I've just about made it through the training program here in Shanghai, realising I'm soooooo on the wrong course but it's going surprisingly well. I've been having lectures on how to teach and even had teacher training for beginning teachers. Fortunately my mentor let me off after a couple of lessons and so I've had plenty of time to stroll around here and practise my Chinese a bit. In fact, after the initial shock of being the only oldie around, things have been pretty good. With the British Council trip to see the Chinese acrobats, the trip to a local pretty but touristy town, plus the independent exploration, visits to the Bund to see that Shanghai skyline, a boat trip, the Yuyuan Gardens, the museum that I had to queue for nearly an hour to get in but which was worth it, it's been a full two weeks. We've also had a KTV night (Karaoke in a room just for your party -there were about 30 of us) I was up until 3am and was in the earliest taxi back,We've had meals out every evening and shopping trips on Nanjing Lu near People's Square. I've bought an umbrella and a bag - cheap. And I got my money's worth. Both now broken!
The age thing is not so much a worry any more. Robert said it all comes down to personality and so it has proved. Let the clubbers carry on clubbing and count me out most of the time, but there are plenty of other things going on and no lack of company. We're off on our separate ways tomorrow but there are 18 of us heading for Suzhou and 8 of those are on the same program as me. It'll be good to be settled, the accommodation situation is still iffy as it looks like I'll be sharing, not a room, but a flat or house, but that's the next hurdle. Our leader there is very nice and well organised, I think, and also speaks excellent English, so at least there's someone there who will understand. Roll on tomorrow, but first the presentation ceremony and the performance from the students we've been teaching - and ours for them. We were told yesterday that this was expected -we are in China - and were practising a song, in Chinese, yesterday! It'll be fine!!!
I braved my first hair cut already, a 10 kuai jobby and surprisingly good considering all I could muster in Chinese was 'lifa' (haircut) plus hand gestures. We also went for a foot massage with a bit of a back massage thrown in. Do some people really find it relaxing? At times it was excruciating but entertaining too as my masseuse tried her English and I tried my Chinese.