Hello, everyone! This is my first big update since I have been in China. So, so much has happened but I will try to keep this sweet and to the point. So, where do I begin?
Once I arrived in my home city of Xiangyang, they greeted me with open arms. I went into my apartment, was given my class schedule, and I began my immersion into Chinese culture. Everything has been incredible thus far and I have been making some incredible relationships that are true blessings for me here.
I have attached some pictures above because I think it is easier for me to tell my stories and experiences through these pictures.
My first week here, some friends and I went for a hike at a nearby school in Xiangyang. There’s some wonderful sights and views from around our city. These were taken on a moderately clear day. Yes, the pollution can be very high here. Just the other day, we were the most polluted city in all of China (an AQI rating of 420.. the highest is 500). In short, we are very thankful for beautiful days like these. I also have a picture I took from a city bus on a day that was fairly polluted. It was in the 300’s the day I took this picture and you can barely see the buildings in the distance. That is not fog, it is pollution. There’s also some pictures from the main bridge in my city viewing both sides from the river. Lots of lights and things happening in a city of two million!
These next pictures are various pictures of some of my students. They have been a wonderful experience. They are a delight in the classroom and they have become a delightful part of my life here in China. The first picture is a selfie with my first ever class in China. They are nursing majors and they rely on me to teach them useful oral english to use in their field of study. It’s a class of 46 and they are my biggest class. The next is a picture of one of my smaller classes. I often times play music during class as a reward or to listen to while do class work. One of their favorites is my friend Thomas Rhett’s new album so they wanted to take a picture with him (even though it is just on my iPad). There is another picture of my classes where my students are playing a game, similar to speed dating, where they are to speak to one another in English and learn 2 interesting facts about everyone in the class. It is always a lot of fun! The last picture is one of my students who brought me an egg one morning for class because she was afraid I was not eating the local Chinese cuisine. I had to tell her that I really enjoyed the food and reassure her I was eating. Come on, though. How sweet was that? Just one experience of a student who has been such a blessing for me.
The next picture is of my usual lunch spot. It is conveniently located right outside my apartment. The other foreigners and I refer to it as Hell’s Kitchen. For good reason, too. I will try to post a video later. But these are the kind people who know me and my usual order at this point. They always greet me with a smile and ask if I am having the same 回锅肉土豆 (twice cooked pork and potato [pictured below]), or if I would like to change it up. They don’t speak english, but they are very good at introducing me to various types of dishes and encouraging me to improve my Chinese. FYI, the food is delicious and spicy.
There has been so many things happen. So many stories, so many wonderful memories I have already made, and several of those we will have to save for another time. I can’t wait to share them with you!
Peace to you, my friends