A Travellerspoint blog

October 2012

School, Weekend away to Xian, movie nights and sore bums!

sunny 22 °C

Sorry for the radio silence recently!

Forgive me! It has been 10 days since my last blog entry!

School has been occupying my time, planning lessons, marking work, reprimanding children who don't do my homework; the usual!

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The school had an opening ceremony for their sports meet last week, and all of the classes made a sign for their class and marched around the running track, it was great, they looked so smart!

This is mine and Michelle's classes together as they form Year 1!

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So proud!

They're obsessed with Gangnam Style here, so when one of the other classes was going around the track with their class sign, they stopped in front of us (we were on like a judges panel in the bandstand bit of the seating block!) and when the music started for Gangnam Style, everyone went crazy whilst this one class did the dance!

They love dancing here, it's crazy!

They also love things with poor or incorrect English on them...

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Some of them walk around in T-shirts with sentences on them that make no sense, and is probably not what they want to be walking around advertising!

They love foreigners too, everyone says hi to you, whether they're your student or not, and people ask to take pictures of you most of the time as well, whilst doing the peace sign obviously!!

We had Friday off due to the sports meet, so we hopped on the train and went to Xian:

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Where we found....... A SUBWAY!!

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Which the boys particularly enjoyed!

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Then we went to our hostel for the weekend, the inside looked like the outside, and Matt couldn't help but dance down the corridor!

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Out in Xian...

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Then I used this little beauty to get around the City Wall of Xian (the blueish square surrounding the middle of the city on the map), whilst everyone else suffered the wrath of the Tandems! Lets just say after 14ish miles worth of cycling (with rests every now and again), our bums were more than a bit sore!

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So Mish and I went to get our nails did! (This is deliberately incorrect grammar, so shh!)
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And after another Subway(!) and some shopping (and bartering!) we got the train home and panicked about having nothing planned for Monday's lessons!

Whoops!

As an incentive, and because I won't need all of my pay check each month to live on,
I've changed the names of my savings accounts to help me save money for next year :D
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So friggin' excited!

Posted by Lady Mantle 21:40 Archived in China Tagged xian school hostel subway cycling teaching carbs city_wall sore_bum Comments (7)

Elephant play time!

sunny 25 °C

Here's some more photos of Elephants! :)

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Eep!

Posted by Lady Mantle 22:16 Archived in China Tagged elephants beijing_zoo Comments (0)

Chinese school and a cheeky photo of me and Mish

sunny 24 °C

Chinese school days are looooong!

The kids start at 7:10 and don't finish until 9pm!

Today I had a morning session and I have an afternoon and evening session! Luckily for me there is a 3-4 hour gap between each so I can come back to the apartment and nap!

I had my first evening session with them last night and hadn't done anything work with them previously so had nothing to go over, so essentially, we played games for 2 hours...!

Best. Teacher. Ever!

Started the morning session today with a ball game as half the kids were asleep - they were confused at first then excited to be playing a game before class!
Then I hit them with the Past Simple.
Boosh.

It's annoying though, because there are triers and achievers in my class.
The triers answer questions, incorrectly most of the time, but they still try and the achievers do the written work but then there's a smaller group of students who just aren't at the same level because they just aren't. It's not their fault; they are simply not as advanced as the others.

But having marked the work they did this morning, I can see a lot more attention is needed before we can move on to the next thing.

We shall see what this afternoon brings!

Anyway, as requested by my Yiayia - here is a picture of me and Mish at the Great Wall :)

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Posted by Lady Mantle 19:52 Archived in China Tagged students teaching lessons tefl chinese_school Comments (2)

Arrival at new home, Chinese school and new friends

sunny 25 °C

So I have finally arrived in Xinxiang!

Been super busy so haven't had time to update anything on here yet!

It's currently 00:19 and I don't have school tomorrow so don't need to worry about getting up early, which is nice.

I can't really sleep anyway as I'm still sick and the beds are so hard it's like sleeping on a park bench! :(
I think the aircon, the air pollution, and just the fact that everything is so dusty here, really isn't help me get any better, but just have to carry on!

The apartment is great, big living room and spacious kitchen - will upload pics when I take them!
We've got good sized rooms and a spare room for any crap we have no where to put!
I've emptied my suitcase and done my washing and I even managed to put the TV menu into English so wins all round!
We (Michelle and I!) live opposite the other English guys on the 5th floor of our apartment block.
From the outside it looks horrendous and the stairwell is dusty as sin, but inside everything is peachy.
At least it is now, as Michelle and I went to the supermarket and bought cleaning products and went to town on this place!
The guys say it smells clean and girly, which I hope and presume is a good thing!
It inspired them to tidy their own places so I guess it must be good!

We've got a massive sofa and a 42 inch flatscreen TV so movie nights tend to happen a lot - today after Michelle's class we snuggled up on the sofa under a blanket and watched Monster's Inc. with Ricky, one of the other English teachers and another homo to add to my ever expanding collection!

Still haven't met the class yet as Michelle and I are splitting them at the minute and she's has them for the first half of the week and I have them for the second half :)

We've been hard at the books today though, planning lessons and schedules for the students, just need to get everything down on paper and put some work sheets together - they're not the brightest bunch so everything is pretty simple at this point, it's just the case of trying to get some kind of structure together.

We were judges at the talent contest put on by the students this evening, and Ricky even got coersed into getting up in front of everyone to perform the dance to Gangnam Style! It was priceless and luckily Matt filmed it on his phone so we have a treasured memory of the moment for the future!

Everything is just a bit bare in here at the minute so need to put some personal homeliness into the place but it's already feeling very much like home and we have our multitude of overpriced tea on the now clean counter by the kettle!

Lesson planning tomorrow then another movie afternoon with Michelle when she gets back from school!

Ahh the life of foreign teachers who only have 10 hours teaching time a week at the minute!

When there's more to tell, you'll be the first to know!

Night all xxx

Posted by Lady Mantle 09:18 Archived in China Tagged work school chinese_students teachers foreigners tefl Comments (3)

The Forbidden City and the Great Wall...

sunny 25 °C

Today was our second excursion around China and we started off in the main town around the corner from us to look at the Forbidden City.

It is HUGE! It genuinely is a city inside the city. There is some beautiful architecture and statues and the rooftops have such intricate detail on them that signifies different things. Our tour guide was so knowledgeable and patient with us when we needed to stop for some unplanned breakfast and just generally wandering off to look at stuff close-up!

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  • So after walking around the beautiful garden and outside of all the different buildings inside the city, we then headed out towards the Great Wall.

We stopped at a Silk Factory and saw how the silk quilts and gorgeous duvet covers are made right from the silk worm life cycle up to the actual production itself - it was really educational, and obviously then lead to a selling environment. The quilts were amazing and soft but without knowing the size of my bed at school, I didn't really want to buy anything, which was a shame as some of the covers were stunning. So instead I bought a little silk coin purse as I've been using a pocket in my bag so far which is getting a tad annoying!

After the Silk Factory we moved on, further towards the Wall, only to stop at a Jade manufacturer - granted they had some lovely pieces, but not being a massive Jade fan, I wasn't won over by the whole experience. However, this was also where we had lunch! Typical Chinese lunch, the same as the tour yesterday, but a bit nicer today. Instead of sharing the tour with 2 Australians, we had the genuine delight of a middle-aged German couple who kept buying us drinks!

We moved on from lunch to the Great Wall and finally arrived. Holy hell, that was a lot of steps!

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Advice to anyone going to the Great Wall:

  • take a good pair of shoes as the steps can be quite slippery and worn down and you can't always rely on the handrail.
  • old Chinese people will overtake you with such finesse and speed, it can be quite disheartening!
  • do some stretches before you embark on the incline as your legs give out half way, even against your will.
  • take bug spray, or apply bug repellent as they are hundreds of midgies and flying things that kept nose-diving into my cleavage and hair!
  • take it slow, if you thinking going up fast will help, it definitely doesn't and you want to die a lot faster than if you just take your time and half little stops every 10 or 20 steps.
  • of course, this advice may only be applicable to unfit, overweight individuals, such as myself!

But hey, I still did it, and here's proof:

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In your face Great Wall!

Plus I definitely left my mark for anyone else that may happen upon the same bit of wall I did:

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And of course, the Duck made an appearance at the Wall, how could he not!?

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Also saw these guys just chilling out with some Chinese Checkers!

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So tomorrow we leave for the school and a new adventure begins!
I'm still super sick, but the Chinese keep plying me with medicine and tea so hopefully I'll be feeling a bit better before school starts on Monday!
I'll update this with information about my apartment and put some pictures up, but probably not until Sunday as our train isn't until 17:41 and it takes at least 4 hours so I will be hanging on by a thread tomorrow night!

  • I really hope I can still walk tomorrow, I feel ok right now, but those steps really put a cross-trainer to shame!

Posted by Lady Mantle 06:51 Archived in China Tagged insects great_wall forbidden_city cold silk jade chinese_medicine chinese_games Comments (4)

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