Monday, September 25, 2006

Lazy Post day...

Snippets of an email I wrote to someone :)

There's an instant camraderie that comes from
being foriegners, so that there's always a wealth of friends around,
(as long as you dont mind the occasional asshole who doesnt know how
to act in a different country) and some of the most fun people i've
met are my chinese friends, who's fluency level is so high they
understand my sarcasm. So at least I'm not lonely. Ok, not terribly
lonely. I'm still a far cry away from being able to sit down and have
a nice chat with someone about anything of substance that would allow
them to get to know the "real" me. But then, as you've seen, the real
me is a little scary. haha.

Other good things, I'm losing weight. Without trying. And my goal of
drinking water everyday is now a reality that I dont even think about,
because otherwise with the heat and amount of walking I do, I have to
drink. So the total so far is about 7 lbs. 3 months, 7lbs. Woo hoo! So
I think now I'm going to actually try and lose weight and see what

I'm also doing really good with my goal of learning chinese. It's not
as hard as I initially imagined and I've got plenty of places to learn
from. I study books when I'm bored at home... I listen to lessons on
my ipod when I'm taking a long bus trip.. and then of course there are
my chinese friends.

I used to feel bad about asking them "how do you say this in chinese"
but they do the same thing to me in english sometimes, so I guess it
all works out. We havent even started the "free" chinese lessons that
the school offered us yet. They keep saying, well we're waiting for
the semester to settle so that we know everyone's schedule and we can
organize them. I hear they're pretty useless anyways. By now I might
even start in the intermediate class... but I'm not sure.

So losing weight, and speaking another language and being hot shit
when I return to America so I can tell all those boys that didnt want
me to go f--- themselves... I'm right on track! haha!!

But there's much more that I'm doing and learning here. It's really
good. It's really the best thing I've done in my life. I still haven't
figured out what I'm going to do with my life. However I do know it's
not teach kindergarden kids! No matter what language they speak! OMG.
Teaching is the hard price I pay for loving living in China I think.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A good day in China...

is not characterized by a tremendous amount of amazing things occuring, but rather, just the simple pleasures in life being realized. For example, today I was sitting in my nice clean apartment alone, save for my beautiful (if not a little sickly) cat, writing lessons plans and listening to my newly purchased Ben Fold Live with the Western Austraila Symphony Orchestra DVD. I had a very productive morning washing and hanging my clothes, taking a nice hot long shower, and lesson plans when I started getting hungry. So I phoned up the local dumpling shop, spoke the "signal" words to them, and a mere 15 minutes later was enjoying a hot bowl of pork dumpling soup. Yum yum! Then I take a stroll over to the TPR HQ and check my email and write this blog before I head out to Gong Bei and teach my adult class for 2 hours. Tonight I may go have a potluck dinner with some of the foriegners, or go out with some chinese girlfriends to listen to live music or maybe a nice dinner with this guy who wants to "learn english" :)

Last night I enjoyed mexican night and South Park with Daniel and Julie (I love cooking, they didn't mind cleaning) then went to have a few drinks with my chinese friends and james at an outdoor BBQ where we talked about all sorts of funny girly things.

The weather lately has been beautiful as well. The hottest days of summer are gone and autumn is creeping in. I hear winter gets a little frigid, but it can't be anything too horrible because it doesn't snow.

AND on an exiciting musical note, I found the most beautiful Yamaha silver saxophone here. Out of my price range, but I'm glad to know there's quality here when I get ready. Until then, I'm still going to purchase a cheap sax, because there's a few people that I've met that want to get a band started. Two chinese guys, a New Zealander and myself. Piano, sax, drums, guitar. It will be interesting. Also exciting, they sell vandoren reeds here :) when I found them I was terribly excited. I think I really confused the music shop people.

So it's the little things, like being able to afford a maid once a week (10rmb), ordering delivery (3rmb) listening to my favorite music (5rmb) having a beautiful cat, living alone, but not without plenty of new friends... that's what makes life in China good to me.

And in unrelated to me news... two new teachers from Austraila had a hard time adjusting and are heading out this weekend after classes and thus, Kevin got re-hired at TPR.

Soon the October holiday is coming where I have an entire week off. I'm going to travel to the hometown of my one of my TA's and live in a smaller town for a week. Should be interesting. More details and pictures to come!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Starting a band?!?

I'm pulling things together here so that hopefully I can play some music. There's Lenny, a teacher here at TPR from New Zealand who plays guitar (mostly lead stuff I think), Martin (formely known as Kelvin) a chinese staff member at TPR on the keys and singing, and then myself maybe as back up vocals/rhythm guitar and definetly sax player. We're going to get together in the next two weeks to jam and see how it goes. There's also a drummer, Michael a chinese staff member at TPR who plays drums. It's just so neat because one person has a friend with a studio, Lenny used to produce and mix music and such back home... so if it works out that we play well together, we can really play!

I went today and listened to Martin play piano and sing. It was amazing! And of course he was very humble about it. I can't wait to get together and see what all of us can come up with.

I'll be sure to keep everyone updated on my formation of a band :)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My Beautiful Friend Macro

This is her blog, sadly it's in chinese, but the pictures aren't!!! Be sure to check out this album! Those are her professional studio photos... so beautiful!!

New post coming...

I've been working on typing one post for the past two days.. there are so many little non signifigant things, that when put together sounds really big. So soon, my loyal readers will be an update of epic proportions, but until then, this little tidbit will have to tide you over.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I survived the first weekend.

So yeah, wow. This weekend the new term started. After too little sleep Friday night, because after sitting at the resturant near Jusco with some new foriegn friends from another school, I went out to Sands with Joe, Kiki, Mandy and lots of other chinese friends. I had a really low key evening with only 2 glasses of beer and lots of listening to the conversations around me. Yes, even the Chinese ones. I'm really excited now that I can understand a few things. I'm really focusing on learning the language as quickly as possible. It's not as hard as I originally imagined. But anyways... teaching... ugh...

So Saturday morning was a little rough... even tho the classes were simply giving the children english names and passing out their books for class, I wasn't doing to well. The assistant they assigned me was brand new, and that didn't help matters either. But after many (many) hugs from Sue during the day, I was able to survive.

It's a nice group of us working out in the branch that is far away from the school's HQ. About a 20 minute bus ride, so it's not too terrible. The crew is me, James, Daniel, and Sue. The TAs are nice and I even helped one of them get a job. Good ol' Champion :) He's an amazing guy. He's 20 years old, goes to university about 1 hour from the city, works on the weekend at the Sands bar until about 2am and then will start working for TPR in the afternoons. I'm sure he has no free time. And he LOVES to study english. It really shows, because he's always asking questions and sometimes I think his grammar is better than most of us "natives"

Anyways, so that night, I was supposed to have a nice quite night in, cleaning and loving on my poor neglected Marmao, but alas, the sway of popularity washed over me again and I found myself consoling Joe about Kiki. It was nice tho, I really really love the beach here at night. And from were I was sitting, you could see the lights of Hong Kong and a beautiful moon. So Joe and I just sat on the sand talking and then after he left I didn't feel like going home so I sat with John, Macro and DJ Johnny for a bit. It dawned on me that I hadn't eaten and it was nearly 3 in the morning, so John and Macro and I hit 888 street for some delicious BBQ. I went home entirely too late, but had a really enjoyable evening just talking and getting to know people better.

Sunday at school, despite lack of sleep, was actually really really really good. The children didn't cry, my TA Milly had her stuff together a little bit more, and the new set of CY classes were a high enough level that I could talk to this in a mostly normal way of speaking. Best part about Sunday was we got a car ride back to Wan Zai Sha because Daniel had to teach adults in Jida so we crammed into the TPR car and to destress from the day started telling jokes. It was particularly funny if you knew Sue, she's that kinda person that is so sweet and gentle and kind and smiling, but yet there's much more beneath the surface. And we're laughing and having a great time when the dead baby jokes show up :) Good times. (if you don't know, google it)

Well that about sums up my weekend. More interesting things to come later :)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

An Update

So not only is the weather fabulous now that it's "fall" but it's also wet. Not sure if there's a big storm, or what's going on, since I can't read the news and all, but oh well. At least I'm not melting into a big puddle of sweat every time I walk out my door.

I'm still in the process of updating the picture albums so that they make more sense. And of course once I get my camera fixed I'll finally be able to take picutres of all those things I've been waiting to take pictures of. If you have any requests of things you'd like to see, please leave me some comments.

Otherwise, things are well. We find out our new schedule Thursday. But I also found out if you ask nicely, the front staff of each branch already knows a few days before. So I'm teaching in Xin xiang zhou, kindys in the morning. and i'll find out my afternoon schedule soon as well.

anyways, time for class. this is my next to last adult class. friday we'll be going out to dinner.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

New Pictures

I'm adding a few new albums... and also changing around some of the others. It's getting really confusing :) So from now on whenever I add a picture to an exsisting album I'll post a blog so you can go check it out. For instance, I'm putting all the pictures of the MarMao in one place.

So newly added are:
A Day at the Beach - We played volleyball, it was really great. Most everyone just took turns playing and occasionaly we'd get an actual volley going. Then Daniel got the bright idea to rent a jetski. Terribly overpriced, but still great fun. I think somwhere towards the end tho, it ran out of gas because we had to sputter back 1mph or less. hehe. Anyways...

More to come!

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Some Websites of Interest

TPR English School
Where I work.

Sands Bar
Where I like to hang out and soon will be playing my sax. Once I can afford one.
Be sure to check out the pictures of the place. It's beautiful and offers damn near everything.

Monday, September 4, 2006

The State of Affairs

Well Michelle left yesterday. The house and china feel very different without her presence. She was nothing but kind to me and it was amazing to have met someone like her here halfway across the world. Daniel cried when she left. It was sweet.

So now life has to go on. I'm now one of the "old teacher" here at TPR and soon we'll be getting in new recruits. It will be interesting. I've already compiled a list of "Michele's Helpful Hints" for the new person. Sadly I won't be able to contribute quite the same way Michele helped me, but I can at least pass on the few things I know.

Let's see, what else is new... Oh! I just got back from a job interview. A random guy on the bus one day starts speaking english to me. Turns out he's a recruiter for the Guangdong Institute of Science and Technology. We swapped numbers and he sent me some information about the position of Foriegn English teachers. It sounds pretty nice. Furnished apt on campus, 16 hours/week, more if I want, more pay, etc etc. So after taking an EXTREMELY long and expensive taxi ride I get to the campus and meet with Ben. He takes me up for an interview, but before we even get up to the buildings he says, "You do have a B.A. right?" shit.

So now I'm faced with a slight dilemna. I found out that you can buy a degree online basically that will be good enough "supposedly" for China to take it. They don't really care where it's from because they just have to go thru the beuacracy of you having a degree. All they want is a native american speaker. So for $50 USD I can get a degree. Hmmmm....

Dunno. But I also have some other unexpected expenses that cropped up. Like, my sick cat. I think it's got worms. But it's very hard to explain this to the vet that speaks no english. Oh, and I broke my glasses. It just keeps getting better.

Anyways, I know this blog isn't exactly fulfilling but I'm off to the doctor's.