29 September 2008

Finally....Someone to talk to.

OK so finally the VSO teachers have moved in. There are three women and one man. Unlucky for me though they are all mature people, but I guess that may not be such a bad thing since they know how to look after themselves. So far today they been buying things to use to clean the house with and new sheets for the bed etc. While we were at the supermarket everyone was crowding around them, people seemed very interested in what they were buying. But it felt nice for once not to be the center of attention. Even on the street more people were concerned with the new people from VSO and me. ^-^

Yesterday when the teachers first arrived we all went out for dinner and met some important people such as the dean of education or something like that. We went to a restaurant I had never been to before. There were about 11 of us at the table and they order much food for us and keep telling us to "eat...eat...eat" was quite funny at the time.

The also tried to force people to drink some very strong alcohol, but I didn't drink any no matter how many times they offered. Later the Headmaster of my school was playing a drinking game with someone else at the table, I think it was the vice dean of education. The game had them shake 3 die in a cup and then try and guess how much of each number there are in your cup and your opponents. The Headmaster then played the game with me but I was confused and lucky I wasn't drinking otherwise I would have been very sick. The Headmaster won maybe 5 out of the 6 rounds we played.

So far its nice to have someone else living at the dorms, they are friendly people which makes it good. The also said there will be 4 other Chinese girls coming to live with us to be their interpreters. Wow going from just me to a full house in such a short time, thats crazy haha. I wonder what these girls will be like.....they just better not drink up my drink, thats all I'm gonna say. ¬_¬

Well right now nothing much is happening, I wanted to get a haircut but Mr. Lee isnt picking up his phone. I wanted him to tell the barber what it is I would like, plus I think he may know of a good place for me to get to get it cut. Anyways I think this is all for now, will post soon.

27 September 2008

Its Saturday...But I'm Still At School!!!!!!!!!!!!! O_o

OK let me start by saying what happened yesterday evening. First I went out to get my dinner like I normally do now (seeing how I cant cook and I can afford to eat out). I then went to one of the two shops I go to. The man that works there was trying to entice me to buy things, random things on the shelf but I kindly refused.

As I was looking in the shop he tried to tell me what something was (in Chinese) but I didn't understand what he was saying. He then called to the back and his daughter then came out. She speaks some English so it was nice to have someone understand me. She told me what it was, I then spent a good hour or two in the shop with the man his wife and his daughter. They would ask me questions and other things. The Wife was then measuring her husbands height with my own (he is taller than me) , he then began to measure his foot with my own. He then tried on my shoe and seemed to think it looked good on him. It was all quite funny to me, but at least all this had me out of my room.

The Dad then asked how much my shoes were, I told him maybe £55. Then he wanted to know how much it was in Yuan. I did the calculation and it turned out to be 605yuan. The Dad was like "WAhhhhh" he was even more shocked when I told him they were made in China haha. The Mum was asking questions too, then she asked if they could take a picture of me and I said sure. These people are nice so I don't mind them taking pictures of me. We then started to do some price comparisons between England and China and they were quite shocked at how much money people earn in England.

I then spent some time talking to their daughter, she is the same age as me and seemed like she wanted to be friends. I was like sure, I don't know anyone else round here. I asked her if she was busy because I didn't want to keep her from what she was doing, but I told her that its boring in my room so I just wanted someone to talk to. Later the daughter went to the back of the shop (living quarters), I then continued to walk around and ask the Dad whats what.

After a little while the Dad told me to go to the back (well he pointed really), I did want he said and saw the daughter on the computer. They told me to sit down on this little stool, damn the thing was so low I nearly popped my back haha. Anyways the daughter was using the computer or rather she was using this thing called QQ. She asked me if I had QQ (like my students the other day) but I said no. She then told me she was talking to her friend and she was telling that I was with her. I realised she was talking about me because I saw her write lao'wai (i think that's how you spell it) before the computer turned it into Chinese characters. Her friend was like "WAhhhh", then the daughter turned on the web cam so her friend could see me. The daughter later asked if I had a phone, I said yea I do. Why you wanna know? Then she said no reason...lol. So I think she wanted my phone number. I will give it to her next time, would be nice to know someone that can speak for me lol.

After she was done she was like use the computer, I was like are you sure and she was like yea go on ^-^. So of course I did. Their Internet was slightly better then here at the school, it was faster and I could access my web pages quicker. Then later the daughter came back and took some pictures of us together. She was having difficulty getting a good pic so the mum came and took the pic, they seemed very happy to take pictures with me. In one of the pics I made a funny face and then the daughter ran off to her father laughing. Then the Dad came to the room with his phone ready to take a picture with me. It was all quite funny but I did not want to over stay my welcome so I shortly left after this at around 9:30 ish.

Today I had to quickly prepare my lessons before the classes started. I arrived at 7:30 and my first lesson was at 9:40 so I had plenty of time to do it. As I walked up the stairs however some of my students from my first lesson on the Monday just gone had the classes homework for me. I was surprised they had it for me. I took the work and Mrs. D and I marked them in the office then gave them back to the students in the class at 9:40.

This weeks lessons for the Juniors and Seniors are quite similar, they are all to do with Keeping Fit/Healthy. Again like the lessons earlier this week the basis for the lessons is group work, this will allow all the students to be involved in the lessons. They basically had to list all the things they felt you can do to keep fit and all the things you can eat to keep fit. Some of the students today were very good but others not as good. But no sweets today because I haven't had a chance to go to the supermarket.

I will have only one lesson tomorrow then I'm free until Thursday (i think). So I can get a nice rest from school. No more getting up at 6:30 for a few days. =D

But today's lessons have finished and I'm about to go back to my room soon. Later I will go back out to eat dinner but I find that I am getting a little tired of having rice and/or noodles everyday. I want something else, what I wouldn't do for a Pizza or some Chips lol. Although the students and I did discuss that these types of foods are bad for you, but what they don't know wont hurt them lol. Saying this though, if I wanted to eat some junk food I would have to travel 2 hours on a train to Xi'An. ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.......................=( looks like I will have to find other Chinese food to eat lol. But now I guess I will have to learn some new words other than fried rice and fried noodles so I guess its not all bad lol.

Anyways thanks for reading.

26 September 2008

Last day of School...or so I thought.

OK yesterday was just like the other days, not much happend. However my last class of the day was the worst. The students did not understand hardly anything I said to them. You could say this was because they were Junior students but I found that other Junior students I had asked similar questions to were fine with them. The could just be because of their poor English skills or rather Mrs. D's lack of translation. Either way these students did not get any sweets, I told them they have to try harder next time.

Today was pretty cool, I was teaching all Seniors today. I saw some students that I often see in the restaurant I go to. Sometimes students knowing before seeing you in the class can be a bad thing. By this I mean the students tend to act up and play about because they think you are their friends. Fair enough I may be friendly with them outside the class but they should respect me and my wishes in the class.

The questions portion of this class was quite funny because this one students asked me for a hug, yea thats right some boy asked me for a hug lol. I thought...um....I dont want the students to think I'm evil so I gave him one and everyone applauded haha. The students often ask if I have a girlfriend also, but these girls are way too young for me lol. Plus they wouldn't understand what the hell I'm saying. I also noticed students taking pictures on the sly, I said to them at the end of the class if you want to take pictures I do not mind at the end of the class.

My last class of the day was better due to the fact Mr. Lee was helping me. There was one girl in the class who was quite good at English. I was surprised when I told her to ask a question. I also noticed that she would help the other students a lot. At the end of the question time I told the students (because I saw someone taking pics of me on their phone) to take pictures with/of me if they like. Many of them rushed to the front and posed while their friends took pictures of us. The girl who I thought was good at english gave me a water balloon, why I dont know haha. This other girl also gave me a star folded from a straw, its pretty cool. I will take a picture of it if I can haha. But the students liked me it seemed, even one students asked me if I knew Usain Bolt hahaha. I said nope I dont, sorry.

Well this week has been ok so far, but because there is a holiday right now in China I have to teach Mondays and Tuesdays lesson on the Weekend. I will have Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off instead. So no rest for me yet....shit I need to prepare my lesson. O_o

PS: right now they are playing "End of the Road" by Boyz 2 Men over the speaker system haha.

24 September 2008

Pictures and Videos

I just want to let you guys know about the picture/video situation. Well basically I can't upload any pictures let alone videos using the computer here in my office.

Every time I try to add pictures to somewhere like Facebook.com the computer locks up and freezes on the same "uploading" pop-up but it never adds any pictures to the website.

I have tried today to update some of the earlier posts on here with pictures but again it just froze on the uploading screen, so I'm sorry about this.

PS: I have resized all my pictures so each file is now only 8-10kbs rather than 200+kb per picture. But still I'm having the same problem. Looks like I will have to upload the pictures once I get back to England.

3rd Day of School

OK let me start first by saying what happened after my lesson yesterday. Well since I only had one lesson, I had plenty of free time in the afternoon. After I had my lunch I thought it would be nice to see if I could get a chance to play some Basketball. I went to the playground and watched as the students played, I thought to myself which group should I join. Then as I was standing there a few of the students said "...you want to play ball?", I was like sure why not. They gave me the ball first and gestured their hand as if to say "...please shoot the ball", I did as they asked and I shot.

Unfortunately my skills in basketball are not what they used to be. I missed about 9 of my 12 shots haha. Well it was after a few shots the students thought they would try their luck with me. The probably thought "...hey, hes black he must be good at B-ball" but they were sadly mistaken, yes this was/is my sport of choice but I am too out of practice to be considered any real challenge. The students came at me one-by-one and I had to go through them. I managed to succeed with a few plays but soon I began to tire due to lack of exercise and practice in Basketball. This soon became the students opportunity to go to town on me and brag to their friends they beat a black man at Basketball lol.

The students the decided to start a game of 5 on 5, half court. As we begun to play other students from the schools started to watch from their classroom window and gather around the court. This was not a surprising to me considering I still remember what happened when I played Badminton for a little while haha. Unfortunately some (well most) of the students went after a while due to them having lessons. I still stayed in the playground with a few of the other students. Supposedly these students don't like going to all their lessons or they had a free period, who knows lol. With them was one of the schools security guards. One of his duties I was told was to send students to their lessons, but it seemed he did not care as much as treated the students I was with more like friends. I didn't mind, gave me someone to play basketball with.

After a while even those students had to go so I went back to my office. After about 1 hour or so I went back out to the playground once I had seen the students playing again. I stayed out there for a few hours maybe 3 or so. Then like always many of the students had to go to their next lesson. But 3 students stayed outside with me (at this time it was after 7:00pm), I asked them why don't they have lessons as well, they simply said "....we do, but we are bad boys haha" I was like ok then. These 3 guys were pretty cool they stayed outside playing until maybe 8:30pm. It was so dark thought, I didn't even know why we were still playing lol. They also told me different things they like, such as wrestling, kung fu and hip-hop. I was like cool, they then asked me would I like to go to karaoke but I declined mainly due to me having lessons all day today. I told them maybe on the weekend, because I will be able to sleep all day the next day. They were like sure, ok then.

Well today was the day where I have 6 lessons, this is the most amount of lessons I have in one day each week. There were a total of 4 Senior Classes and only 2 Junior classes. This has been one of the best teaching days by far, mainly due to how responsive the students were to the lesson. It also helped that they seemed genuinely happy to meet me. Today however I had three different teachers helping me in 4 of my classes, this made a fresh change from having Mrs. D there helping me all the time.

I think these classes were normally taught English by these teachers and they felt it best for them to help their own class. Once I had finished my 3rd class and was waiting for my 4th to begin, many students from the 3rd class started to crowed around me as Mrs. D and I were waiting outside the class waiting for our lesson to start. I was a bit overwhelmed but the amount of students, however they were simply there to pratice their English and ask me some more questions. I of course was happy to help them.

The girls seemed to want my MSN and asked if I had this thing called QQ which is a Chinese MSN type thing. I gave them my hotmail address but told them I cant use MSN while I am here in China. But they didnt seem to mind, one girl even asked me to write my name on her arm haha. They are seriously acting like im some kind of superstar, but im really just me a normal guy ^_^.

Well since it is now the 3rd day I pretty much have my teaching method, so far it seems to be working well. First I introduce myself, then I ask the students to pratice and lastly I get the students to introduce themselves to me. Then near the end of the lesson I get the students to ask me any and as many questions as they can. After this has been done I then give out some sweets (the kids love them sweeties lol) to the students who I felt spoke English the clearest and the best. In the last Junior class it seemed as if many of the students knew what I was going to get out of my bag when I told them I was going to give out something haha. But I still only gave the sweets to the students who I thought were the best.

Well I have now run out of pot noodles, so I will have to start eating dinner at a restaurant or god forbid buy more pot noodles TT_TT. Well I think I will also buy some apples in a minute, they are quite nice here, very sweet. Well thats it for today will update soon, thanks for reading.

23 September 2008

2nd Day of School

OK I just finished my second day of school. Today I had only one lesson but after having my first lesson with the Seniors yesterday I was thinking whether or not this lesson would go smoothly. I arrived at the school for 7:35 after Mrs. D had told me we had to be there for 7:40. However Mrs. D came late haha, shame. Mrs. D later told me to change the way I taught the lesson because the Senior students found it boring because they didn't understand what I was saying. Mrs. D suggested that I should just do the "Introductions" informally rather than formally like I had been doing. I thought about it and decided to try it her way. Anyways Mr. Lee surprised us by coming into the office. He told us that he would sit in on this lesson instead of Mrs. D because it is his class. I was like ok then, sure.

As I arrived in the class I noticed how friendly the students seemed unlike that other evil Senior class haha jokes. Anyways I wrote on the board as per usual "my name, where I'm from and my age" but as I was explaining Mr. Lee told me to stop so he could translate. I was thinking WTH this would make my life so much easier, why hasn't Mrs. D being doing this? So after a few sentences Mr. Lee would tell me to stop so he could translate. This worked much better because the students could understand what the hell I was talking about. Normally Mrs. D sits at the back of the classroom and lets me just talk then I have to shout to the back "Mrs. D, Mrs D can you translate please because they don't understand!". Anyways the way Mr. Lee was doing it was much better.

I then asked the students to practice introducing themselves and greetings for a few minutes amongst themselves. Afterwards I went around to individual students and asked them to introduce themselves. This took up all of the lesson but I only managed to speak to 1/4 of the class. At the end of the class I told the students not to be afraid to speak English and they should try to improve it. This was when I noticed one girl taking a picture of me, I was like O_o.............OK then what the hell and I posed lol. Then more students got their Cameras out and started to take pictures. Then a few of them rushed to the front and started grabbing on to me and posing with the peace (v sign) so their friends could take pictures. Other students then said "...I would like to be your friend" I was like "...sure you can teach me Chinese" haha.

So this lesson today was alright, seemed fairly easy. But I know not all lessons are going to be easy like this. I also forgot to give them the sweets haha, next time...next time. But I guess if I see some of the students again before next week I will give them the sweets. Its soon time for lunch but I wonder what I shall have...there are really only two options (well for me anyways) rice or noodles. I'm getting a little tired of having pot noodles for dinner at my place though =(, its making me a little sick now lol. Hopefully though, this rumor about the other foreign teachers and I getting a cook next week are true hehe.

22 September 2008

First Day of School

After a semi-anxious night of sleep I was ready for my first day of school. Originally Mrs. D told me to be at the school for 8:00am, but at around 7:15am she phoned me to ask/tell me to come earlier. I was annoyed because we had arranged to meet up on Saturday and she never showed up. I told her I need to shower, get dressed and eat something and that I will be there as soon as possible. Well in the end I got there for 7:50 so technically I wasn't late I was earlier since we had agreed on 8:00am.

When I got to the school gate the technician guy came to register my finger print on the finger print scanner. Its like a clocking in/out machine you may or may not have at work. But I guess this way no one can clock in for you lol (damn >_<). After that was done Mrs. D and I went to our office and waited until 9:40am to have out first lesson. She also informed me that the Headmaster said he wants us both to be at the school on Mondays for 6:40 for the raising of the flag (ah wah di rars O_o). 6.40 that's a bit extreme to come to school and we will have to wait until 9.40 to have our first lesson, that's a joke. Also the Headmaster said he wants us to be in school by 7.40 each day, ahhhhhh why so early T___T.

Well anyways I had my first of 5 classes today, 4 of them were the Junior classes and one of them was a Senior class. My plan for the lesson was to follow the book I had received from the agency however during the lesson it seemed like the children were struggling. First I introduced myself and told them I was from London, England. The whole point of this weeks lessons are for the students to learn greetings and introductions. I read out some examples of greetings for the students and got them to repeat what I said. Then I asked the students (with the help of Mrs. D) to practice with the person (or their friend) sitting next to them. Once they had finished this I selected a few students to come to the front to demonstrate their English conversation to the rest of the class. The students who came up were given a sweet that I bought from the Supermarket, this is really to encourage them. But I hope they dont think they gonna get sweets everytime they come up to demonstrate. Dorian what have you done >_< lol.

Oh yea in the first class before I said anything except "Hi" as I walked in the class the students begun to sing. I was thinking whats going on, they all sang the same song fairly loudly was cute thought lol. At the end of that first class the a couple of the students gave me a bird, yes that's right a baby bird lol. It sat in my hand and wasn't scared of any of us. I asked Mrs. D why doesn't it fly away and she said its because its too young. But I kindly gave the bird back to the students because I can barely look after myself let alone a bird. The bird resembled a sparrow or something like that.

After 3 Junior classes I had my first Senior class. Immediately I was stunned to see twice as many students in the same size classroom. The class was over packed to the point where you couldn't really walk from one end of the class to the other. Another thing to note is the different ages of the students, some are really young and some are really old. It seems like they have a system like America as in, if you don't pass you stay in that same grade for another year. As soon as I began the lesson it was obvious these students couldn't understand what the hell I was talking about. These students seemed less enthusiastic to learn unlike the Junior students. They also didn't understand my instructions (or Mrs. D was telling them something else).

The students ended up doing the lesson in the wrong order, they came up to demonstrate before they had even practiced. This flopped the task because they were not prepared because they had not practiced briefly before hand. It was said that the Senior students English abilities are poor compared to the Junior students, mainly due to them not liking English as a subject. You would think it would be the other way around i.e Senior students better and Junior students not as good but I guess not. Hopefully I can change that by finding out what the Senior students like (if anything lol) about English.

Ah well it was clear from all the 5 lessons today that the students enjoy getting sweets (more so the Seniors they were all shouting for sweets, big kids lol) and playing Pictionary. This was the game I decided to play with the students at the end of the lesson. Unfortunately some of the students English skills were not that great and they could not read certain words like House, Dog, Radio, Computer and Fruits. This made the game slightly difficult for them since they only knew the Chinese word for these things. I had to help them occasionally by drawing for them, because they either spent to long drawing or drew something totally different to the word. One girl drew a Cat when the word was Car, but I guess this is a simple mistake for them.

So day one is over, only one lesson on Tuesdays but I will have to use the rest of that day to restructure the lesson and dumb them down. It appears the books from the agency are too difficult for the students. So the lessons from Wednesday onwards will be easier for the Juniors and even easier for the Seniors.

Will update with more happenings as time goes on.

Before My First Day of School

Well on the weekend I wanted to go out to the Supermarket to buy some supplies to use in class with the students. I had asked my assistant Mrs. D to help me and she agreed on the Friday. Saturday came and she was no where to be found. I woke up early ready and waiting for our agreed leaving time which was 11 o'clock. 11 o'clock came and she didn't show up, I phoned her but a message told me "...the phone you are currently trying to reach is switched off. At this point I was getting slightly annoyed to say the least. I waited, waited some more and even some more but still she never came.

Just in case you are wondering I wanted her to go to the Supermarket with me because I cant speak Mandarin and the whole thing of telling the bus driver when to stop is a bit funny to me. I waited til night until I got a phone call from Mr. Lee asking if I had eaten dinner yet, I obviously said know because people who know me know I like to eat late (btw it was only like 7 at the time lol). For lunch I had eaten a pot noodle, it seems like I eat those everyday. I feel like I'm starting to get a little sick from eating those now lol. Any who Mr. Lee picked me up from my place and he took me to a noodle place. I hadn't been to this place before but the waitress seemed happy to serve me.

Mr. Lee had told me as we left the restaurant that if he had time tomorrow he will take me to the Supermarket. At the time I didn't mind if I went or not because I was just annoyed with Mrs. D. I went back to my room and then found myself watching some silly Zombie movie because it was in English and had Chinese subtitles. The movie was one of the ones in the series "Night of the Living Dead" but even so this didn't make the movie any better haha.

Sunday came and in the afternoon Mr. Lee phoned me and asked if I had lunch yet, I simply said no. He then told me he will take me out for lunch (just so you know he takes me but I have to pay for myself lol), we went to the same noodle place as the other night. As we walked there this little boy maybe 4 or 5 yelled "heigui" which if you don't know means "Black Devil" this time it didn't bother me. However later the boy and his grandma came into the restaurant to chat to the people there while looking at me at the same time. I explained to Mr. Lee that they shouldn't call people Heigui because its derogatory/offensive, supposedly its the equivalent of calling someone a nigger. He tried to explain to them but I don't think they really understood or cared to be honest and even Mr. Lee himself seemed a little unsure as to why it was wrong. But I will just put it down to lack of education because I'm sure they wouldn't like it if I pointed and called them "Yellow Devil" but ahh well hopefully they will understand with time.

After the restaurant Mr. Lee, his son (sorry I forgot to mention him. he is about 7 I think) and I got on a bus towards the Supermarket. When we went into the Supermarket I got the usual stares but I tend not to pay as much attention to them anymore. While I was walking around this woman came up to Mr. Lee and asked him (in Chinese) why is he always with me, I guess she has seen him with me before. Hopefully he told her its because I cant speak or understand Mandarin.

I carried on walking through the Supermarket, I was mainly there to buy stuff for my lessons like I said before and also some sweets to give students who come to the front to demonstrate their English skills. Their pic 'n mix section here works differently from in the UK, certain sweets cost more even though they are all in the pic 'n mix section, weird eh. When I was about to leave this floor of the Supermarket the female employees started to because curious with me. One of them had already spoke English to me so others wanted to speak to me too. It was mainly one woman who was interested in me, she would asked Mr. Lee questions then he would translate. Then more employees started to gather round. They all started to ask me funny questions, the main one didn't believe I was from England because I was black haha. I explained to her (well Mr. Lee to explained to her) that there are all different types of people in England and especially in London.

The conversation with the women continued they asked me if I would take a Chinese woman home with me and I said no since I already know so many Chinese girls anyways lol. She also asked (at this point there was a man and his wife standing with us) if I stayed in China long enough will I become white? If someone said that to be in England I would think they're stupid but here (in China) I feel they lack education about certain things. I told her "no" that is impossible. They (the women) then asked me if I could be White, Yellow or Black what colour would I choose? I said I like being Black so I choose Black. This was when the Man said "everyman likes his own skin". The man then began to ask why I was here in China, we told him it was to teach oral English. He then said I would do a good job because I have good pronunciation (yea right) lol.

After the man had left two boys came up to the group and said "hello, how are you" I simply replied "fine and you?". The boys seemed happy to be speaking (practising) their English with me. They also asked if they could take a picture with me (I'm more than happy to take a picture if they ask me first) but unfortunately for the boy his phone was dead so no picture that day. During this time they women (mainly that one) was asking questions she wanted to know if I had a baby with a Chinese women what will the baby look like. I just said he/she would have brown skin probably lighter than mine and have eyes like their Chinese mum. They seemed to be intrigued with the idea of this lol. I'm surprised they don't know what mixed race people look like, I'm sure they have seen them on TV. But I guess they didn't know they were mixed race when they saw them on TV.

After like 30mins of chatting to this giggling women Mr. Lee and I decided to continue walking around the Supermarket. The women said as we left, come back anytime *wink* ^_< *wink* haha I was like sure. Since I already had the sweets I went downstairs to pick up some stationary for the class. Mr. Lee's son had been in the book section reading as Mr. Lee and I walked around the shop. But as it was time to pay his son had dissapeared. In England this would be a big ordeal but Mr. Lee looked for his son but did not seem too worried. The first thing I thought was that his son was kidnapped because I heard a lot of Children get kidnapped off the street in China. But in this area it seems like everyone knowns everyone so no wonder Mr. Lee was not that worried. Mr. Lee chucked me on a bus and told the bus driver when to stop for me. Mr. Lee thought it would be best if he looked for his son by himelf. But it turned out his son must have gotten bored while he was with us and made his own way home on the bus haha.

19 September 2008

At My School

Well I have arrived at my School in the county of Zhen'an which is in the province of Shaanxi. I arrived at the school last week Wednesday and have been staying in the foreign teachers living area. My school is "The 2nd Middle School of Zhen'an". Currently I am the only foreign teacher at the school so it is a bit boring at my place. But I guess I don't have to worry about anyone stealing my food, well for now anyways lol.

My room is fairly decent, i have a double bed, TV, my own bathroom and a desk. Although I can only watch Chinese stations on the TV so its a bit annoying. I don't have the English station CCTV9 on it either, so everything is in Chinese. You may be saying something like "...well, duh you're in China" and yes i can agree with you but the only thing is, I don't understand anything they are saying on the TV lol. There is one upside to the TV situation and that is now and again there are English Language movies shown with Chinese subs. In the dorm I also have a kitchen and a dining room but I will have to share this with the other foreign teachers if/when they arrive.

The school is pretty cool and most of the teachers are friendly. The kids however are like most of the people in Beijing, they are very surprised to see a black foreigner. But I feel these students are more interested in practising their English with me than starring and pointing.

When I eat out I tend to go to two places. I normally order the same meal at either place which is normally rice with beef or noodles soup. Both of these meals are fairly inexpensive, the noodles work out to be 5yuan and the rice with beef is 10yuan. That is really cheap considering in England a sandwich can cost like £3 (30yuan) or more. The restaurant is cool because I often see the same group of students come in. They are always friendly to me and one of them always speaks English with me. She is one of the few students I can actually ask where something is in English. I also noticed that I am the last person students who have never seen me before want to sit next to. The students that talk to me on a regular basis always sit on the same table as me which is good because they have no reason to fear me, im a nice guy...honest ^_^ lol.

Like the restaurants I mainly visit two shops to buy things. One shop is run by a man and his wife (that's me assuming that's who she is) they are both very friendly and a lot of the time I visit the shop they try and offer me food, like what they are eating. The other shop I got to is run by a family (I think), at the front is a woman and most of the time she has her daughter (again I'm assuming) with her. The girl looks to be about 8 or 9. Both the woman and the girl are very nice and they always try to help me if I look confused about something lol. Like the other shop they sometimes offer me food as well.

The area is quite rural i.e dirt roads and all and the people seem to be interested in seeing a black man in their area. They often make noises or whistle to get my attention because they can not communicate in English well if at all.

Last week I went to where all the shops are which is a short bus ride away. The bus ride was very cheap, it worked out to be just 1 yuan. But unlike London buses you don't press a bell to stop the bus you just shout at the driver "STOP!!!" and he will stop at the next bus stop haha.

While I was in the shopping district a lot of people were starring (I've come to expect this now) and pointing. Its really weird because they would turn their neck right around just to look at me if they are walking past. They even slow down their cars as they drive past just to look me in my face.

I wanted to use the Internet while I was in the area so Mr. Lee who was accompanying me on this trip took me to a Internet cafe. While there all the youngsters were looking at me and the girl behind the counter took a picture of me on her camera phone (again I'm kinda used to this now, i even pose lol). It was really cheap to use the Internet there, it cost me just 2 yuan for like 40 mins.

The main reason I went to the shopping district was to buy some cloths/sponges to wash up with. I also wanted to find a CD player so I could play my music out loud while I was in my room. However Mr. Lee and I could not find a CD player, supposedly they are not in fashion anymore lol. I ended up buying some speakers which I could connect my iPod to instead.

Oh this week at the school nothing much has been happening really. They still keep telling me that 4 more foreign teachers will come but me still nah see dem yet @_@. Well I guess I got a few more days of playing my music loudly lol. The headmaster at the school is pretty safe too, hes like "...if you got a problem, tell me and ill sort it out" so that's what i do. I told him what I needed at the dorm and then next thing you know everything I had asked for magically arrived lol. He also got someone to come wash my clothes for me.....by hand O_o. I felt a bit sorry for them, washing my boxers like lol.

I also got an assistant who will help me with lesson planning etc and general translations. Her name is Miss D and she pretty cool. Her spoken English is not as good as Mr. Lee's but hopefully the more she speaks with me the better it will get. Today I finished preparing some of the activities my students will do in the class. Although I need to pick up some stuff tomorrow at the supermarket for the lessons. Oh I will have 19 lessons a week and each lesson is 40mins. On Tuesdays I only have one lesson which is good but on Wednesday I have 6 lessons in that day. But that's only 4 hours I have to work for in that day so its not too bad.

I'm also lucky because the earliest I start is at 8 for my 8:30 am class in the morning, but the students have to come to school at 6:00 am. They stay at school from this time until 9:30 pm yea that's right at night. They have three breaks throughout the day lasting for around 2 hours so i guess its not too bad.

Well I think I've written enough for today will update when some more stuff happens.

16 September 2008


I'm sorry I haven't been able to update this but the main reason for that is me not having any access to the Internet.

Well quite a lot has been happening here. I might as well start from the beginning. Last week I was assigned my first school which was the capital of Jiangxi Province named Nanchang. I was put on a 12hr train journey to get to this school from Beijing.

Once the journey had ended I was greeted (or so I thought) by a woman and a man. The woman was holding up a piece of paper with my name on. I approached them as if to say I am the person you have been waiting for, but you guys should have seen the look of disappointment on their faces.

They ushered me to one side with my suitcase and bags and then as quickly as you could say "oh shit" she was on the phone to the agency. I may not be able to understand Chinese but it was obvious that she had a problem with me and was taking out her anger on the agency.

Once she had finished her argument on the phone she approached me, I simply asked her what the problem was. But before she could say anything I simply said "is the problem due to the fact I'm black and not white?" and she replied without hesitation "yes". At the time I was quite pissed off about this, how can she discriminate against me based on that alone, she doesn't know me from Adam. She had assumed I was white because the agency had said I was from Britain, more fool her ¬_¬.

She then kindly (yea, right *rolls eyes*) helped me to buy a new train ticket from Nanchang back to Beijing. All the time she kept saying "sorry", well I was the one that was sorry. I was sorry that people like her still exist (dumb bitch ¬_¬). They left me in the train station all alone for 4hrs until I could get on my train again back to Beijing. But it was just my luck that this journey back to Beijing took 14hrs not 12hrs like the last time. All I could do was sleep on the train, nothing else to do really ='(.

Once I got back to Beijing I was pissed because I had wasted 26hrs of my life going to this place just to come all the way back. When I was explaining what had happened back at the agency I got a little upset (I know shocking init) but I guess all the pointing, starring, laughing, talking, camera phone picture taking got to me. But it was nice to see Ryan again, I was still surprised he didn't get placed in a school yet lol.

Later that day David (one of the guys at the agency) went with me to Tiananmen Square. There were not many people there at the time but while David and I were taking pictures some random Eastern European man comes up to me and asks can he get a picture. I was like WTH O_o haven't you seen a black person before? Well for him I guess not. He was in a group of about 6 people and they all jumped in the photo with me. But Just as they were taking the pictures some Chinese guys got their cameras out and started to take pictures of us. Then some random Chinese woman with a baby jumped in the picture, it was quite funny to be honest but quite strange at the same time.

As David and I continued to walk around more people would come up to me and ask for a picture. I also told those people who were taking pictures on the sly to come and get a real one with me lol. One girl even asked me "...is it ok if I smile?" I was like what the hell, of course it is its your picture lol.

So this pretty much went on for the whole day, oh yea one crazy woman wiped my face with her finger to say as if it was dirty and she was whipping it off. I was just shocked that she did that but was still kinda funny, some people dont have a clue about anything. Good thing I'm here to teach them whats what lol.

There was this crazy woman at the bus stop who was even telling me how to pronounce the name of an area, she also had a young girl with her maybe it was her grandaughter. The girl then put her arm next to mine and was comparing how dark I was compared to her (the girl was kinda dark as well).

Well after all this happend we went back to the agency and was telling everyone all the crazy stuff that had happend.

6 September 2008

Arrived in Beijing

Ok I managed to arrive safely in China yesterday. The flight was pretty quick to be honest, it was like under 10hrs. I watched a few films on the plane, nothing exciting though. I did see Indian Jones but that wasnt really saying much haha. I tried to sleep on the plane but damn its hard, my neck was all stiff >_<".

I was picked up by the agency and everything was fine. I walked around a bit once I was at the Hotel and I must say damn Beijing is hot O_o. It was even more noticeable when you would be in a shop then walk back out into the sun. It was a nice day too, blue sky and everything no smog either.

When I was picked up there was also another guy like me there named Ryan from Florida. He's cool, plus it helped that there was someone there who spoken fluent English. We were haning out toghether at the HQ but I did think to myself I should have brought some games because it was kinda boring waiting around.

While we were not at the HQ and were walking around we did see some funny stuff, but I guess its just funny to us because we're not used to it. We saw some old ladies playing in the park with a little ball that had feathers on it. They kicked the little ball; between the three of them. I also saw old people again working out in the park which was kinda cool. In the park there are many of these apparatus' people would use to keep fit.

Also walked to Beijing University didnt go inside but it looked kinda cool from the oustide. Took a few pictures. Oh that reminds me, when Ryan and I were having lunch some girl (chinese) comes up to us and asks us if we go to Beijing University. She wanted to know directions to it I think. But luckily we were there with some people who knew where it was haha.

Well I don't know what i'm gonna be doing today but ill keep this update when I can.

*will add pictures when I get a chance.

3 September 2008

Getting Ready...

Well basically today I just did some shopping buying up the necessary stuff for the trip like shower gel, deodorant, toothpaste etc. I also ended up buying a nice English-Chinese / Chinese-English dictionary, i think this will help me a lot on the trip haha. I'm a bit pissed off though mainly because every time i need money I have to go to the bank because my debit-card doesnt work GRRRrrrr ¬_¬ .

I thought it would also be a good idea to buy some new clothes that would be better suited to being a teacher. I don't think t-shirts 2 sizes too big and hooded sweat-tops would go down that well in the classroom lol. So I think I have bought everything that I essentially need for the trip, all that's left now is to put all this new stuff into the suitcase.

Since around 10pm today i've been making some CDs to take along with me. This task is a little laborious but I figured if I wanted to listen to some music out loud I would need CDs init lol. So I just have to bare with it and do it.

One other thing I also picked up my Chinese Yuan today but the stupid post office gave me 39 元100 bills. It kinda ridiculous, I asked the lady at the counter if they will be mixed when I ordered them and she assured me they would be. But look they are not mixed and are all 100 bills. Anyways gonna have a get together tomorrow, just really to say bye to some people. The next post I make will most likely be from China.

2 September 2008

Why I Chose The Title For The Blog

Well you may have noticed that the title of the blog is a play on the title of the Chinese novel "Journey to the West". If you don't know what this novel is about here is a brief summary:

The novel is a fictionalized account of the legends around the Buddhist monk Xuánzàng's pilgrimageIndia during the Táng dynasty in order to obtain Buddhist religious texts called sutras. The Bodhisattva Guānyīn, on instruction from the Buddha, gives this task to the monk and his three protectors in the form of disciples — namely Sūn Wùkōng, Zhū Bājiè and Shā Wùjìng — together with a dragon prince who acts as Xuánzàng's horse mount. These four characters have agreed to help Xuánzàng as an atonement for past sins.

So I thought it would be a good title for the blog since I'm going to China and will get a chance to learn more about Chinese customs and culture. Unfortunately
some one had already chosen this title for their blog and this the reason there is a "da" in the title instead of "the".

One more thing, if you didnt know the story of Dragonball created by Akira Toriyama was inspired by the story of Journey to the West.


Background Info About the Trip

I decided to create this blog to document my trip to China. I will be living in China for a minimum of 3 months while teaching oral English. As the days go by I will try and add pictures and videos of my time living in the country.

I will be leaving for China on Thursday 4th and according to British Airways the flight will take around 10 hours. I will arrive at Beijing International Airport where I will meet the agency that will assign me a school.

I will update this blog with more posts as my time to leave draws closer.

1 September 2008


Welcome to my Asian Blog aka Journey to da East!

I originally created this blog back in 2008 for me to inform everyone about my time in China whilst I was volunteering as an English Teacher. I decided to create this blog was because I had not seen any other blogs about teaching in China coming from a black persons perspective. Because of this I thought it would be a great idea to document my experience there using this blog. However I later realised while I was in China that this would not be the only time I would visit Asia.

Earlier last year (2010) I went to Tokyo for a holiday were I was able to visit a lot of interesting places as well as meet a lot of new people. Japan for me has always been somewhere that I found interesting and before I went to China I wanted to live and work in Japan. Before I got the opportunity to go to China I applied to teach in Japan via the Jet Programme but I was unsuccessful.

Late last year I decided to apply to teach in Japan once again. I felt now would be as good a time as any to go to Japan. At the time I didn't have any commitments here in London so nothing was really holding me back from exploring Japan to the fullest! Unlike China I plan to stay in Japan for at least 1 year. Depending on how much I enjoy living and working in Japan that year could turn in to 2 years or maybe more. So the majority if not all the posts you will see on the blog will be about my time in Japan. Unfortunately I do not know when my next trip to China will be.

If you have anything you would like to ask me or something you would like me to discuss on the blog please feel free to leave me a comment on any post or you contact me at this address:

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last updated: 12.03.11

Contact Information

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. If you would like to contact me in regards to something on my blog or something about Japan please use the email address below: