Haven't posted in while…

…because we haven’t been doing all that much. We’ve settled in and really started to hit up a routine. Get up, get dressed, go teach, go out to get lunch, get back, teach more, dinner trip into town, get back and watch tv we’ve downloaded. The other problem is there really isn’t much to see that is historical in Lixian. We’ve tried getting students to tell us what is exciting about their town, but they don’t have pride in their town. Granted, we haven’t found much to see here, and we’ve tried driving outside of the town to find things, but nothing has stood out yet, with one exception I’ll talk about later. Next weekend we’re looking at the trip to ChengeDe so we’ll take pictures then.

So the exciting stuff…well Thursdays the police asked to see us. Just a formality, they needed copies of our passports, but they also treated us to lunch. We have come to learn that when treated to lunch, this is the time to eat like pigs. The Chinese want to know that you like the food, and they did a good job in picking out things you like. Everyone tends to have a favorite dish that was really ordered just for them, so everything tends to get eaten. We learned of this one dish that was pork that has been coated in something sticky and then rolled around in bits of potato. It was sooooo good. There was also much toasting going on, and they know how to prey on the fact that I feel guilty for drinking coke when they are having wine. Yes they were having something called “White Wine”. Of course, this is if wine were something used to strip paint off the walls. I did better this time, able to handle two shots this time before giving in. I’m considering getting a variety of alcohols from the store to try and find one that doesn’t cause my body to try and induce vomiting in order to get the posion out of my stomach.

Friday classes ended early so students could go home. So rather than having three classes to teach I ended up only teaching one. If anyone reading this is thinking, “Boy, I’d like to do this. You suddenly get free time and days off, which no loss in pay!”, there is a warning here. First you need to set money aside for that sudden vacation. Second, you need various plans for what to do based on the length of the vacation. And Third, you also need to plan for having freetime taken away. You may find yourself having to work the weekend, or be asked to fill in for another teacher. So have emergency lessons ready to go as well.

So Friday we spent cleaning the apartment, so that way on Saturday Jack could drop by. Jack is one of our students. His home is far enough away that he can’t go there on the weekends off. So he stays at school. Saturday he came over and attempted to teach us some Chinese, and helped us order food at a resturant. He also tried to help Amanda with shopping, but none of these worked out as well as we’d hoped. Part of the problem with learning the language is nobody to practice it with. Yeah I know that sounds silly but when you learn a few phrases and they don’t come up in conversation then it falls to the wayside.

Jack also doesn’t know how to cook, so while he could identify things, Amanda steeled herself to the fact that she needs to go online to learn how to cook in China. She’s already found a few sites. They list what you can find at the local stores, and has the ingredients in both english and chinese. So Amanda can make a list and take it to the shop. The big thing is stuff doesn’t stay fresh as long, lack of preservitives. So when folks fix meals at home, its usually something simple, or a grand meal. This is due to the fact that if you want to eat at home, you need to go to the store for that day’s food. Getting stuff to just sit in the fridge doesn’t work, it will go bad. Plus the fridges here just aren’t as big. You can’t hold as much. So we’ve learned another reason why folks eat out so much here. You’re going out to get the food anyway. The corner noodle shop is closer, doesn’t cost that much more, and you don’t have to bring anything back. The main reason to cook is to impress guests.

Sunday we drove around town as it was a lovely day and we found the local Catholic Church. At least we think it is, can’t read the Chinese language, but the design looked Catholic, and it certain was a Christian church. That said, it was the only thing of interest we saw. Once out of town it was meters and meters of farm land. Sometimes I think my students are telling me the truth that there isn’t anything exciting about where we live. Amanda took a few pictures of the church, here they are:

Tuesday we learned that the rest of the day time classes for the week were cancelled. The students are doing some kind of class sports activity. Of course, with 4000 students, most of them are standing around waiting for their turn, or looking for something do when done. One would think someone would schedule up the games so some classes could still be held and keep the students occupided, but schedules and organizing things is not in the nature of the Chinese. So we suddenly have a five day weekend, although Amanda still has her two night classes on Thursday. Oh, and no loss in pay either. Some of the other teachers get time off too, others have to oversee the events, and others have to stand around and keep an eye on the students. All in all I think we’re getting the better end of the stick, but I also feel we’d just get in the way. If there was a problem, we don’t really know what to do, what our limits are in punishing a student, or how much force we can use, or supposed to use. Plus we’d just have to find someone and try to tell them what was going on. So yeah, out of the way.

So that is that. No plans for our sudden time off, we didn’t set aside any money for a surprise vacation, but will now next paycheck.