I've had my first week teaching now, 19 lessons a week of grade 8 students, all about 14/15 years of age and all Ok so far. We've had Teachers' Day when we had a big meal with one of our schools and our first 'performance'. Just poem recitation and a bit of Chinese, which went down well, getting a big cheer. It's amazing to see Chinese schools in action, the kids doing their eye exercises to music at certain times of the day, the sleep time after lunch when each and every student sleeps at his/ her desk for 30 minutes at the end of lunch..... Try that in an English school. The bowing to the teacher would go down well too.
We've been treated well at the schools and the teachers in the English department are friendly, offering to take us round Suzhou and finding out things for us. Our mentor in one of our schools is giving me Chinese lessons and I'm also to get lessons from a'professional Chinese teacher' who speaks little English. My mentor in one of our 2 schools has decided to speak to me only in Chinese - which makes for somewhat limited conversations at present.
We had a 'photoshoot' lasting a good hour and a half yesterday for some course materials or text book, where we had to look 'natural' posing with students looking at text books and computers ad nauseam. The price of fame.
Money is going faster here though i still haven't been tempted to go clubbing with my 20 somethings. My flat-mate regularly comes back in the early hours and manages to cycle to work the next day. I'm content to eat out with them when they go out, go away for weekends and today we all went to Suzhou amusement park which was great, with a really good roller coaster and other decent rides.
In October I plan to go to Xi'an to see the Terracotta warriors, solo, and have booked accommodation in a hostel there. Just the train ticket to book but that will have to be a mad scramble as you can't do it until 5 days before and for a national holiday they'll go quickly. We travelled to Nanjing bytrain and it was so easy after the buses of Yunnan. In fact i was very lazy and it was all arranged by others. After the stuggles getting understood in Wenshan and KUnming it's luxury.
I've even been able to keep up my swimming and must have toned bum muscles from the cycling. Maybe toned, maybe just plain painful.
I expect when i try to save this it may diasappear nd refuse to accept my photos but here goes ....