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.
The best training group!!
The symbol of Tongren. This stone is at the top of a mountain.
My counterpart April.
My counterpart took me to her hometown in the province next to us called Hunan.
Beautiful Ancient city
Peace Corps volunteer 19 and 20 groups of Guizhou. Im on the far right.
My training group at swear in. Some of the girls got traditional Chinese dresses made.
My language class.
Saying goodbye for now to my wonderful host mom.