Tea Solves Everything

Trip Start Jun 03, 2013
1
7
47
Trip End Aug 25, 2013


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Flag of China  ,
Sunday, July 14, 2013

I have no contact with the outside world--beyond China, but I have made some friends and have some people I can rely on if needed. That is a great comfort. Things are so different, but I am taking the differences in stride, one at a time. Right now, I have been in contact with my student, MoMo. She has left Beijing today to go to another city, but will be back in early August, so we will get together then. She also says her sister wants to learn English from me.

I am so glad Ada lent me her phone. I'm not sure if I would be able to survive without it. I have other people's numbers in case I need anything. Tania, my roommate, has been so helpful. She is leaving tonight for a camp for a month, then she will return. She tried to give me the number of an older American that seems to know everything about everything here. But his number is not working. Hopefully, I will run into him. She told him about me and gave me his number to call. I didn't have my number earlier to give to her though, so she couldn't have given him my number. Gloria, the girl who met me at the airport terminal, called and texted to check on me. She is so busy with the summer camps, but she is so nice and wants to make sure I'm ok.

I feel pretty relaxed right now, sipping my first cup of hot tea since I arrived. That is quite an accomplishment. In order for that to happen, I had to go (by that I mean find) the little store that is nearby and buy a cup, carefully rinse it off with scalding water (I forgot to buy dishsoap), then use one of the teabags I took from my hotel in Hong Kong. Best cup of tea EVER! The cup is nice and BIG, stainless steel, with a lid for steeping. It's probably for soup or something, but it's the perfect teacup for me.

At the store I also bought a towel (didn't know I'd need to provide my own), some toilet paper (that stuff is like gold here), some periwinkle blue shower shoes that are so comfortable (for wearing in the room & shower), a couple water bottles (Aquafina), and a bottle of cold green tea, which I thirstily drank down on my walk back to the school.

Water, too, is like gold. It either has to come from a sealed, brand name bottle, or you have to get it from the 100 C tap and let it cool down. It's so hot, you have to drink a lot to not get dehydrated. Yet you don't want to pee, 'cause you don't want to use up your toilet paper. Lesson learned today: never again take for granted clean water and toilet paper!

I started teaching today. I was surprised when I was told upon arrival that I would start teaching on my first day. Originally, I was told I would teach Monday through Friday. I only have one student who is preparing for the TOEFL test. It's really like tutoring and pretty easy. They gave me two TOEFL prep books to use, and I was able to work from that quite a bit. The student is very nice, and he seems happy with how things went today. The only bad thing is that it is a 3-hour class every day for the next 10 days. Three hours is a LONG class for one student. But we seemed to manage it pretty well. He's very eager, and I will enjoy teaching him.

That's all for now...

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