I did not fall off the face of the earth! I dug a hole to China!
I’m sorry that I haven’t posted anything in months. (And sorry to those of you that have already heard these stories, but I need to start from the beginning for others). This summer I became rather “disconnected” from the virtual world while staying with my father in Texas. Dad still doesn’t have cable internet, WiFi or even a laptop that would allow me to open my G-mail. So, this summer was back basics. We did some flying, and lots of walks down to feed Henry, the donkey, carrots and apples.
All of my summer adventures had to come to an end only so I could begin the next chapter. China.
After an incredible 21 hours of flying and layover time I arrived in Pudong (Shanghai) to be whisked off by non-English speaking driver to Shuzou where I met some teachers from our sister campus and then moved the next day to Nantong – my new home.
So, China is nothing, if not the most fascinating and strangest place on earth. Really, these people are so friendly and so gross at the same time, I don’t know what to think. Every restaurant I go into, I need a menu with pictures. Many of the waiters/waitresses try VERY hard to speak English – bless their hearts, because I’m not trying to learn Chinese at all! haha
One day I was walking past a small “mall” that has a market in it. It’s like a co-op, but a little nicer – or so I thought. This girl (she had to be 6 or 7 years old) comes running out of the mall to the main sidewalk entrance, lifts up her dress and pulls down her pants, and proceeds to take a giant poo right on the sidewalk as patrons pass right by her. I was horrified and was pointing and grimacing at who could possibly let their little child do such a thing, but no one seemed to care. YUCK! The poo was gone the next day, however, I clench my jaw every time I go into this mall market.
A few days I was getting a satellite dish installed my apartment so I could have American television shows. The GM of our school campus arranged for the realtor that rented my apartment to come along with the dish company. I have no idea why she had him come because he didn’t speak anymore English than I spoke Chinese.
Anyway, the dish guy is all done and he is talking to the realtor obviously trying to figure out how to tell me something. They went back and forth for a little bit and when all hope seemed lost, the dish guy turned to me and said “Fuck-a-you. Fuck-a-you.” I was like “what the…?” but decided that he meant to say “thank you” and used it improperly and said “aaah.” Then he looked at the realtor and started laughing. Then he held up three fingers and said, while giggling, “Fuck-a-you.” Now, I am getting freaked out. I am not about to “get it on” with two Chinese men (or any two men for that matter).
I’m sure he realized how scared I looked and finally got his phone out to use the translator. “There are three adult channels for me to watch.” I started laughing and shaking my head and so did they. “Fuck-a-you.” he said. I said “nooooooo”
I am famous with the Nantong Tourist Commerce (or what ever it’s called), as my school (me, the other teacher- who is from Singapore, and my Australian principal), went on an international group excursion. The Chinese press followed me EVERYWHERE taking my photo. My principal thought it was hilarious and kept putting me in situations that would call for a photo opp. I was interviewed by multiple news agencies and did my best to promote the school, but they were more interested in the American that came to Nantong. I will be in the papers here. Crazy, huh?
Julie (right), a tourist from the United States, blows a whistle installed on a kite under the instruction of Guo Chengyi, a craftsman, in Nantong, Jiangsu province, on Sunday. This type of kite can carry more than 100 whistles and can produce different sounds with the change of wind speed as it flies in the sky. Photo by Xu Congjun / for China Daily
That’s my crazy principal in the back, laughing at me…
I love my new apartment – three (small) bedrooms, a big kitchen (no oven), and it’s brand new.
The furniture is pretty bad, I know. The decorator assured me that things would be “neutral” in color. As you can see, my sofa looks like a chocolate rainbow threw up. The mattress are very hard, but actually quite comfortable. The strange thing is, I cannot find sheets to find any of the mattresses. I settled on sleeping in the second bedroom since the mattress is a little smaller and the sheets are as likely to move around so much. Yes, my kitchen is green, but, the refrigerator is brick red. 🙂 I have decent views from the front and back of the apartment (I gave you the night versions).
I am not far from my school and my two students are wonderful – along with an awesome principal. Actually, he’s a bit of a dork. He seems so out of his element starting up a school and often comes running to Mary and myself asking what we think he should do. It’s awesome.