Adventures, Temples and Rooftops


Week 2 completed!

I’m so glad it’s the weekend finally. The job is going fairly well. I’ve started teaching some of the older classes which can be challenging, but I am starting to feel more relaxed in the younger classes and feel as though I’m getting to know some of the kids characters- and names! My first class of older kids was terrible- they were deliberately testing me and being naughty, and I found it very hard to organise activities and get them all to cooperate and engage in the lesson. However these are hopefully things I can improve on if I work on my classroom management.

Last weekend I spent some time alone walking around Yuyao. I managed to walk to the city centre (Siming Square), along the river and towards Longshan park and also had a wander around some of the slums. I find it so interesting seeing how people live in the slums- and how they live with very little but seem to be completely content. Chinese people are very family oriented and so there seems to be great strength in sticking together and looking after each other. This is one of the biggest things I think I will learn in China- the support of other people around you can make almost any situation better. There is strength in togetherness, family, friends and also in the comfort of strangers.

Last night I cooked dinner with Pat and then met Masha, Beka and Ian (my boss)’s girlfriend Fan Mei (her name literally translates to "small rice"- so sweet) and went to a cinema room which you can hire out in a hotel. It was nice to hang out with a group of girls and makes me feel better about Pat leaving at the end of the month (whom I feel I have most in common with). Panos (from Greece) left yesterday and is heading for England because his girlfriend is studying in London. So the school is getting quite thin on the ground for teachers! I think within the next month we will be having 2 or 3 new teachers arrive so I will no longer be the new teacher- pressure's on!

Anyway, I’ll write more later probably. I’m off to enjoy the sunny (if very smoggy) weather.

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I spent the day with Pat, starting with a trip to the Buddhist vegetarian restaurant. We then walked around the corner to a Buddhist temple which unfortunately I couldn’t take any photographs of because I was aware of being disruptive or disrespectful. What a beautiful, peaceful place to spend time. We listened to their chanting for a while and Pat told me a bit about Buddhism that he had read about. It’s definitely something I’m interested in reading about more. Although I don’t see myself as religious, it made me feel very peaceful and reflective. I think it will be my refuge when life here gets a bit stressful and I need somewhere to go to think for a while. The temple also looks onto tea farms which we had a quick walk around before heading back home.

While we were looking from the balcony in Pat’s apartment, I asked about getting onto rooftops of buildings and he told me about a particular block of flats where you could access the roof and have a good view. We went there this evening and just sat for a while enjoying the view- although we both admitted we had sweaty palms from the adrenaline of dangling our feet over the edge of the wall. The same feeling you have when you are driving down a motorway and want to open the car door- part of you is curious what it would feel like to jump or fall off the edge...

The weather was very warm today- it’s hard to believe it’s December.


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