Its officially been two months in the Middle Kingdom. I sort of feel the way I during a race, I’m happy and glad to be there, but every milestone passed is exciting.
Anyways, I thought I would sum the month up again with the Good, the Bad, and the Weird.
The Good: I’ve had a lot of adventures this month. I’m getting more familiar with Nanchong, I went to Leshan to see the giant buddha and to Chengdu. My fear when I came here was that traveling wouldn’t work out well and I’d be stuck in Nanchong all year. But its not that hard to get out to see the rest of china.
I’ve been amazed at how helpful people will be. In Leshan I got confused on how to get back to my sketchy hotel. I was trying to figure it out when a woman came over and asked if I needed help. I showed her the address and she walked me to the street. It was 7 minute walk but it blows my mind when complete strangers are so willing to help a traveler. I’ve also found that whenever a young person who speaks English sees that you’re confused they will try to translate for you. Its amazingly helpful at times.
The Bad: My health is… weird. I’ve had a cough now for two weeks I can’t shake, I can’t even really fully inhale without wheezing. I feel slightly nauseous and my legs have a weird rash. I’m not sure if I have some strange bizarre Chinese illness or if the germs are just new to me.
The Weird: China is so weird. I love it here, but yeah, its weird.
my co-workers are clearly aware I don’t feel great, but they have a theory as to why that might be: I drink too much water.
They rarely drink water, and if they do its hot water. They drink tea almost constantly. I do think green tea is very good for you, but no one is convincing me that water is bad for your health. I’ve also been warned not to eat too much fruit as its not healthy. Certain warnings I’m heeding pretty intently, like washing my fruit, peeling most things … I’m not down with getting dysentery. However I’m not convinced that eating an orange will make me more likely to catch a cold, nor do I understand how china is not dehydrated as a country.
Its been a pretty good two months. I’m starting to find the things I really love here and to feel more comfortable with getting around. There is a lot in Sichuan province I want to see including a lot of a day trips I can make from Nanchong. I’ll write more about Chengdu later but its a 90 minute train ride away and it really is like going back to the real world. I have two weeks off at the end of August and I’m very happily starting to plan where I’ll go. There is SO much to see in China! Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the amount of time I have left on my contract… and other times I’m shocked at how fast its going.
The other strange thing that keeps happening is I get contacted by other schools offering me jobs. Sometimes they offer me a lot of money, but honestly even if I was interested breaking my contract could screw me over. Some teachers pull “a midnight run” where they just take off and don’t tell their schools, but once you leave your school you have two weeks to get out of the country before your visa expires. The school you left and can basically blacklist you from China, making it nearly impossible for you to get a job here and possibly even banning you from the country for 10 years. So… I have no desire to break my contract right now anyways but I probably wouldn’t unless something truly terrible happened here. I’ve been told its almost always better to just wait the year out then to quit.