every day…it’s getting stranger

I have two small garbage cans outside my sunroom window. I say small because back home our garbage cans are huge. These garbage cans are for every estate surrounding me [about 4-6].

A few days ago I noticed my service-man emptying them. It was a process, unlike our garbage trucks.

He was very small and adorned a yellow jumpsuit and straw hat. He dumped each can into his wheel-barrow and proceeded sifting through the waste. Separating paper and bottles to regular garbage. It was pretty disgusting to watch. Here I thought working at McDonalds was bad. This was the worst. Fermenting food, bugs, China juice, etc. Who knows where he takes his wheel-barrow.

So I’ve made some friends. Unfortunately no one who wants to pay me to learn English.

“Apple,” I met her in the Longhua Park. It’s a gorgeous park filled with trails and pagodas, and a giant concrete skull? Longhua park is directly behind my school. Apple and I met one day a few weeks ago. She wants to learn English, she is self taught. I am guessing she is right above the poverty line. She works in a factory making shoes with her brother. Apparently she was paid for ten years but it ran out? So her brother supplies her with 10 yuan a day. That’s about 1.50 USD. 40 yuan a month? 5.50 USD a month? We’ve been meeting infrequently during the two hour rest period between 12-2PM here in China. I missed a few days and she said she brought me three oranges but had to eat them since I wasn’t there. I treated her to a bubble tea one day and she was more than pleased.

I have become a regular at my favorite eggplant [qie-zi] place. You get a giant wooden bowl filled with rice and yummy eggplant for about 1.20 USD. The first night I strode in, one of the workers came over and starting talking to me in English. His English was not too bad. He’s a migrant worker. He helps his friends run this small restaurant and upstairs is a hotel? They said a room is about 6 kuai. That comes to a .90 cents USD. Maybe something was lost in translation not sure. Anyway each time I go in they know exactly what I want. It’s especially nice after I’ve had rotten teenagers not wanting to learn English. The other day we had shared some beers. We were talking government matters I realized I can’t trust to talk about locals about such things. I was asking about a certain date in the ’80s just as I was about to say what had happened someone came over and it completely terrified me. I thought he knew for sure what I was talking about. Then, all of sudden my friend says oh he wants to be your friend he wants to learn English.

I was relieved and I realized I should never under any circumstances mention any of that stuff. At first I thought this other person wanted to pay me to learn but again I get the same…”I want to be your friend and learn English, I have no money.” Which is fine, I’m definitely not money hungry here. I reckon it comes with this territory.

I went out with my friends after Mandarin class on Friday. We went to a Uigher restaurant. Uighers are a group of people in Northwest China. They don’t look Chinese they speak a Pidgin language of Mandarin and Arabic? They look Arab. Essentially it was a Muslim restaurant. The food was delicious we missed bellydancing because our timing was too early. We ventured on over to the beer garden in the area then to 3D bar. Our program had pretty much taken over the bar. We stayed until we had to get back on the subway before it closed.

It’s been raining off and on for a few days. Maybe it’s Monsoon season. I know Taiwan’s getting a typhoon maybe we’re having the leftovers.

Last night I just about swam home. I stopped at a dumpling place near my school and had dumplings and chao fen [fried rice]. It was delicious. After dinner I was strolling down the walks singing to myself and enjoying the light rain.

Out of nowhere the sky opened its mouth and took a giant dump of water on Longhua. I have never been caught in such a heavy torrential downpour. I kept my leisurely pace, wading through rivers. I definitely stopped caring that my feet were ridden with China juices.

Thankfully I got home and it poured all night off and on.

I love it! I love the rain!

My students are whipper snappers. I taught them “pound it” and they’ve been doing it with me in the halls, makes me proud. They like my class which is nice. Some classes are worse than others. Today I had a terrible class. I made them read the same sentence for about 7 minutes straight, out loud. Finally I explained the importance of learning English. How they will have great lives when they know both Mandarin and English. Their ears finally opened when I explained that to them. Hopefully next class they will be more keen on English.

Today starts off our 3 day holiday for Mid-Autumn Festival. You sit outside with your family eating mooncakes and gazing at our beautiful moon. At least that’s what I like to think you do.

Next week we get from October 1-7th. I’m going to Yangshuo and Guilin. I’ve heard about these cities lots. The scenery looks gorgeous, the mountain ranges and lakes. This will be my first “backpacking” trip. I’m bringing nothing but my backpack and purse. No laptop. I will have a phone. I’m getting a one way ticket there. I will have to buy my one way ticket back once I arrive. I am also staying in hostels. So excited.


About heidaway

Living-Breathing-China Dragon
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3 Responses to every day…it’s getting stranger

  1. Roy R says:

    Great post! Wow, sounds like you are seeing and doing a lot! You’ve been in China for almost 2 months now?

  2. Shuo says:

    Life is all about ups and downs, especially what you’ve encountered these days.^^ About the June 4th, it’s a taboo topic in mainland. The gov hides everything and doesn’t even allow you to talk about it. Most of my friends don’t know what happened on that day, some of them doesn’t even know what’s June 4th. It’s sad, I know. I feel quite helpless too. As for language teaching and exchanging, I think that we two can whine a great deal about it. hehe. I’m trained to be a teacher too. It’s never easy.


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