Saturday, August 1, 2009

China 5

Today was a travel day. Barb and I slept in for the first time, and it felt nice. We went down to breakfast as they were putting it all away, so I grabbed a hard-boiled egg and some watermelon. I sat by Charles to see if he knew anything about our assignments, but he didn’t. After breakfast we went for a walk and then back to our room to pack up. Today we came to the city where our assignments were. While we were packing up Charles and Gloria came up to tell us the plans had changed, but not to what they originally told us.

My program has been postponed. I am going to my school on Thursday of next week. I think I will start on Friday, and then teach the second and third week. Until I leave, I am staying in Barb’s hotel, and I can go to class with her if I would like. After the second week, when Barb’s teaching assignment is finished, she will come to my hotel and my class with me. The second week we will be apart (but I’ve already met Brittany and she is very nice). I hear it is about an hour away(It totally wasn't... but they don't savvy time here...) but who knows what kind of travel it is… bus, taxi, or bike…

I am happy with this. Really, I’ll just do what they tell me, I’m already having a fabulous time.
I miss Vincent (and everyone else :)) so much, which is why I wanted to come home after the second week. But now I’m teaching, and I can make it.

It took 3 hours to get to our hotel. We are staying in the Mei Yuan Hotel in Huaian. It is small, but cozy. And, I have the internet! In my room, for free.

Still Sunday…
In this “small” town of only about 5 million (about the size of Missouri) Barb and I are celebrities! We took a walk as soon as we got here (as we always do) and people stared at us. Not only did they stare, they pointed, they honked,they stopped us to say hi, and they turned their kids around to look at us. Autographs, anyone?! Some of my paler friends would be major celebrities here!

But to be fair, we do look really different. I have brown hair, and blue eyes, and Barb has white hair. And of course there’s our skin. I was told that many of them have never seen a white person before. But they are really friendly. I wonder what it would be like if Americans treated foreigners so kindly…?

Added later: I just found out that my town would beve to be 714 times larger to be the same size as this place...

We found a bakery (finally! Something bad for us!). We have to meet at 6 for dinner. Fong fong (a Chinese English teacher whose American name is Kaytin) told us that in this town we could get foot massages, back massages, and head massages. There is a zoo, and there’s a gym with a swimming pool in it. The lake is here too! The third largest in China, actually. Barb is dying to go to the cinema and see a Chinese movie.
Kaytin and I

Also, this is the first town where the sky has a bluish tint. Fong Fong told us she went to Australia, and the sky was blue! Wow. You can even see a yellowish blob in the sky that is the sun.

The kids here start kindergarten at age 2. They’re required to go until they’re 6.
We’ve seen some interesting/funny signs here in China:
  • Important Water- Drive Prudently
  • Driving while drowsy is prohibited

And more I can’t think of right now.
There isn’t ice in China. They don’t give you ice for anything, and if you can get it it’s a huge hassle (for Barb’s arm). But none of the soda or anything has come with ice so far. You can’t find cold drinks easily. In the stores they’re all warm.

Barb is getting good at writing in Chinese. She has gotten 2 things by writing down the signs so far… that’s pretty good! She also isn’t embarrassed to “hold herself” when we need to find a bathroom and no one speaks English.

I still have to live out of suitcases until Thursday… ugh.

I just got home from dinner, where I was treated like an actual queen. You would not believe how happy these guys are here to have us here. They served us a ton of fish, and “cuisine,” lobster, shrimp, tofu, rice, oysters, steak (because we’re American), and pumpkin is popluar here. Some weird stuff, porridge, eel, things I had no idea what they were. There are always at least 3 or four soups and meats. We tend to get full way before they do. They just kept bringing more, and more, and more. We had about 4 very important Chinese men with us, and one of their sons, who will be a sophomore in the fall (English name: Blake). Then, we only got wine, and unsweetened tea to drink. It’s rude to turn down food or drink here… so I drank about 3 glasses of wine. Oh yeah, they “cheered” about 10 times, no joke. Every time I turned around we were “cheer-sing” about something. (I figured out why later...)

I felt very special though, even though the meal wasn’t supposed to be for me. They had that young guy sit by me. I didn't take pictures because I thought it would be rude to whip out my camera during dinner...

Everyone told me I was beautiful. Apparently (I’m told from someone who knows a lot about Chinese, but is actually English), that’s their way of saying they like you. I suppose so, because the older men were doing it too. Only they had to have a translator say it, and all I could say was “thank you.”

But Barb swooped right in and said, “She’s my daughter-in-law, my son’s wife, the daughter of my grandson.” Talk about embarrassing. I’m really young to be married here, or have a child. Plus, they were just complimenting me out of respect. O well though. Then a guy stood up to Cheers again and said, “to family (or actually fah-mil-e).” Aah…

I don’t think they understand “in-laws” here. They look at us confused each time and say “mama?” pointing to us. So finally we just nod. Not these guys though, they’re very proper. Very high up in the party.

I was very uncomfortable, but felt…honored.

Post note: I found out that at dinner, you aren’t supposed to drink your wine unless someone proposes a toast. This must be why we had 10 or more toasts.

1 comment:

  1. Ha! So they were all toasting so you didn't make an idiot of yourself! That was nice of them. :) Etiquette is crazy, isn't it?



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...