3 Days of Week 3

[PHOTO: A page from my sketch book that I did while playing around with watercolour back in Dulwich]

Yes, this is week 3 of working at the school… how has that happened? Ok so Week 1 only consisted of 2 days, and Week 3 ended on Wednesday (yesterday), but still, this year is going to fly by. I left the UK 22 days ago, which also means, it’s been 22 days since I had a cup of tea… That is NOT OKAY. Once I’ve typed this up though I am going to head to the nearest coffee shop and see what I can do to change the lack of tea in my life.

This week was only 3 days long because it is Mid-Autumn Moon Festival here in China, the festival that celebrates and remembers a woman who was sent to the moon by her lover and she lived out the rest of her life there with a rabbit. No joke. It is celebrated by eating “moon-cakes”, which are not as fun as they sound. But, I’m in China, so I must respect and accept their culture and festivals, plus, anything that changes a 5 day week to a 3 day week is ok by me!

Last night I was introduced to a new kindergarten teacher, Danielle. She’s having to crash in Kim’s spare room at the moment because her apartment contract fell through due to the fact her landlord refused to provide her with working AC, which, let me tell you, is no luxury here, it’s a daily necessity. The rough average temperature has been about 33/35’C, and obviously, being in a sub-tropical climate, it’s humid as hell. I think I’m Continue reading

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Yay for small victories!

[PHOTO: The coolest pencil sharpeners I’ve ever seen, property of class 512]

So yesterday morning, while listening to Slaves (a British Punk-ish band) on my iPod waiting for the bus in the rain, I was trying to think of what I could write in my next blog post. My plan was to simply focus on the small “wins” I’ve had throughout the week, the small wins definitely make up for the other crap we have to deal with in China. So…My list of small victories this week:

  1. I now have WiFi in my apartment!
  2. I bought an actual bowl, not a plastic tub
  3. I had my first warm shower (after being told for a third time how to use it)
  4. I hadn’t been late for work once
  5. I was prepared for all my lessons
  6. I’ve finally remembered some of my kids names
  7. Yesterday it was finally an ok temperature so I was able to wear my hair down
  8. I had taken the correct bus all week
  9. I had used my dining hall food card for the first time

This changed slightly yesterday morning. While I was thinking up this list, and listening to some angry punks in my ears, I hopped on the bus and ended up, not at school, but at the Traffic Centre on the outside of the Country Garden Community (as I did on my very first day at CGS). I got cocky, I got confident, and China wanted me to snap out of that right away. So, I had to wait for a while longer, and shamelessly show the driver my phone which I had previously got a friend to send me the Chinese for: “Does this go to the school?” He nodded, I got on, and at 7.25am I arrived at school.

Yesterday I was determined to try and minimise the amount of work I had to do on the weekend by taking full advantage of my office time between 2.30pm & 5pm. I got all my lesson plans written up for the previous and current week, and I arranged a time to sit down with another Grade 5 International teacher to go through exactly what is expected of us and how to use the many many documents I had been given. Sadly, Meghan, the head of Grade 5 International teachers is having to go back to America for roughly a week due to a family emergency. So myself and the other 6 international teachers of Grade 5 are having to scramble together and try and work it out on the job. We’ve been left without a leader for Continue reading

On the up… 3rd Sept

[PHOTO: Primary Sector building of Country Garden School)

I’m writing this on Saturday afternoon, from the dining table of my new apartment. No I haven’t actually signed the rental agreement contract yet, I’m not too sure what’s going on there… No I don’t have internet installed, and yes I have got 4 new air-conditioning units just chilling in my spare bedroom (check me out with a whole extra room!) But it’s mine, mine for the next academic year. I moved in on Wednesday with nothing but clothes, a bed sheet and a towel to settle in with.

The past few days have been such a crazy whirlwind of information, emotions and just general chaos. 2.40pm on Tuesday 30th August I conducted a phone/video call interview with Jane from Guangdong Country Garden School – Primary sector. To say I was nervous was an understatement. That whole morning I’d been going over everything I may need to say or answer in my head, but nothing seemed to stick, and when David sat me down with the phone in front of me, and pressed the big green flashing Accept Call button, I was completely blank. I had no idea what was going to come out of my mouth or what I was going to be asked of me. I’d vaguely been asked to lie. Lie about my teaching experience and the age range I’ve dealt with. That I was NOT ok with… I said this to David before he answered the call, and he simply sighed, looked worried, and said; “Just go with your gut.”

So I did, and after a 10 minute chat, with a few technical issues along the way, I was asked to pass the phone over to David, and she said she looked Continue reading

5 weeks go by pretty quick…

[PHOTO: CAERARFON CASTEL ON MY BIRTHDAY]

So, I’m back in China. Not that it feels like I’m returning to anything I knew before. There is no Dulwich bus picking me up at 7.20am every morning. No AMC office for my desk to be in. No Times City with Candice only a few apartment blocks away. No Edward, no Leah, no Emily, no Shelby visits, no sharing an apartment with mum and watching a crap load of TV series…

No. What I’ve come to is not anything I knew before. There is no comfort of my past life and year here. Not yet anyway. The past couple of days (yes only couple, I landed Thursday evening and its only Saturday right now) have been a test of my strength and willingness already. I have had to constantly remind myself of what was embossed onto the card Sam so secretively snuck into my rucksack…

You got this

As corny as it sounds, and as much as it pains me to admit this, I’ve already been struggling, just with the amount that has been thrown at me already. I came here after my beautiful and jam packed Continue reading