time zones, trying to keep in touch with family and friends. I do get all your emails and messages, even if I don't reply. I am reading and am always so happy to see new messages. 😊
So to catch you up on somethings...teaching always brings new delights. Today, I got a really awesome feel-good feeling in the middle of a lesson. I genuinely laugh in class, whether at myself or the students. When they smile and they laugh and eagerly raise their hand, nearly falling over their desks, I know I am doing something right. They are captivated. Activated. Stimulated. And in return, I am satisfied. I find myself in a groove, with a flow, slowly developing my own style and techniques. I am enjoying this discovery of self through teaching
the girl with the short hair was REALLY good
very much. I'm intrigued and at times I even surprise myself. Today I also discovered what the army-like training is. Exercise. Lol. There is no running involved, mind you. The schools also have about a 5-10 minute eye exercise interval in the middle of the day...the students sit with their eyes closed and rub their foreheads and noses and cheeks. *shrug*
Aside for the day in and day out of teaching, we find other ways to take up our time. Naps are one way. Helen and I spent our entire first day off (Saturday) sleeping. We had gone out the night before, but regardless, it was still very much needed. I lounged around all day watching movies, sometimes moping about being so far away from home and my friends and my puppers and everything that is familiar and comforting. But it felt good nonetheless. I have tried to not nap as much, but my allergies sometimes get the best of me. Anyway, our social life exists one day a week, if that. Besides seeing each other at the private school, all of the foreign teachers hardly get together these days. Helen and I have hardly spent anytime at the
my chinese toes!
private school since we have mainly been assigned to public school, except on weekends. So when Helen and I went out the other night, we went out to that same club from before. There we met some people our age who could speak at least a little bit of English. We ended up grabbing a bite to eat after that and the headed to a KTV, or a karaoke place. In China, when you go to karaoke, they put you in a room with only your friends. Helen and I wanted to karaoke but their selection on English music was slim.
Yesterday after teaching, we decided to charge our batteries and do some serious self help. We have been meaning to get a membership at the gym across the street, but had a lot of questions. One of the other teachers, Adrian, has a membership there and wanted him to go with us to help us communicate our questions. However, as I said, we hardly see each other these days. So Helen and I made our way to the gym and were actually quite successful in getting our questions answered. Almost anywhere we go, someone can speak at least a little bit of English. Feeling accomplished, we decided to tackle the city and try to find a Pizza Hut. I know I have probably blogged more about Western food than Chinese food, but I swear this is only the second time we've had a western food craving. Besides KFC the other day...lol. It's all Helen's fault! Anyway, we knew it was near the train station so we hailed a cab and me and my snazzy chinese got us to the train station. We wandered for maybe 5 minutes before we spotted it and speedily walked towards it. It was a really fancy Pizza Hut, fancier than any pizza place in the US. We got two pizzas, wings and onion rings, just like true Americans.
Once our craving had been satisfied we decided to forgo looking for a dance studio (we have also been looking to take dance classes, mostly just to fill our time with more active things to do). Good thing too, because when we got home, Brandy said she found one. Instead we headed home, but not without peaking in to a few shops and getting some 20 cent ice cream. :D Our very last stop was a salon that had a very posh feel to it, with a little boutique inside. It wasn't long before both Helen and I found ourselves in a chair, getting our hair washed and cut (nervously fearing the worst). But for the first time in China, a beauty service business finally got it right. Or we got it right. Either way, we walked out of there feeling new and adventurously refreshed, for only 3 dollars. The previous day, we had ventured out to do something similar. Helen wanted to get her nails done and I had been wanting a pedicure for God knows how long. After a failed attempt at communicating what she wanted at the underground shopping mall, we went to a place closer to our apartment. Here I could get my pedicure too. The only problem is that the chinese idea of a pedicure (at least at this particular place) is much, much different than in America. The girl took off my shoes...sorta filed my toenails and then polished my toes. That was it. And Helen, after deciding not to get her nails done, chose a massage instead. I left her there to enjoy it and headed home. Maybe 40 minutes later she walks in, with huge bruises and rashes on her back. You'd think she was dragged around the streets of Benxi by her hair. They charged her a little over 10 dollars to leave her bruised. Come to find out, they don't generally do massages and I guess a girl later told her she shouldnt pay more than the equivalent of about 4 dollars for a massage. It's really hard to measure these things because in America, yeah, 10 dollars for a massage and 8 dollars for a pedicure are deal! Oh and did I mention, we paid 2 whole dollars for lunch yesterday. For both of us. And then proceeded to eat at Pizza Hut where we spent 20 dollars...live and learn right?
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