All moved in!

jtlunar:

Wow, so its been over a month since i last updated you on my life here in China and SO much has happened since!

So, since my last post i have…

Been a brides maid in a Chinese wedding.

Had many nights of singing karaoke with my friends at our training site.

Learned how to play Mahjong (an extremely popular Chinese game).

Climbed up a famous mountain outside of Chengdu. Four hours up and two hours down.

Grew very close to the 20 people at my training site.

Watch my host family go to America for two weeks.

Ate pizza which did not compare to American pizza in the slightest.

Went ice skating with my host cousin.

Found out and visited my permanent site placement in Tongren, Guizhou, China. 

Met my counterpart; a Chinese English teacher who is a colleague, friend, and support system here for me for the next two years.

Depart my host families house in Chengdu to meet up with the rest of the volunteers for four days in a hotel of more training before our departure to site.

Found out my Chinese language level. Novice-Mid which is what i expected and am happy with but Peace Corps was hoping we get Novice high, one step up.

Swore in as an official Peace Corps China Volunteer

Said many hard goodbyes to close friend, some of whom i wont see for several months. That probably doesn’t sound that bad but when you are forced to see 20 people every single day and go through something so foreign to us all for two months you grow incredibly close.

Got sick the night before my departure to Tongren. I’m pretty sure it was food poisoning and was hooked up to an IV for the day to hydrate me from the continuous throwing up that happened the night before. 

Took the 12 hour train ride from Chengdu to Tongren.

Tongren, i am here for good now! ive moved everything into my new apartment, which is actually very very old. I feel like i am living in a log cabin on the inside. So to give you a tour of my new home, as you walk through the front door there is the kitchen table to the right, bathroom straight ahead which is basically i closet with a shower head, a hole in the ground for my toilet (squatter), a mirror and a hose that is used to fill the manual washing machine that sits right outside the bathroom door. I have a small kitchen with the only sink in the house. i have a little stove top, a rice cooker, and a water heater in there as well. Next is the living room with a couch that probably 100 years old so i am in the process of getting a couch cover so i can sit down. then there are two rooms, one i keep closed because it has a bunch of junk stored in there either from previous volunteers or the home owner. Room number two is my bedroom consisting of a bed, closet, mirror and a few shelves. I have one set of windows at the front of my apartment and they are always kept open.

I arrived here Sunday night and that is when i found out my teaching schedule. I would be teaching that Tuesday and have 6 classes a week. The college classes here in China consist of two 45 minute periods with a ten minutes break in between. I have three classes of sophomores and 3 classes of freshman with Mondays off. The freshman in China start about a month later than the rest of the college because they go to military training which pretty much just prepares mentally prepares them for life in college. They do wear camo though. So as of now i only have 3 classes to worry about. 

Tuesday i had class at 8am and i was extremely nervous! I prepared some introduction activities so that the class could get to know me and i could get to know them. After starting class and the students giving me strange looks i realized they could barely understand me. i laer learned through the activities that this class is at a very low level of English. One activity took basically the whole class and the other activity i had to ditch because there is no way they would be able to understand the directions. The class had almost 50 students so it was hard to keep them quite especially when other students were speaking. Wednesday was my second class, i think i was more nervous for this class but it went so much better. The students were wanting to participate and were at a high level so class moved faster. Tomorrow is my last class of the week and i will be going over the same introductions but depending on their level we will see how much we can do. I am still worried about lesson planning so i hope my confidence and knowledge of being a teacher will grow over time.

Today i did not teach so i slept in till about ten, made some oatmeal with bananas and met my city mate named Leah. We ventured up a small mountain with an amazing view at the top. I’m still so amazed whenever i see mountains, they are like some mystic made up landscape out of the movies, but now i am surrounded by them and i love it! After our hike we got some ice cream at a bakery and ran into two foreigners which is strange for the “small” city of Tongren. We then made our way over to a huge open market full of anything from car seats to shampoo to bikes and everything was extremely cheap. I bought two pillows a small rug and towel; and bargained for them all!  

So as of now i am adjusting to being a teacher, living on my own, feeling lonely, and finding my place here. My emotions have been up and down moving faster than a roller coaster these past few days. I am often questioning if i can do this, but in the back of my mind i know i can. Its not in me to give up and that’s what pushes me. But on the other hand i miss America so damn much! Its all the little things that make it so hard. 

I plan to make friends, integrate into the community, and pick up hobbies here that i will enjoy and that will distract me for now until i grow to love this place and what i do. Im staying hopeful and positive over here and it definitely helps when i hear from all of you that i love and miss so much Your support is still as strong on the other side of the world. 

That is it for now. I’m going to enjoy my first rainfall in Tongren while watching a movie. 

xoxo

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The best training group!! 

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"living room"

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"bathroom"

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Kitchen

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Kitchenimage

Bedroomimage

The symbol of Tongren. This stone is at the top of a mountain.image

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My counterpart April. image

My counterpart took me to her hometown in the province next to us called Hunan. image

Beautiful Ancient cityimage

Peace Corps volunteer 19 and 20 groups of Guizhou. Im on the far right.image

My training group at swear in. Some of the girls got traditional Chinese dresses made.image

My language class.

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Saying goodbye for now to my wonderful host mom.

china tongren reblogs Peace Corps Volunteers

kellycfitzgerald:

Writing my name!

culture hanzi china zhangye peacecorps reblogs

asiamericana:

During our pre-service training, I somehow got the idea that my teaching experience would involve eager female students who craved friendship and meaningful connections.

When I was placed at a small vocational school for construction and engineering, my little bubble popped. My students were almost exclusively male, and really they couldn’t give two flying farts about English. Hanging out with their strange, gawky foreign teacher wasn’t really high on their list of priorities.

The one exception to this was the English majors—a group of 25 bright and quirky students taught by my husband. They became my surrogate students last year. There would be days when I felt like a complete failure, unable to connect with my students. I would pour all my energy into my lessons, only to receive dull responses from boys who’d been up all night in internet bars playing League of Legends. It was Jeff’s English majors who came to my parties, who attended our English corner. It was these kids who made me feel like I wasn’t the problem.

In May, the class will graduate. Many are moving on to other cities—Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai, where they will translate or do HR work for construction companies. Many students have gotten positions in Africa, since Chinese companies are doing loads of construction work in places like Algeria and Tanzania.

Soon, their close group will scatter…but right now is a magical time when they are all filled with opportunity and dreams. Life is a gigantic possibility, and no limits have been set.

Last night we had a goodbye dinner for the class, since they will spend next semester interning at various locations away from campus. The students cooked up a storm, hammed it up for the camera and went crazy when I brought out my nail polish collection.

Youth is such a gorgeous, infectious thing. This beautiful group of girls have been an amazing part of my time in China, and I will always remember them.

china teaching tefl esl asia volunteer cooking peace corps

stineinwonderland:

If you know me in the slightest bit you know I love working with kids. I’ve been a nanny and a summer camp counselor for most of my life and absolutely love the feeling of getting to act like a child again and be ridiculously silly. For the past month, I’ve been working at an elementary school teaching 3rd and 4th graders English, and will be doing so throughout the rest of my service here in China.
The thing I’m loving the most about teaching these kids, besides getting to do the hokey pokey, sing songs, and do arts and crafts, is that they bring me a sense of familiarity. Here in China it’s hard to find many similarities between home (America) and my now, home away from home (Nan’Shan). But these little kids are the one thing that is similar and it’s refreshing. They love to ask questions, they love to help me with my Chinese, they love to dance and giggle and run around, they’re still so innocent and without a care in the world. Being around them brings me so much joy and I can’t wait to continue working with them, to play with them, and watch them grow.

stineinwonderland:

If you know me in the slightest bit you know I love working with kids. I’ve been a nanny and a summer camp counselor for most of my life and absolutely love the feeling of getting to act like a child again and be ridiculously silly. For the past month, I’ve been working at an elementary school teaching 3rd and 4th graders English, and will be doing so throughout the rest of my service here in China.

The thing I’m loving the most about teaching these kids, besides getting to do the hokey pokey, sing songs, and do arts and crafts, is that they bring me a sense of familiarity. Here in China it’s hard to find many similarities between home (America) and my now, home away from home (Nan’Shan). But these little kids are the one thing that is similar and it’s refreshing. They love to ask questions, they love to help me with my Chinese, they love to dance and giggle and run around, they’re still so innocent and without a care in the world. Being around them brings me so much joy and I can’t wait to continue working with them, to play with them, and watch them grow.

China Secondary Projects Peace Corps Volunteer reblogs English education Teaching English as a Foreign Language TEFL TESL youth school culture

asiamericana:

These kids are from my lowest-level English class. At the beginning of the year they were bored, disinterested and I thought they hated me.
Today they called me up and wanted to see me to give me a gift: a box of apples in honor of women’s day. They were all smiles, and so sweet. They’re not the same kids as they were in September, and I’m not the same person either.

asiamericana:

These kids are from my lowest-level English class. At the beginning of the year they were bored, disinterested and I thought they hated me.

Today they called me up and wanted to see me to give me a gift: a box of apples in honor of women’s day. They were all smiles, and so sweet. They’re not the same kids as they were in September, and I’m not the same person either.

China education TEFL TESOL reblogs apples International Women's Day awwww! Peace Corps Volunteers university

asiamericana:

This is Joanna, one of our favorite students.  She works insanely hard at the things she wants to accomplish.  She wants to be an English translator when she graduates, and she’s also a student assistant in our department.

Last night she came over and taught me how to cook some simple, traditional Sichuan dishes.  

Someone once mistakenly taught her that Americans say “howdy!” after they finish eating.  The first time she did this, we had to gently explain that this isn’t quite true.  But it’s blossomed into a running joke for us.  When we finished our meal, she sat back, rubbed her stomach and proclaimed  “Howdy!” 

It was the perfect sentiment!

asiamericana:

This is Joanna, one of our favorite students. She works insanely hard at the things she wants to accomplish. She wants to be an English translator when she graduates, and she’s also a student assistant in our department.

Last night she came over and taught me how to cook some simple, traditional Sichuan dishes.

Someone once mistakenly taught her that Americans say “howdy!” after they finish eating. The first time she did this, we had to gently explain that this isn’t quite true. But it’s blossomed into a running joke for us. When we finished our meal, she sat back, rubbed her stomach and proclaimed “Howdy!”

It was the perfect sentiment!

reblogs China Sichuan cooking language learning TEFL ESL education Asia

stineinwonderland:

In my Oral English speaking and listening class we spent about a month “traveling” to different places in America. We discussed the culture and lifestyles of New York, Florida, Washington D.C. and California. All of which are places my students hope to get the chance to visit one day. While we were discussing California, I decided it would be a good idea to discuss my version of “Environmental Get Down “aka how can we environmentally make the world a better place. I talked about California as a green state and we discussed 5-6 ways we could help the environment. This of course involved me tell my students they should “eat less meat” because cows “fart and burp” methane gases. This turned into to a big laugh, because most people in China think its unhealthy to not eat meat, and because I was in front of a group of 30 students explaining the English words “fart” and “burp” furthering my students ideas that I’m “extremely weird but they love me.” By the end of the lesson I had my students choose one topic that they thought was most interesting and had them create Be Green Comics. The next class they shared the stories they created, all of which turned out fantastic and really interesting. They all loved it so much that next semester I’m going to be doing an “Adventure club” secondary product. This will involve me and some students hiking around different areas of Chongqing and discussing different ways we can help the environment, and maybe even planting some flowers and trees along the way. Check the pictures for the final results 😍

stineinwonderland:

In my Oral English speaking and listening class we spent about a month “traveling” to different places in America. We discussed the culture and lifestyles of New York, Florida, Washington D.C. and California. All of which are places my students hope to get the chance to visit one day. While we were discussing California, I decided it would be a good idea to discuss my version of “Environmental Get Down “aka how can we environmentally make the world a better place. I talked about California as a green state and we discussed 5-6 ways we could help the environment. This of course involved me tell my students they should “eat less meat” because cows “fart and burp” methane gases. This turned into to a big laugh, because most people in China think its unhealthy to not eat meat, and because I was in front of a group of 30 students explaining the English words “fart” and “burp” furthering my students ideas that I’m “extremely weird but they love me.” By the end of the lesson I had my students choose one topic that they thought was most interesting and had them create Be Green Comics. The next class they shared the stories they created, all of which turned out fantastic and really interesting. They all loved it so much that next semester I’m going to be doing an “Adventure club” secondary product. This will involve me and some students hiking around different areas of Chongqing and discussing different ways we can help the environment, and maybe even planting some flowers and trees along the way. Check the pictures for the final results 😍

reblogs Peace Corps Volunteer China education TEFL English environment

erinmalay:

Today I accompanied two volunteers, who actively work with Green Camel Bell, a local environmental protection NGO. Lanzhou is not only one of the most polluted cities in China, it ranked bottom in the World Health Organization’s study as one of the most air polluted cities in the world. The idea of environmentalism is still relatively knew in China, as many people only focus on building industry and turn a blind eye to the destruction being done to our earth. 

We went to the outskirt of Lanzhou to a “rubbish place,” or rather, a dump. Here, trash is not being properly disposed of, simply being poured into a gigantic hole. As more and more trash has been dumped here, the increase in methane became so rapid to the point that trash has been repeatedly self-igniting. These volunteers previously worked with this area, bringing journalists out and having a story published, causing the local government to act. However, the local government’s solution was only temporary, pour water onto the fires.

Moving forward to continue efforts to resolve this problem, today’s focus was on taking air quality measurements, counting the number of recent self-ignited fires, and using some good ol’ photography to hopefully put together yet another story.

Though it seems few people in China seem to truly care about these devastating effects, as one volunteer said, “I care, and he cares, and you care, and that’s something.”  

(via erinmalay-deactivated20130112)

China NGO Peace Corps Volunteer air quality environment environmental awareness environmental protection health pollution polution recycling trash Lanzhou