Yes, China. Home of fried wontons, cheap electronics, tiny people and kung fu pandas. Seriously, that Jack Black Kung Fu panda is freaking everywhere. His face is on every ad. They love that guy here.
Since arriving here, Red and I have both started our jobs, gotten an apartment and started trying to learn our way around town using the public transportation system. Being from small-town Illinois (Waltonville, pop. 450), I have never been educated on how public transportation works. When I lived in Indianapolis (pop. 858,000), I had a car and never gave it a second thought. All the criss-crossing bus routes and subways have always been a bit intimidating to me. Much like beautiful women in my teens, but now I could get dumped in the wrong part of town and not know where I am. This happened with an Uber-type driver a few days ago.
|I need to go to the Balizhuang Primary School.|
Which stop is that?
The name of the stop is Bei Ying Fen. Does that help?
Public transportation aside, we are also working in Chinese schools. It is a very unfamiliar system. I went to my new school one day to meet with the head of the English department (who speaks very little English) and get a tour of the school. They gave me a few textbooks and showed me out. The next day, I went in early to prepare in my office and no one came by to greet me. Now, I don't need to be greeted. I just found it odd. I did not speak to a single staff member before walking onto my first class an hour later. The teacher of that class walked out as soon as I arrived and I was on my own. I had five classes of first graders that day and no guidance as to what was expected of me other than "we are on Lesson Six".
|This is the lunch that was served in the cafeteria on my first day.|
I have learned that the Chinese mindset is that I am considered to be the expert. It even says that on my passport. FOREIGN EXPERT. As the person in the school who speaks the best English, they will not be intruding on my methods or style. In fact, I was told that the other teachers may come to observe occasionally. Not to critique me, but to learn from me and my methods. Talk about pressure.
In the meantime, Red and I are being taken to a sort of English conference this weekend to represent another school where neither of us has worked (Red will work there sometime next week). We really don't know what our function will be other than to be their token white people. Having a first-language English speaker on staff gives a school credibility for their English department. It should be an interesting day. Maybe we'll make some connections as well.
In the meantime, if you would like to send us a care package (I can't find Mt Dew here), send it to this address.
|This is our actual address.|
I love China.
|Wallet I found in a shop in Nanluogu Xiang|