Ni hao, wo jao Scott. At this point, we have all been in China for at least a month and I don’t know about anyone else, but I have loved my time so far. It has been more difficult to get used to than I had even imagined, but certain aspects have been easier than predicted as well.
Initially, we flew into Beijing and paid roughly five times what we should have for a cab ride to the hostel. We then spent five days in Shijiazhuang which included being spoiled in a hotel, three days of classes delving into basic Mandarin, a one night stay with a host family where only the son spoke some English and free bottle service at a dope club- a big thank you to Drake alum DJ Dani! The homestay was incredibly nerve-racking but my boy October and I had a good night and I loved the traditional Chinese cuisine. Personally, I think my favorite event in that city was a banquet held to recognize the teachers coming to China. This allowed us to dress up, eat incredible food and meet some very important people, including the gentleman that created the program that we are so fortunate to participate in.
After arriving in Chongqing, we took trips to a few local shops, an Ikea and a Walmart to help our places feel a bit more like home but none of these items achieved that goal quite like the inflatable penguin that we found. Qì’é caps off the items necessary to bring The Igloo II to China- shout out to The Lot. One nice thing about China is that everything is much cheaper, with an average meal for Shmitty, Rulo, Hala and I costing roughly 8 U.S. dollars. Not speaking the language has obviously been a massive barrier but we have mastered the art of pointing at items on the menu and hoping that they turn out decently. So far I am two weeks into teaching but I already love it and contrary to popular belief (cough*Nayasha*cough) my students adore me. The varying abilities makes it extremely difficult but I feel myself improving with each class- which is nice because I teach 16 classes a week.
The first week of October is a National holiday here so the boys and I will be heading to Kunming to visit former Drake SigEp and great buddy Tim Stuart, which should be an adventure and a half. Don’t worry Carn, we’ll FaceTime ya in. Oh, and I don’t know how I forgot to mention this but the three of us guys are now a part of the Chongqing Conquerors…which is the city’s rugby team. Details to come on that front.
I have to say, I am unbelievably excited for the months to come and I promise that for any of you that are interested, I will have the exact address to send love (or beef jerky) shortly. Plus, when most of you read this, the gang will be celebrating my 23rd at a Korean BBQ joint that has all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink for roughly $7.
Stay fresh America.