Today was a good day. We did a lot of hanging out at the apartment but we also went and got Duncan’s Chinese phone working and we went shopping again, by ourselves this time, at the underground supermarket for some household goods. Our place isn’t looking too shabby now that we’ve added a rug and hung a tapestry.
Going out by ourselves meant riding the bikes we got from the school on the streets. Keep in mind, the past three years I have lived in Asheville I have said every year that I’m going to ride my bike instead of driving my car but then have failed, for three years, to ever ride my bike because I was too afraid of the cars on the road. And now I find myself in China, riding an old, finicky bike along with cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds, and other bikes where traffic laws are more suggestions than hard fast rules. Considering all that, I’m quite proud that I’m still alive and, even better, had no problems with my bike ride around the city today. Maybe when I get back to the States, I’ll be ready to face US traffic.
We got coffee and ice cream again at QLH and had a really nice time relaxing with fast, free Wi-Fi. It really is amazing to realize how frequently we use Wi-Fi when it’s not readily available (our apartment requires an Ethernet cord).
We ended up going out to dinner with some other Meiguoren lao shi (American teachers) and talked about the trials and triumphs of teaching in Baoding and other parts of China. Clearly, we are in for an adventure. I do, however, want to take the time to make a point of thanking the previous teachers and all other experienced teachers who have shared their experiential wisdom with us. We are much more knowledgeable and aware of what to expect and how to deal with the year ahead of us and I am very grateful.
The food we had tonight was the best food we’ve eaten since we got to China and it was also the first time we’ve been served tea (though I’d describe it as hot water with sticks and leaves in it). For some reason, tea hasn’t been served anywhere prior to tonight and milk seems to be the drink of choice for Chinese people. I would not have expected either.
To continue the thought of things in China that I did not expect, shoulder-less tops seem to be quite a hit here and women everywhere of all ages and in Shanghai, Beijing, and Baoding all seem to be wearing shirts with holes on top of the shoulders. I believe that was a minor trend when I was in middle school but then again, whenever I hear American pop music being played here, it was also popular in the States around the time I was in middle school.
I have also been surprised by the popularity of Spongebob here. His face seems to be on everything! Though I do enjoy Spongebob, mainly for the sentimental value of a childhood TV show, I can’t say that I want Spongebob-themed everything. His popularity has made me wish a few times I still had my Spongebob backpack from last year.
Finally, I find myself frequently wishing Spanglinese (a language mixture of Spanish, English, and Chinese) was actually a thing because I feel like with my combined knowledge of the English language, school-time Spanish, and a couple months of Rosetta Stone Mandarin under my belt I could communicate with anyone! Unfortunately, Spanish isn’t a common language spoken in China and though I’ve learned how to say a few questions, I have learned from experience that I shouldn’t really ask them because I can never understand the answer! Even a question as simple as “what is your name” elicits a response that catches me off guard and leaves me staring and stumbling and hoping someone that can translate heard the answer.
Considering everything, I think we’re doing pretty well for just our second full day in Baoding.
And a final surprise – here’s our mailing address! Keep in mind, the school gives us our mail once some arrives, but please send us things. I would love to get mail in China!
Hebei Baoding Eastern Bilingual School
ATTN: Our Name(s)
166 Middle of the 2nd East Loop Road
Baoding City, Hebei Province, 071000, China
Thank you for reading and subscribing!
Have a good day! 🙂