Well, it has been a crazy two weeks (wow, only 2?) since I have arrived in Beijing, China and I have spent a great deal of that time exploring China and getting myself ready to teach for the year! Since I arrived, I have explored many different shops and restaurants right around my own apartment (which is only a 15 minute walk from the school - yay!). I have already picked out my favorite place for dumplings, and the food here is delicious. I have been trying to stay away from the more Western style of food for a while, so I can truly experience Chinese cuisine and it has been well worth it! Food here is much less expensive as well, I had a meal the other night for 7 RMB (about $1.20 USD)
My roommate, Melissa, and I have spent a little time getting our apartment together as well. We have spent a lot of time unpacking and arranging things for the year, and we finally bought a DVD player the other night! It may not sound like a big deal, but its very nice to pop in a movie at night when we're exhausted from the day, and what's even better is you can buy DVD's here for 10 RMB! For those of you who know, I am somewhat of a movie fanatic, so that was exciting news for me :)
I even had my first experience at a market for bargaining this past weekend, and I was fairly proud of myself for getting myself a new watch and a new shirt, both for about 1/3 of the price that the seller originally said. It's a bit of a rush honestly, so it was fun! Next on my list of things to get at the market are Crocs (which I honestly told myself I would never wear), but we need inside shoes for the classroom and that seems the best choice according to other teachers. Oh well, another excuse to go to the market ...
My list of things to do includes visiting places like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. I visited the Summer Palace with a few friends and it was amazing. We spent around 6 hours there one Saturday and managed to see everything, but the place was huge! I went with Larissa and Linda, 2 MSU interns who will be student teaching with me for the year, and it was so incredible. The grounds were beautiful, and even though it was SO HOT outside, we walked around and saw everything and I took a ton of pictures (which I will post later).
I almost forgot to mention the reason I am living in Beijing in the first place - my school. This year I will be the Assistant Kindergarten Teacher at 3e International School in Beijing, and I could not be more excited! Today was the first full day for students, and it was a busy day but I enjoyed it so much! There are 2 kindergarten classes, so we have 1 class in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. For the other halfs of the day, the children spend their time in the Chinese-speaking classroom and learn their lessons there. The children are from all over the world - I have children from France, Japan, the USA, Hong Kong, and Sweden just to name a few. These 5 year olds are definitely going to try my patience over the year, but I think its going to be great learning and growing with them, and they have already managed to make me laugh a hundred times today!
I am looking forward to my life in Beijing so much this year. At times, I definitely get hit with some homesickness and miss all of you loved ones in the States, but I think this year is going to be incredible. I am looking forward to keeping in contact with everyone, and I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures! Now that I have figured out how to get online, I will update more and keep the pictures and stories coming. Until next time, I am sending my love from Beijing :)