Wow, how the weeks have flown by. In 2 days I will have been in China for 1 month. That feels weird to say – but it feels like I have been living here for years! This past week has been like riding on the back of a bicycle eating noodles – yes I have seen a little girl doing that – I wish I took a picture!
I feel that I am now integrated within the school, which is a really nice feeling. It isn’t just that the students and teachers know me, but that I know them as well. When I come into work I know exactly what I am doing and what impresses me is that I can lesson plan within minutes for 3 classes in a row. The first day that I got here they threw me into a classroom and said to teach – it was a mock class but a class all the same. Today, a new Chinese English Teacher Intern joined the company and it was I that showed her the ropes and gave her an example lesson. That is how pro I am feeling – no I didn’t choose to show her, I was asked to. That makes me feel that much more awesome! Another thing that makes me feel like I belong is that the IT guy is getting fed up with me. My computer has had 2 viruses already (yes, within two weeks) and he cringes when he sees me. Yesterday, I bought him a candy jar for all the help. I am just hoping that when he sees me he doesn’t cringe! Yes, a little bit of bribery goes a long way. Anson says I am a sweet girl – a sweet girl with a motive!
I am loving the job here – basically because of the people. I work 40hrs a week, 1-9pm and usually teach more than three classes a day. I also feel comfortable here because I know the layout of the city. About a week ago – for a week – I didn’t even know where I was, just that I was in Hangzhou. Basically like knowing I was in Toronto but not knowing I was at Bloor and Younge St. in a way. We now have maps! We also have the people to show us. William, a DJ in the city is also a teacher here. He is great – he is from France – Marseille – and he has lived all over the world. We went to the Maya bar and listened to some of his tracks – Interestingly to report he included ABBA – “Give me a Man after Midnight” – I liked him that much more after that. J Then there is Don from the states. That’s all I have to say about that. J Then there is Anson and Jessica. They are from the area, or near provinces, and they are teaching English here. Anson is fabulous! He makes our day extremely bright (rainbow bright if you get me) and he is always joking. I gave him the book the “Hatchet” to read – he loves it!
The next thing that makes me feel great is the students! They are so fabulous! Today, after my culture class – which was about Canada – when I asked them what else do they want to know, they asked me how do I do my hair. LOL. My bun that I usually wear. Well, I took down my hair (which they loved…lol…your not the only one aunt denise!) and I turned around and showed them. A class of all girls (I was lucky that day) and they all watched me do my hair. Then they all started to practice it – ages 20 – 50. It was cute. Sophie the oldest in the class started grilling me about cosmetic words – so from ‘hair elastic’ to ‘bra strap’. That class was one of the best. I had them singing Arrogant Worm’s songs “We are the Beaver” and “Rocks and Trees”. They understood the jokes thankfully. Earlier today I even used the Barenaked Ladies “If I had a million dollars” song to teach “IF clauses” and the idea “what if”. It was a fun class too.
The other night was crazy in comparison to my usual days. I went to the other center in the city, since they were down a foreign teacher for the day. Getting there was ok – but in a typhoon – seriously! Once there they handed me my class list for the day and I set off to work – not bad, 4 classes I thought. 11:15 rolls around and Sarah (my contact there) was like – aren’t you teaching the kids? And I was like what? I was supposed to teach kids at 11am – wasn’t on my list (apparently what I had was just for the afternoon). So those kids were a joy (yes eyes are rolling here). I actually had one kid always under the desk and another kid punched a 3rd kid. Told the school “never again” – I like my adults. After that day I headed home by bus. At one point I missed the stop and had to walk to the previous bus stop – thankfully it stopped raining by that evening. Once I got there the bus price was 4 kuai rather than the usual 2. I only had 2 on me in change and the rest was in a bills. The lady told me sorry but no. Then another couple came up, and they had 4 kuai in change expecting it to be for the two of them. In the end they gave me the change for nothing and said “Welcome to Hangzhou” I felt so great at that point! On that bus I could hear a group of University kids speaking Japanese and asked in Japanese “Are you Japanese” and they said “YES!!” and we started a conversation – the usual like why I was there, why they were, etc. Then a Chinese fellow piped in “Wow, you understand so many languages” in English (I spoke to him in Chinese earlier when getting on the bus). And I told him I also understood Korean. So standing on the bus I taught the Japanese guy Chinese phrases and the Chinese guy Japanese phrases, and then they used it on each other. It was so cute! I felt like such a teacher! In the end we did that huge wave thing from the bus as they both got off and I stayed on. The Japanese guy liked that I taught him how to say beer – Peejo (pronunciation), so I also taught the Chinese guy – beelu (pronunciation). When you travel that is the most important word after “thank you”.
That night I ended up getting Jane and I KFC for dinner on our way home – since I met her at work. One of our students was there – Forest. He chose his name because he likes Forest Gump! Isn’t that awesome! The first time he said his name he said "My name is Forest, like Forest Gump!" - it sounded just like the line from the movie. I would say he is close or in his 40s. I have other student names like ..Vancy, Stempk (spelled how pronounced), Phillis (she is 14 years old about), and some other cute names. Only here can you meet a Forest Gump and a 14 year old Phillis!
Well tomorrow is my day off and I am planning on going to the movies with Jane since we received 4 free tickets for Teacher’s day that we received from the company (I received a couple of gifts from students as well). It is a good time since we work evenings and it will be raining all week. Still getting used to the roaches here and I am now walking across traffic like a native (if you don’t you don’t move). Can’t wait to send you pictures (I have to wait till my laptop gets internet – the guys didn’t give us the password to the internet in our apartment so Jane’s has internet but not mine L ).
Have a great week and I will talk to you soon!!!!
Cakey, Caley-bum, Caley-Bailey, Kiy-Lee