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Published: February 22nd 2011
So I've been in China for just over a week now! Yes I know, one week away from British soil! How on earth am I coping! Well, if truth be told I think I've had more ups and downs in the past few days thana yoyo, but i'll come to that later!
Last week was a bit of a blur as I was gently immersed into a way of life completely different from my own. Then last friday I was bused of to Huzhou to begin my life as a foreign teacher. Friday was great, if not a little overwhelming; the trip from Hangzhou to Huzhou is truly spectacular, it is all mountains and cliffs. Seriously beautiful countryside! It is not green in the way England or Ireland is green, it has a more humble and less obvious charm. I couldn't read my book for love nor money on the bus as I was far too enchanted by the views from the window rather than the words on the page. Those of you that know, will know this is not like me at all!
So I arrived in Huzhou all bright eyes, and excited for the big step forward in my life in China. I was met by two women and the schools driver, they were very kind and took me to a restaurant for lunch before we came to see the school and my flat.
At the restaurant we had hot pot, which was immense. For hot pot you get a a burner and a pot with a simple stock inside and then the waiter brings dishes and dishes of food you put in your pot and cook for yourself. The only bad thing about hot pot is, can you guess? Live prawns! Yup, there they were, all skewered and legs wriggling...my biggest fear! Could I cook this poor little skewered critter, and then could i eat it? These weren't diddy little things you buy down in iceland i'm talking at least four inches long! I didn't have much of a choice, however as one of my fellow diners grabbed the skewer and plonked it into my pot. To refuse food in china is very rude so I couldn't then refuse to eat it! Then my biggest problem was how to deshell the bugger when I'm not meant to use my hands!
I definitely felt like an idiot abroad then!
Luckily the rest of my day improved and I have almost mastered the art of getting fishbones out of fish using only chopsticks, that I'm sure when faced with shellfish next I can just shrug and and give it damned good go! The rest of my culinary experience here in Huzhou is fairly limited to the schools cafeteria food and a little street stall about a five minute walk from my flat. Quite sad I know, but by the time I get home from work it's about 5 and I've been up since 6 and at school since 7/7.30 the last thing I want to do is venture out and battle against the language barrier just to eat. The street seller now knows me I think and I tend to buy something similar everyday. Yesterday I had a flat crispy bread stuffed with spring onions and meat, and sprinkled with sesame seeds. I hope they are cooking them again tonight!
My chopstick skills have definitely improved and a lot of the people at lunch always comment that I use them quite well and they are shocked! Its good to hear that when you know really you take twice as long as most to eat! All i need to do now is improve my chinese so I can order out instead of holing up in my flat and eating street stall food (even though its delicious).
I have lots more to say, but to be honest I should get on with lesson planning! So I'm off for now!
O & the food section of this blog is dedicated to Miss Rachel Byrne.
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