I think I may be up and running here, but not on my own computer, so here goes.I'm waiting for a local 'expert' to have a look at my computer as I've been having trouble with the Internet here in my flat. This one belongs to my flat-mate,Jade, and is not jinxed by the Fletcher techno curse.
I've been in Suzhou about a week now and it seems a good place to live and light years away from Wenshan. I'm sharing a flat (with someone whose mother is 40) next door to the Shamrock bar, up the road from Pulp Fiction bar and close to about 20 KFC's and a few McDonalds.There's no shortage of places to eat and drink, which I frequent with the others, 18 of us here, and clubs which I don't, or haven't yet. Though they're not an ageist crowd and are an amazing group of people, it took some getting used to that I'm 30 years older than most, and more.
We are teaching, with observation starting next week, in 2 Middle schools here in Suzhou, and have visited both. I'm teaching 19 sessions a week, all the same age group. 19 sessions all the same.....On the bright side, that's one lesson plan per week but it could drive me mental. Our mentors are lovely and one helped us buy bikes. I'm now the proud owner of a bright orange no gear bike complete with granny shopping basket, so I've been off out on it today and have a very sore backside.
Suzhou is famous for its canals and gardens and I'll try to get some pictures on soon.(Have done now.Wey hey.) We visited The Master of the Nets garden on the first day and I went to Tiger Hill today. It was very extensive with lots of shady places, very green with Osmanthus trees, willows and a large range of potted bonsais.There were numerous little paths to follow, running water and little waterfalls so you could sit and watch the world go by in relative tranquility, admiring the Chinglish and the flowery phraseology of the signs. No large tour groups with megaphones to be seen but still the 60 kuai entrance fee wasout of all proportion with my future wages.
Money may go quicker here but I'll work it out after a month or so. At the moment we're going out for meals fairly regularly but our schools supply lunch when we're working so we should be fine. The Education Bureau here is looking after us well. After our meeting on Friday, we had our lunch .... in TGI Friday's.We have eaten Chinese mostly though and I'm trying to speak at least some of the language every day. Back to the frustrations of being understood by some and not at all by others, saying exactly the same thing. I aim to get lessons again and there seems to be scope here for that, and for giving extra English lessons too.
The flat is great and, although I'm sharing, that's been fine so far. I have an amazingly huge bed in a very decent sized room. There's a small kitchen, a shower room with western loo, a dining area and a lounge area that is really rather nice. Most of the 18 of us here are happy with our accommodation, though those on school campus have a 10pm curfew, which, as you can imagine, hasn't gone down well. Maybe a little quiet bribery could open doors miraculously in a week or two. Ironically, I have no curfew as this place is not on school premises, and I'm least bothered about going out til late.
It's been a good couple of weeks after the initial shock of being the only one long out of Uni. In Shanghai they cut my Teaching Practice short. If I don't know it now I never will, so I had time to look around. The city was fine for a short while but I could never live there. In the evening the crowd got me to KTV, asI said, but I managed to avoid the drink-all-u- can -for-100 kual entrance joints.
So, tomorrow's a free day. If my posterior can cope, I'll continue the local exploration. I gibbed out of the house party advertised on facebook, thrown by some people in the ex-pat community. (Interests clubbing etc) and am pleased to have borrowed Jade's computer to get my blog going here at last.