I cannot believe that David and I have been living in China for over a month! It certainly does not feel like it has been that long. I guess it’s true what they say…time flies when you are having fun. Hangzhou feels like home. We love our new apartment, school, city, and friends.
The first week was really a blur. We landed in China and got to our new house at midnight. The principal and other staff from our school drove us to our home and showed us how to turn on our AC (everything is written in Chinese) and gave us our keys and then said good night. The rest of the week was nice because they took all of the new staff around town and showed us where the grocery stores were and places where we could buy things for our home to make it personalized. We didn’t have to cook since they took us out to lunch and dinner almost every day which was nice because going to the grocery store and buying kitchen stuff was just way too overwhelming at the time.
Here are a few things that shocked us those first two weeks:
- The grocery stores have live food including, but not limited to, frogs, turtles, and fish.
- Squatty Potties. Are. A. Real. Thing. They are everywhere you go that is not a Westernized place or restaurant.
- Always carry tissues in your purse because you are not guaranteed toilet paper when you are out and about.
- People spit and pick their noses, like it’s their job.
- You can’t find everything you want in one grocery store.
- You can maybe read 5 things in an entire store.
- You have to carry a lot of cash.
- People LOVE babies and children.
- Everyone is pregnant. At least that is what it seems like.
- They potty train children by letting them go to the bathroom wherever they would like to outside. The children wear what look to be like crotch-less pants. Don’t worry I am bringing some home.
- People can not drive. This is not a stereotype people. There aren’t any laws on the roads it seems like.
- People park their cars wherever they want to. In whatever direction they feel like.
- Everyone can drink. No ID necessary.
- We own the only open floor plan kitchen in China. SCORE!
- Things are so inexpensive.
- There are markets and grocery stores on every corner. Some just park their produce carts on the sidewalk and call it a day.
- Cell phone plans are dirt-cheap. We paid $30 total for David and I to have minutes and data…I still haven’t used it all up.
- Trash Alley is a place where street food is in abundance and you can buy anything you could ever think of for under $10. (Think random English words on T-Shirts and food venders all over the place).
- People think highly of teachers. I feel like a rock star.
- I feel like I am the only blonde person in China.
- People stare.
- You get free stuff because you are a white foreigner. All the time.
- Not that many people speak English. We are taking Mandarin lessons, so don’t worry.
- And the list goes on, but this is all I can recall at the moment J
These past few weeks we have been in school mode. We are in our third week of school and I have nothing but awesome things to say about my school and students. I never thought I could work in a place even better than my last job, but it has happened. I am glad too because I would have kicked myself for leaving a school full of students, staff, and friends that were so loving and amazing.
I feel supported by my administration and have a great preschool teaching team. Working with David is so special because we get to see each other throughout the day, have lunch together, and professionally collaborate with each other. We work with the lovely Ms. Shannon!! Together we have created and maintained a creative and fun preschool program 🙂
The parents of my students are involved in their student’s education and are beyond friendly. I have had several offers from moms offering to show me around Hangzhou!
This weekend is the Mid-Autumn Festival so we have a three-day weekend. We are going to the Yellow Mountain. Look it up. It is badass. I will write a post about our trip when we get back!
Oh and I will post pictures of our home, neighborhood, and school soon! I haven’t had any free time to get my good camera out…