Ni Hao, Jia Kai!
Hopefully this will be an adequate recollection and re-creation of ...
shenzhen thus far
first, let's get the pronunciation of my new home right: it's pronounced shen (as it looks)-zhen (dj-en). actually, probably more like shndjn as they're not really fans of prolonging the 'e' sound between the consonants. so, we've been in shenzhen for a week (right? i've lost all track of time), and at our respective schools/places of habitation for about 5ish days. our time at the fabulous silver lake hotel was far too short for most of us considering we were put up in the villas there and had all of our meals provided. the room my friend molly and i were put up in was fit for liberace, with wall detailing in what can only be described as gaudy gold, chandeliers, and an absolutely palatial bathroom with gold mosaic tile flooring in the shower.
after 3 nights there (on the third day), we had our contract signing and banquet where we met our english-speaking contact teachers and other school representatives. the two people from my school were one mr. wang and one mr. chen, the head of "general affairs" at the school. still not sure what that title means. though mr. chen speaks no english, his sense of humor and "bad romance" lady gaga ringtone won me over. what i love most about them is how they say my name, a hurried, over--emphasized-at-the-end jess-ee-KA. there was a lot of booze imbibed at the banquet, as i am told so frequently happens at chinese banquets, and then we were drive off to our schools. my school, fu qiang xiao xue (literally fu qiang little, or primary, school) is situated in the center of the central district of shenzhen, futian. it's a very nice location indeed, very near shops, restaurants, and western areas, should i be in the mood for that kind of thing.
since moving in i've had to take care of some administrative things related to our visas such as visiting the police station on multiple occasions, having horrible photos of me taken, and meeting random people at the school. i was introduced to another english teacher, ms. deng, a very young-looking teacher who very nicely took me to open a bank account here. i haven't gotten to meet all the other teachers yet since they just got back today and i've been out doing things, but hopefully i'll be able to sort of make friends, enhance my chinese, and find a place for myself at the school. so far the most difficult thing has been adjusting to not being around all the other ctlc folks whom i was so used to seeing all the time around our hotels in beijing and shenzhen. since we're all scattered about the city, it's rare to see all of my friends on one occasion.
case in point: a bunch of people headed to the yantian area the other day, which is a beachy area east of futian apparently about an hour and a half's way away. molly and i did not know this. so we hung around, not wanting to rush out at 11:30 a.m., and decided to head out there at about 4:30/5 p.m. we did not arrive in yantian until around 6:40/7 p.m., which was just enough time to eat dinner at our sequestered table (the other 2 large tables were full) and leave before we were stranded without a bus home. it was a torturous, 3 hour haul there and back for about an hour's time being out there. we were beat, i was feeling sick, and the only silver lining i was able to see was that at least we knew how to get out there for future visits. so getting acclimated to the various areas is kind of a pain, particularly when coupled with the public transportation that is vital to getting back home and seems to stop running far too early (usually around 11 p.m.) you would think with all the nightlife here there would be more of an interest in keeping buses and subway trains going well into the night, but apparently shenzheners are more than happy to just take cabs home.
i start teaching on wednesday, so i'll be sure to update about that. wish me luck controlling all the delightfully overexcited and too-cute chinese kids!