I live on Dragon Tiger Mountain Road in an apartment on the the 7th floor of the building. This is also the top floor of my building. There is no elevator. Let’s just say that forgetting anything, be it cell phone, umbrella, or water bottle, is a lot more upsetting when there are seven flights of stairs involved.
This very morning I forgot my wonderful water bottle, and I sadly traipsed to the bus stop knowing how thirsty I would be by the end of the day. You see, China makes you sweat, and its really easy to get dehydrated because you sweat it all out through your pits. Anyway, I but I left my water bottle behind seeing as I was on a tight schedule.
Finally, after a week of bumming around, eating a ton of street food (magical, delicious, easy, and affordable street food), and catching up on all my Chinese television, I actually had something very important to do today.
I visited my school for the first time. I am teaching at a middle school with another American teacher, and today we met the principal, talked contracts (I felt so grown up), discussed salary and holiday pay. It was all very professional and held in a giant conference room with chilled bottles of water sitting on the table as we sat in black leather chairs that made me feel like a Wall Street Baller. That is until I was told all I had to do as a teacher at this educational institution. Then I felt small and unprepared.
Currently, I find myself terrified of the first day of school. Also, the several weeks and months that follow that I will be teaching. What was I thinking? Though everyone else seems quite confident that I know what I am doing, I know for sure that I indeed don’t. (Don’t worry, pre-work jitters. I am sure once I get started things will go fine. I hope.)
Anyway, after our discussion, they showed me a dorm that they expected me to live in. What? I already have an apartment. They seemed quite disappointed with me when I told them I already had a place to live. I didn’t know I was supposed to live on campus. I still feel terrible about it.
But speaking of my apartment, below are a few pictures of my current place of residence. These are small and quite specific snap shots of things that are perfectly Chinese that I just had to share them.
1. My door, a triumphant and happy greeting once I have made it to the top. It brings me joy each time. It is covered in Chinese New Year decorations that our landlord never took down.
2. My closet door. See now, my roommate has a delightful color scheme of blue and green with an ocean wave splashing through the middle. This is what I get. A pig. If you can’t read it says “Class Pig”. I have no idea what that means. Notice it is pink. Other things in my life that are pink (flowers optional): my refrigerator, my coffee table, my hand-me-down cell phone, the kleenex box, kitchen table, and my trash can. Whew. Its a lot to deal with.
3. My bed. Oh my bed. I have complained to every American I can spot. This my friend is no bed. It is a flat, hard surface on which I sleep each night, but no, this is not a bed. It is a piece of wood covered in fabric. Somehow the mattress part of the mattress has been left out. I’m getting used to it, though I have woken up with bruises a few times from my elbows digging into the “bed” while I sleep. Surprisingly, I am not sore or stiff in the morning, but I don’t have the joy of collapsing into my bed at the end of a long day without the fear of giving myself a concussion.
4. But this is the view of the ocean a few blocks away from my apartment. This makes it all a little bit better.
Thanks for reading,