Well today is my seventh day in China and it seems like St. Louis was a lifetime ago. (Especially since I’m getting scattered reports of another round of racial unrest. SMH)
The school is really nice. The campus seems pretty big, almost like a college campus. I’ve only seen this end, because the International Exchange Program Department building is just across the tennis courts from my apartment building. My understanding is that it’s a private college prep school. Our department is for the students who don’t want to go to college here in China, and want to study abroad.
The Canteen is catty corner from my building and serves breakfast lunch and dinner every weekday. Both students and teachers eat there. Downstairs is similar to a food court in a mall. Hamburgers, fries, noodle bowls, and drinks can be purchased by buying a ticket from the cashier, which you then exchange for your food. Upstairs has more traditional fare and operates like a standard school cafeteria. You go through the line with your tray and select the items you want. At the end, the tray is weighed and you pay the cashier. Most days my food was been 5 or 6 yuan, which is basically US$1.
My classroom has a SmartBoard, (which I still have to learn to use!) and two whiteboards. On Friday they installed another board on the back wall for me to pin things to, though I had already taped a map of the US on the wall…..
The students seem to be pretty typical high school students. Some are quiet, some are loud, the usual mixture. I’m already getting to know a few of their names and personalities even after only four days in the classroom. And one girl ambushed me in the Canteen on Friday and wanted to take a selfie!
My apartment would probably fit right in to south STL. The building has a total of sixteen apartments, eight on each side – two staircases with two apartments on each of the four floors. There’s crown molding in each room and the ceilings seem high. I don’t have a fire escape, but there’s a sun porch in front (because you enter from the back!) overlooking the street. It has windows you can close when it’s cold. Most people use it for drying their laundry.
Things I like:
Toilet paper – it pops up like Kleenex and is a similar size. Very handy.
Dragon fruit – I had this on the plane from Beijing and it’s delicious.
My sheets – they are super soft and comfy.
Things I learned:
My students showed me a new way of counting with your fingers.
Things I don’t like:
My bed – it is SO hard! I bought a new mattress yesterday and it will be delivered next week.