Super Typhoon Mangkhut has officially stepped into Zhongshan and I am -losing it.-
Pretty excited, pretty apprehensive, mostly just ~really curious to experience this type of storm. It’s about as strong as hurricane Florence buuuut I think it lost power after tearing up the Philippines? But also I’ve heard a lot of conflicting information so I don’t know. Storms are unpredictable, just like my hair in humidity.
So China has been actually pretty cool? The humidity is melting me and so I looked up humidity in comparison to the Netherlands (where I lived for a year and a half) and this humidity here is 93% while there it is 100% and I honestly don’t know how I survived it. I step outside and it’s a baptism of my own sweat every day. Air conditioners are China’s greatest invention. (Actually idk who invented it but China seems like a safe bet.)
So many things to update so let’s BEGIN.
When The Saints Go Marching In
Going to church on Sunday’s is an all day experience. They pick us up at 6am, we go to other schools in the Zhongshan area to pick them up, and then we trek over to Shenzhen where the branch meets at 10am. (Idk if you can math, but that is 4 hours one way on a bus.)
It costs about 10-15 bucks depending on how many come and split the bus cost. When they drop out last minute and make the price go up, it gives me very unchristlike feelings. Which is unfortunate for a sabbath. Especially when 8 of those sabbath hours are spent ON A BUS.
The first week, it was pouring and the streets were flooding and watching them try to drive when the roads are flooding is hilarious. I have pictures but they don’t do it justice.
The church building is just a house that was repurposed as a church and I thought someone very dedicated lived there and was and I was impressed. Turns out I have been fooled.
It’s a foreign branch, so most the members are American. However, it’s not because of what you think! A FALSE myth that people believe is that Chinese people do not have freedom of religion. But they do! There are several Chinese branches with Chinese leadership that operate in mainland China. However, they are not allowed to practice with foreigners. I’m not super sure why, but they are pretty strict about it. We’re not allowed to discuss religion, but we can tell Chinese people that we go to church and that’s about it.
So the Chinese are really into teacher’s day which is -sweet- because they took us out to the crazy restaurant with all the Chinese teachers and served us goose.
Like, all the parts of the goose. The feet, the meat, and the BLOOD.
It was this squishy gray stuff and I should not have asked what it was because I was not prepared to hear it. I died a little inside as I watched the other teachers try it.
Then one of our cooks is named Mikey and he was out with us and the girls are girls so they were talking to the girl (Chinese) teachers trying to set him up with someone and so adaline went to ask him how old he is, because, well, that’s important for set ups, right? And seriously everybody got SO weird about it and thought she was interested in him. Even with a language barrier, we could feel the maturity of that room become so high school. So don’t ask Chinese men their age if you’re not interested ok?
It was actually hilarious though so no regrets. Though I’m sure adaline might have some…
(Mikey is on the…(second guesses my knowledge of right and left)… right?? He’s the younger one)
We took this pretty sweet bus there and back and on the way back we were just bonding with the Chinese teachers by belting Lady Gaga songs and if that ain’t the right way to celebrate teacher’s day, I’m content doin it the wrong way.
The British Are Coming
Actually they already came but I like the headline so I’m using it. Nina told us that we were going to have to share our office with three more English teachers who will be teaching at the school sometimes. Two of them are from the UK and at first I was miffed because hello? They talk funny and say things like “rubbish”? Also I was miffed because hello? Aren’t the seven of us good enough for you?
But then I met the UK teachers and they’re really sweet and so I have no qualms. However, I was caught off guard the first time I talked to her and all she said was “cheers” when I told her I’d leave the door open for her. Tally ho, lassie.
“I Have People That I Know In China” -DJ Trump
Alice and Jonna, two of the Chinese teachers who live below us, took us to the mall in the next city over and took us to these amazing restaurants where they had Chinese pizza (like it’s not worthy to be called pizza but it’s still good) and spicy green beans. I love that everything is spicy here. I’m livin for it. But I am NOT livin for them only serving boiling hot water in tiny fetchin cups. I’m also not living for the body getting used to different foods while you’re options for toilets are mostly squatters.
She also said she’d take us to this donut shop and showed us pictures of how good they looked and taught us how to say donut in Chinese and then…. we couldn’t find the donuts 😦 so the next night, they brought us a box of donut magnets and a sweet note and I could have cried it was so sweet. Also I thought they were real donuts and I almost shoved one in my face until they said we can’t eat them.
Show me someone who doesn’t think that’s the sweetest thing and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t have a heart. Or a donut magnet.
On our way to the bus stop, there was a man who tapped my shoulder and wanted to sell me a bird. He had quite the selection but I’m honestly concerned at how he got these animals and why he was walking through the streets with a cart selling them to Americans.
“Hm, this person is clearly a tourist and doesn’t speak my language, she must need a bird to complete her China experience”
And now its time for the best segment of Heckfest in China: engrish
And we found LOT at the bookstores and stores. Enjoy:
a STUDENT was wearing the shirt that said “trashy”
Some other interesting things:
We take a cooking class with our boi Jim (the cook) and we made Chinese cookies this week! They were pretty dang good.
Nina has been teaching us Chinese classes and today we learned how to count. We took a DiDi to the store today (Chinese version of Uber) and thought we’d impress the driver by counting out what we owed him in Chinese. We got to three before he got impatient and just said “okokokokok”
And lastly we have successfully completely two(ish) weeks of teaching! My favorite quote about the kids so far
Someone: how is arts and crafts with the juniors? How does that’s work?
Rachel: well, Elwin started eating the beads…
I promise to update more frequently: the next post following up with 1. if we are still alive and 2. an exclusive interview with Elwin on the taste of beads.