Well, I've survived the first few days here, which really isn't that hard to do! Besides the heat and humidity, everything has been fantastic!
The town where I am staying -Fuyang - is a 'small city' of 600 000 people, so it is pretty quiet and calm. It's actually quite beautiful. If you are looking on a map, you probably won't see it, but it is about an hour away from Hangzhou. We are going there this weekend to check it out. There is a nice river that passes through Fuyang and I have been going for morning or evening walks along the shore. That's where the only breeze is! Our hotel is at the end of the main street, so it is pretty quiet but also central. It's minutes from the river too!
I am really liking the life style of getting up early and doing something before the heat and humidity gets unbearable, being back to have breakfast by 830 or 9, and then planning what I'm going to teach the next day, napping, or braving the heat to go get water or food. We teach from 2-5 at a high school a 10 minute drive away from our hotel. We have a room where we can all keep all our stuff, and prep which is nice. how they have split up the classes is a bit confusing, but the general gist of it is that I have a class of 25 where I do conversation (so far I've done lots of conversation games), then I have another class of the same, but different kids. All of the students i see are 16-17 years old. Those are blocks 1 and 2. Blocks 3 and 4, I have 50 kids, half of which I've seen earlier in the day. We are to do 'electives' but we didn't have as much PE space as we thought we would have. So we are all going to do some art, some PE and some music (the beibs is alive and well here so we may listen to some of that. The first day with my class of 50, I did one on one conversations (think camp speed dating) and I asked them if they were the foreign teacher, what would they teach. They were super interested in western culture so the next day, we did an alphabet game, and played bingo with it. They were so into it and it got them talking! Amazing! The way they teach in Chinese schools is very different from how I teach they stay in their desks and don't move, so when I've done games where they have to move, it's taken a lot of examples to make it work. I think they are getting the hang of it though. Thinking back to all the students from China that I worked with at southlands last year who were in Canada for 1 or 2 years, I understand their way of learning so much better!
I think one of the most interesting things for me is the lack of culture shock I'm having. I feel comfortable and safe, and like I had my 'china feet' on within the first few days. I now remember that just because the crosswalk says to cross, doesn't mean cars are going to stop. Rules of the road are basically that the bigger thing gets the right of way. Of course, the one difficult thing is the language. I have learned 2 words - no hao (hello) and xie xie - thank you. Let's just say my visual dictionary has come in very handy! Because Fuyang is so 'small' there are very few foreigners that come here. In fact, the only other foreigners that I've seen were at the school yesterday doing health talks. I've found that anyone who speaks even a little bit of English will jump at the chance to help you. It's quite sweet. Of course there is lots of staring. It's rare to see a bunch of white people walking down the street. Some of the little ones are quite fascinated and excitedly shake each other's arm to look.
It's funny having access to tv in the hotel. This is definitely way nicer than how I usually travel. I sometimes have the tv on for noise, and I've kept it on this one channel that has constantly had a celebration of communism on (July 1 was the 90 year anniversary of it). It is FASCINATING to see, but I don't think I'll say anything else here...
Well, I think that's all for now. I now have the interwebs in the hotel room, so I can check email and skype. I'd love to hear what you are all up to!