“Curiouser and curiouser,” said Alice…..Oh no,
wait, that was me - this morning -
and yesterday. In fact, that has been my opening gambit every day
for the past nine months. Surreal? Even Dali would have difficulty
trying to illustrate the bizarre experiences which have peppered
my existence here in China. It’s been amazing!
Fortuitously, I came here last summer with no preconceptions, which
is probably advisable on account of the fact that the Chinese have
a wonderful knack of surprising you at every turn, on any subject.
I think it’s a national pastime or something. But what you
think you know about China before you get here will likely be irrevocably
changed after you’ve been here for a couple of hours.
To be perfectly frank, I wanted to teach out here just so I could
tell people back home that I’d be doing something weird after
I graduated (and to cunningly delay the repayment of my student
loans). But I’ve grown to enjoy the job more than I could
ever have imagined. My students are so friendly, appreciative, and
eager to learn that it doesn’t even feel like ‘work’.
Teaching in far-flung destinations, in cultures which are so far
removed from my own, has actually become something I can see myself
doing for a while yet…
So, a few words of advice for those who are still in the contemplation
- If you’re “invited” anywhere, you’re
gonna be doing a performance of some kind - whether you like it
- If you’re going to climb Bei Bei Mountain, don’t
do it in flip-flops. Seriously.
- If anyone tells you “Hotpot” is delicious, don’t
- Finally, be fully prepared to miss this place when you’ve