October 10, 2008

12:2 Time October 2008

Traveling to China

We are so excited to be here in Harbin. We survived the 30 hours of travel and arrived safely in China just over 2 weeks ago. The airplane ride over was great and seemed to pass a lot faster than any other time we have flown internationally. Kanyon probably had a lot to do with this. He kept us so busy on the flight that we forgot to look at our watches and consider how slowly time was passing.

The first night in Beijing we commented to each other that it feels like we returned home. As we drove on the bus to the hotel, I looked out the windows and saw the same China that we left 2 years ago. It was a welcomed and warm feeling to be home in China for this year.

Our first night in China, we didn’t venture out too far from the hotel. We made it to the corner store (actually a great little foreign goods market) and picked up some Kraft Mac and Cheese. We haven’t had to dig into this yet, but one day we will and we will be reminded of home in the states. Our first meal in China wasn’t adventurous either. We ate at the Subway connected to our hotel. This is quite funny, because we don’t even eat Subway in the states, but it was our first meal in China.

We continued to journey the next day with our short flight to Harbin where we were warmly welcomed by our Foreign Affairs Officer who is charged with taking care of us while we are teaching in Harbin.

Good Morning Class

I began teaching this week. My schedule is new to me and was just revealed, or finalized a couple of days before I began teaching. The schedule includes some classes of American Literature and two classes on American Culture. The culture classes are going to be quite fun and interesting. I feel really good about teaching this class.

The literature classes will be more difficult for me. Anyone who knows me knows that I prefer math over literature. I have made the adjustment to teaching with only one minor hitch. One student came to me after class and asked that I speak slower. I forgot how slow “teacher English” feels and tried to remember that for the next class.

It has been incredible to finally get to meet the students in each of the classes. The schedule is such that I have 3 different sets of students, but see each group twice a week. I am excited to get to know each of the students throughout the semester. Hopefully, I will keep the same students next semester.

We are still working out our schedule of office hours and activities with students. I even tried today to go to get a card so I could eat in the cafeteria with the students. As it turned out, the lady who issues the card was eating food and I was asked to come back tomorrow. There will be numerous opportunities to hang out with the students and I am excited to see this process beginning.

Campus Food Court

Halfway from our apartments to the teaching building, (10 min. to food, another 10 min. to teach) there are a group of restaurants where we are regulars.

Outside the teaching building

There is a great selection and variety of food here, much like a mall food court. The food court includes restaurants that serve traditional Chinese dishes, stuffed steamed bread (baozi), Muslim noodles, hotpot, sweet potatoes, kabobs, wraps, and other foods.

Along with the restaurants, this area has a convenience store, fruit sellers, shoe stores, book stores, copy shops, and barber shops all with walking distance of our apartment. Plus a Carrefour, Wal-Mart, and other great street vendors and restaurants.

It is all nice now, but we are curious as to how often we’ll get out once the weather dips and stays below freezing.

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