I know it has been some time since I have written, but things here have been crazy busy. Good, but crazy. :) The longer I am here, the better it is, and I am really falling in love with this country and her people. Just so many things, and really it is hard to explain and put into words really why I feel that way. Sometimes, it is just a feeling, or a little experience like a smile, and sometimes, it is a huge thing, like a trip into Shenta to buy groceries and listening to a man play an ancient chinese instrument down some alley way.
The job is definitely improving. We are all working very hard here to make this a better school and bring its potential to life. We finally got a budget approved for things like books that we so desperately needed, so I got to go into Shanghai for the day last week with my boss and buy 25000 rmb worth of books. Loosley converted, that is about 4000 dollars. I still need to go in and buy games and DVDs, and set some aside for CD players and art resources possibly, but that is good.
Lets see... since last I wrote, I was deathly ill for about a week or so, we had an ESL specialist come in and do "PD" with us (?), Report cards and parent teacher interviews soon followed and then Last week, inspectors from BC and the recruiter for our school was out here. Also, we had a University information session with visiting recruiters from different universities. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the Zhinyin hotel at 8:30 on Sunday morning to have breakfast, and who should be standing in the lobby but my boss from VIU, Theresa!!!!!!!! TOO small this world... :) It was great to see her, and felt so surreal at the same time.I am sure that she had a great time talking to my current boss Mark. Hmmmm. I wonder what was said.
Have not really been into Shanghai... Have had a bunch of mini trips (was in THREE times last week), but only quick visits. This weekend we are heading to Ningbo and Putoshan. More later...
Currently we are desperately trying to book something for Christmas break. We waited too long apparently, and now we are paying the price (literally)... sneaks up fast. I am not going to do that for Japan. We are already looking at booking for Chinese Newyear, and taking a Ferry from Shanghai to Osaka... Also, aparently my BIG SISTER AND BIG BROTHER are visiting from Canada in the spring. :) (Fingers crossed) Would be amazing to see them.
I really need to write more often, because I forget things that happen... there is so much. I will upload some more pictures and hopefully that will jog my memory.I went to the Shaolin monks, (Kurin wrote about that) and we are taking Chinese every week so I can kindof converse in Chinese, but I am a far cry from being conversational. Kung fu is going well. I am performing with Jing pong (my Shifu/Laoshi/Teacher) at the christmas party on the 17th. Tai Chi is relaxing and peaceful and I am doing that back to back with Yoga, with Ma Yong (my Tai chi teacher). So far I have lost about 20 pounds, and I intend to keep working it off. I eat a lot of food, and exercise, so it is not that I am not eating. NO WORRIES! :)
Lets see, I miss all my friends and family, I miss my bird Ivy (how is she doing Steph!?) :) and I miss the clean beautiful environment of Home. That aside, I could totally see myself settling down here for awhile, and honestly, if I could find an unspoiled unpolluted area, I would even consider becoming a permanent resident. That is the only thing, honestly, that I cant stand about China. THE ENVIRONMENT IS DYING. Sad really, and I know that the government is doing some "greening" but it is too little and in my opinion, perhaps too late. Everything from the soil to the water to the fish to the people here carry a toxic load. I am unsure as to how many years it would take to cleanse the country. Problem is it has "developed" too fast, and with no checks and balances. The westerners dont help either. They drive the demand train.Oh yeah, and the F*&^ smoking!!!! EVERYONE SMOKES!!!! It is crazy. It is like the entire country is commiting slow suicide.
Ok, so some of the coolest things I have experienced or seen so far are as follows, and in no particular order, other than the ones that come to mind first...
The old markets that still exist down the alley ways... Two thousand year old buildings and canals.... Bicycles carrying twenty feet of cardboard or plastic tied to the back of the bike driving down the highway... scooters carrying an entire family, none of which wear helmets.... squat troft toilets, need I say more (China tip for those with no clue: carry toilet paper and hand sanitiser with you EVERYWHERE, and I do mean everywhere. Even when you are lucky enough to find a non-squat toilet, there is no paper or soap; strange in a country obsessed with germs and illness)... Babies with split bottom pants and no diaper or underwear for quick easy access, no toilet training necessary. Kind of cool actually... People wearing pjs walking down the street in Shanghai, they are my soul mates... when old people here smile, it is the most beautiful thing in the world, even if they are missing half of their teeth, when they smile it touches every part and their whole face lights up... learning Chinese, and then going to the market and realising that I actually can communicate even if it is rudimentary and they are probably laughing at me ;)... Watching Kurin interact, make friends and really jump in to the experience... The guy that makes my lamien (hand pulled noodles) he is amazing... the other guy that makes my Doushaomien (hand cut noodles) he is also amazing... The haircut places that massage your head and neck, wash your hair, cut and style it, all for about 3 dollars... The massage places that are open all hours, and give amazing massages for 90 min for 50-100 rmb which is about 9-15 dollars... Our hand painted shoes, and my new 80 rmb boots... That is a long list, but honestly just a pinch of what I think is cool about China.
Wo ai zhōngguó... I love China