Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chapter 9: On the Author's First Day in Asia

Here's a run-down of my first day in China. 

That first morning, I woke up at 3:30am, 4, 4:30, 5, and 5:30 because of jet lag (though it hasn't been bothering me as much during the day - just my sleeping habits). I finally couldn't sleep anymore even though I was very tired, so I started unpacking my stuff.

Our apartment is HUGE! It's a 3-bedroom apartment that seems to be made for a family of 4 or more. With only 2 people here, it will take some getting used to. We are on the 5th floor of the building with both north and south facing windows, but all we can see are apartment buildings and the landscaping of the compound (which is actually very pretty).

At 9 we took the city bus to fellowship. It was much more crowded than a bus in the States, but it was still more comfortable than a bus in Nigeria. I'll be taking the bus quite often.

I have a host family here: a young couple: Josh and Allison, with their 11 month old Evangeline. They have been here for 5 years and they are really great. They took Zack and me out for bubble tea (just like Tea Garden) and then we went to fellowship.

Fellowship is in a hotel, which is a bit strange, but it's kind of cool as well. I'm looking forward to getting to know the people a bit better. It's a fairly small group, but the people seem quite close-knit. One of the things I like about it is that it is not just Americans who go there, but we met Malaysians, Koreans, Australians, a guy from the U.A.E., and others as well. I'm just really looking forward to living here with such awesome people!

So, after fellowship, we went to a restaurant called "Lennon's Bar." It looked a little like a British Pub, but it had amazing Chinese food (supposedly some of the best in the city). My favorite dish was actually green beans covered with pork bits (I think) and some other amazing herbs. It was really fun, and I was able to meet quite a few people from the school. One of the interesting things about eating out here is that people usually buy their drinks at a local convenience store and then they carry them into the restaurant. We did that too; I had an aloe-white grape juice that was really good.

After lunch we went shopping at the French version of Target: Carrefour. We got a water tower, two pots, a frying pan, a garbage can, and shampoo. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we'll be shopping for some more stuff. Thankfully, we have a really great convenience store right outside our compound, so we can go get fresh fruits and veggies, drinks, meat, bread: pretty much most of the stuff you would actually need during the week.

We came home and put away our purchases, then after a few hours of rest, we went to dinner at a hot pot restaurant with Josh, Allison, and Evangeline. Here's how hot pot works: you get a dish with a hot plate under it and two different kinds of soup. Then you order a bunch of different kinds of food to put into the soup and boil, then you eat the food with an amazing peanut dipping sauce. We had cabbage, spinach, sweet potatoes, noodles, thin strips of beef, and lamb-filled dumplings. It. was. incredible. I thought I would probably lose weight here, but I'm now hoping that the opposite doesn't happen (I just love the food here so much!).

After dinner, Zack and I came back to the apartment and we tried watching a movie, but about 20 minutes into it, I was already asleep, and Zack was nodding off too, so we just went to bed (around 8:30).

It was a really great first day!

Today (Monday the 25) here's the plan: go to school to have an orientation tour and basic introduction to the school (only the new staff - the old staff isn't working yet). Then we'll have lunch at a noodle place and come home to . . . do something. I honestly don't know what we're supposed to be doing, but we'll figure something out.

I'm doing REALLY well. Qingdao is such a great city. I'm looking forward to the beauty of mountains and ocean juxtaposed with vibrant city life. It's a splendid mix of everything! (In fact, this city is SO cool, that it's where the Chinese tourists visit.)

Keep an eye on this page, as it will be updated in the next day or two (hopefully with pictures!).

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