It’s been an extremely long week to say the least. Right now it is currently 9:25am on September 10, but back home it’s 7:25pm on the 9th. In the last few days, Derek and I have said goodbye to everything and everyone we have ever known, traveled 7,000 miles to our new home in China, and have done our best to adjusting to the new experiences that will be our life for the next four months.
We have experienced jet lag for our first time, culture shock, and every emotion possible. Until we arrived at our school, we thought we were headed to the kindergarten school in Changzhou, but they switched us last minute to elementary since our visas got delayed last week. So now, we will be teaching 1st and 2nd grade, but we are still in the same city. We start teaching tomorrow!
I think we are doing very well adjusting so far considering that only a week ago, we were in our comfort zone back home. We are missing our friends and family terribly, especially at night time when we don’t have Harvey in the middle of us, but knowing that this is only temporary, and that we’re following our dreams makes it easier. Plus, missing everyone has made us feel so blessed. How lucky are we to have so many people(and dogs) to miss?
We are finally all settled into our new home. We live at the school along with 30 other English teaching volunteers. Our “home” is the size of a hotel room, or college dorm. We have our own bathroom, but share a laundry room and kitchen. Everyone here has been so nice to us since we are the “new people”(thanks to our visas for making us a week late) they have been so helpful showing us around and making us feel more comfortable.
Yesterday, we joined a group of other volunteers and experienced a Buddhist temple, went to a beautiful park, and explored the night market. It is so much different here, but I think that is what makes this adventure so exciting for us. We are so excited for what’s to come!
Things we are currently trying to adjust to:
Our bed- I would best describe it as a piece of plywood with a thin blanket.
Public restrooms- In china, they use squatters (google them) so they don’t have toilets, toilet paper, paper towels, or soap. (Thankfully we have a toilet in our home)
The sky- it is always grey or white. We are missing our stars, clouds, and especially sunsets.
The stray animals- there are so many dogs and cats living on the streets, I just about burst in tears every time I see one. (I don’t know if it’s cause I’m sad for them, or I miss Harvey) I keep joking with Derek that I am going to fill my suitcases with them and leave my stuff here when we head home.
The water & food- Not being able to just drink out of the tap when I am dying of thirst or trying to order food by pointing, and hoping for the best makes this experience a little crazy.
The humidity-my nails and hair are loving this 98% humidity, but my sensitive skin is breaking out. Everyone has been complaining about the weather, but Derek and I are actually enjoying it.
The language barrier- having to google how to say anything to someone, how to read a menu, or read directions makes leaving the school a little scary, but it is definitely fun and something that I think we will eventually get used to!
Obviously, there are so many more things that we are adjusting to. Those are just a few of the main ones that have made this experience so far exciting, scary, funny, and new. We are so happy to finally be here though, and are so excited for this adventure!
I am going to try to write at least once a week while we are in China, since I am sure my weeks will be filled with stories, experiences, and obviously photos. 😉
With adventure comes change, and with change comes growth.
Onto the next adventure, Wren