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.

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