Thursday, July 30, 2009

Amazing Race Beijing

Scorpion on a stick, anyone? This was on a street in Wangfujing, an
upscale shopping area downtown.

One task was to find unusual flavors of potato chips. This is our student guide and another ELIC trainee.

At the bell tower, housing "the most heaviest and biggest ancient bell in China

Jolene, another ELIC trainee, snaps some shots on one of the streets in older Beijing. I liked this neighborhood.

Me with one of the student guides at Hou Hai, Beijing's lake district

A menu item you might not see in the U.S.

So there are a few pictures of our first full day in Beijing. The "Amazing Race" was a good way to get us out and about in the city, and the two Chinese girls helping my team were really sweet and knowledgeable. Both neighborhoods we visited were interesting, but I liked the older area more since it wasn't quite as Westernized. Teaching and culture classes start tomorrow here at the hotel.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Chinese word of the day: qu 去. Qu means "go."

We fly out at 6:13 a.m. tomorrow, which means we're loading the bus at 1 a.m. tonight. We will fly Denver to San Francisco to Beijing, and arrive in Beijing on the 29th. Time difference is 13 hours ahead of Central Daylight Time.

Enough of the boring details. Here are some last thoughts about my time in the States:

Goodbyes: Good! It was great to see so many people before I left home.

Orientation: Mostly helpful. My favorite part was meeting the other new teachers and hearing their stories. (There are folks fresh out of college, a Vietnam vet returning to Vietnam for a different kind of service, a lawyer, a customer service rep, you name it! And we will all be either teaching English or starting full-time language study.)

Travel: Always exhausting. Please be thinking of us as we start our long journey to the Far East.

I'm excited to begin our teacher training in Beijing and start experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells of China. See below for a few photos of us working hard during Colorado orientation - really!

My orientation roommates after a rousing round of hallway golf. Ah, dorm life.

Outside ELIC's headquarters in Fort Collins

Hiking at Horsetooth Reservoir on our Sabbath

Beautiful day!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Still Stateside... For 3 More Days

Chinese word of the day: zhong guo 中国

Zhong Guo is how you say "China" using Mandarin Chinese. It means "Middle Kingdom" or "Middle Country." Isn't that great? Hearing the words
Middle Kingdom turns my mind to more ancient times, to the days of great walls and dynasties.

My journey to the Middle Kingdom really began months ago. I made the decision to move to China for two years as a college English teacher, and have been preparing ever since. I'm so grateful for the team of people who have encouraged and supported me along the way. That's one reason I decided to start this blog -- to give you a taste of the adventure you are a part of.

We new teachers (50 or 60 of us, including a few families) began our five weeks of training on Monday. We are in Greeley, Colorado for the first week, and it's been good. Our days are filled with administrative sessions, cultural relations training, learning about the organization we're a part of, spending time in the word, etc. Training will continue in Beijing. We fly at 6:13 a.m. on Tuesday, the 29th!

Can you find Qufu? Look in the east, between Beijing and Shanghai.