Teaching: Day One 7.1.10 [Day]
July 3, 2010 § 1 Comment
These posts might be a bit delayed because the bad internet connection doesn’t let me format them properly, but they’re written according to the dates in the titles…so use those as reference. AND I WANT TO INCLUDE PHOTOS IN THESE POSTS BUT FOR SOME REASON THE FREAKING UPLOADER WON’T WORK CORRECTLY FML. So you’ll have to do without for now.
I woke up at 6AM to start repacking my belongings. We left [with all my luggage] an hour later in the church van and headed toward the factory, half an hour away. Despite having only gotten a little more than four hours of sleep, I sat wide awake in the passenger seat to observe the city of Yiwu as we drove down the spacious and well-paved roads.
This place isn’t exactly poor, as I could tell from the better-than-crappy apartment buildings, but like mother told me, it looks like the 农村 [I suppose “countryside” would be the closest translation, but in actuality it’s less romantic and closer to “undeveloped area”]. People walk across five lanes of nonexistent traffic as comfortably as you might stroll down your driveway.
Once we got nearer to the factory, though, the buildings became shabbier. Rusty tractors occasionally came down the road, the traffic lights didn’t even bother turning on and people moved around as if they just…didn’t care.
We are inexplicably* stationed inside this factory compound, where most of the residents are workers, and we use a classroom and some dorm rooms. I’ve gathered that the students usually come live here for five days while taking classes, then go back to the church building on the weekends. This means that I will have to pack and haul ALL of my crap across town twice a week.
I stood before my class of 16 and introduced myself, mostly in English at the behest of Hannah, and took them through the lesson book. We played a couple rounds of Telephone [to practice their listening and speaking but mostly because I miss playing that game], answered some personal questions, and thus three hours passed more or less smoothly. Praise God…but boy was my voice tired from talking so much.
For lunch, the students bring their own tableware and swipe for servings of the same mass-made food as the factory workers, which they then eat in a large dining area that is basically four slabs of concrete. Teachers and managers, however, get the privilege of eating out of actual dishes in a partitioned room off to the side, so my little vision of happily bonding with my students over lunch in a modern cafeteria is totally moot.
I’d like to add here that after a semester of dining out every day and eating mainly meat, having mostly vegetables at every meal is rather refreshing. On the other hand, I never get to choose. Nor do I get dessert. This situation might turn dire.
Lunch break is from 11:30-2PM, during which I took a much-needed nap. The subsequent two hours were spent having more lessons and musical dictations, during which I played Hillsong’s “All For Love” from my laptop and had them fill in some of the lyrics, which they all seemed to enjoy, this being a Christian program and all. Mark, the class captain [president? leader?], then helped me set up the Ethernet connection, which is adequate but just as undependable as the wifi at the church. Like yesterday, I spent most of the day in my room, glued to my laptop.
*I’m told we spend our weekdays here because it’s safer; over by the church, police tend to poke around, and we don’t want them getting in our business.