(I keep forgetting to cross-post to LJ... This is the latest blog entry, more can be found at www.rapturina.com
Well, I’ve arrived safe and sound in Yantai. The journey from Hong Kong to Yantai was pretty smooth, no problems at all getting into China, so I was all worked up for nothing, as usual. :D
I arrived late Friday night and my boss came to pick me up at the airport. It was nice to meet her finally after sending so many e-mails back and forth and she’s quite chatty, so it was a nice welcome. The first night they put me up in a hotel as I arrived so late, and then the next morning they took me to Simone’s apartment. Simone is a fellow teacher and I’ll be staying at her place for a while until they have sorted out an apartment for me. I have no idea how long that will take, but so far Simone and I get along fine, so it’s not a bad arrangement. I would very much like to get my own place and get settled properly, but it’s also nice to have someone to talk to. Arriving in a new place can be pretty lonely!
I’ve been at the school a few times over the weekend to meet the other teachers and get an idea of the place. Everyone is really nice, but things seem a bit chaotic. They have given me the books the students are using and I’m taking over the classes of a teacher who has left by now, but nobody knows where exactly in the books the students are at the moment. That makes it a little difficult to plan lessons at the moment, but I think I will just do some games and colouring sheets during the first class to get to know the students a bit better. Once I know their level it will be easier to plan! Everyone at the school is really relaxed, it seems like you can do pretty much whatever you like during the lessons. You need to use the books, but there’s a lot of time for doing other things as well.
Yesterday I was supposed to teach my first class, but as it’s apparently still school holidays a lot of people are not in town, and none of my students showed up. That was pretty disappointing, as I was all ready to go and looking forward to getting started. I have another class this afternoon, but I’m not sure if that is going to happen. They’ve told me the attendance should pick up again next week, so fingers crossed I might actually start teaching soon!
I’m teaching two classes (one kids, one adults) on Tuesday and Thursday, and then one class (kids) on Wednesday. On Saturday I teach three classes (all kids), and on Sunday two (again all kids). So Mondays and Fridays are my days off. It’s not a bad schedule, all classes during the week are after 4:30 pm, so I can do a lot of things during the day before having to go to the school. So far, so good!
I haven’t seen much of Yantai yet, just the area around the school and the apartment. The school is right on a big shopping street, with a lot of restaurants as well, which is very convenient. It’s pretty cold here at the moment, under zero degrees and it has been snowing quite a bit. Everyone is saying it’s a warm winter though, so apparently it should actually be a lot colder. The beach is quite close, about a 15 minute walk from the school and it’s very quiet down there, compared to the hustle and bustle and general craziness of the shopping street.
I’m feeling a little lost as everything around me is in Chinese and I can’t read anything, and it always takes a while anyway before you can find your way around a new place. I’m sure the feeling will pass once I get the hang of the place though. :D