Monday, August 29, 2011
Life at the Chinese school
We haven’t been allowed to leave the school and explore yet because we haven’t been registered at the police department yet and if the police stop us on the street and we aren’t registered we can get deported. So we’ve spent a lot of time playing card games and hanging out in our rooms at the school. It’s been nice to kind of recover from jet lag a little bit. My body is still really confused. I woke up wide awake at 4:30 am yesterday. The food here is definitely rice. I think I’ve had the same meal for five meals in a row. They bring out a huge thing of rice and then we have these bowls of vegetables and meat and other things that I have no idea what they are to put on top. It’s good that we can kind of chose what we’re putting on the rice….they try and Americanize the food for us—stuff like fried chicken instead of a slab of fish. My roommate Dayna and I came a little late one meal so we had to eat at this other table that was meant for the Chinese teachers. There was this fish just slapped down on a plate—head and all. I tried not to look too closely. But I couldn’t help watching this Chinese woman dig right into the fish with her chopsticks and pull out small, white fish meat. She could do things with those chopsticks that I didn’t know was possible! Let’s just say that I am so glad I had “chopstick lessons” before I came because I would probably waste away eating one grain of rice at a time. And if this is my new diet, I might waste away anyway. Dayna came to China during high school and she said she lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks.
Our group went to the store yesterday and it was our first experience with real Chinese life. Everyone stares at us. It probably doesn’t help that we’re walking around in a pack of 20 Americans with our cameras out. The Chinese love practicing their “English” so they’ll just come up to you and say “Hello” and they get really excited if you say hello back. Dayna and I were trying to get a cart out and this boy just pops up and says “hello” to us as if we’d already met him before. It’s kind of strange. And It’s kind of hard to get things like shampoo and soap when everything is in Chinese. You don’t know if it’s shampoo, conditioner, or body wash. We accidently bought fabric softener instead of detergent. We know this because it says fabric softener in English on the front. We were looking at the pictures on the back which had clothes and a washing machine so we thought we were good, but apparently we need to read the English words on it instead...whoops. Dayna and I needed toilet paper and we were trying to figure out if a package was toilet paper. It was rolled really tightly and looked like party streamers so we weren’t sure and Dayna says completely serious, “I wish they had a picture of a bum on here or something.” I think died laughing for a good five minutes. Then we were just walking down an aisle and this woman gets out her phone and starts snapping pictures of us. She didn’t try to hide it at all. I thought I was bad at the Shakespearean festival with getting stalker shots of the actors, but this woman was way more ridiculous. I felt like a celebrity which is a really weird feeling. Unfortunately I’m not a good looking one here. It is so hot and humid which is a glorious thing but my hair kind of freaks out and goes everywhere—so don’t judge my grooming standards when you see my pictures. We’re looking for a straightner still but apparently the Walmart in our “city” is an hour away by train.