2 weeks down in Hefei! I’m definitely feeling settled now and I’ve got myself into a good routine. I work Weds to Sunday, with Monday and Tuesday being my weekends now. Weds-Fri I work 2-7ish and this time is set for office work planning and organising lessons for the busy 10 hour days at the weekends.
At the moment I’m being weened in and I’ve co-taught but this Saturday I have my first class of my own. So I very much look forward to that! Everyone in the office is great. We have about 10 foreign teachers such as myself, alongside 10 or so local (Chinese) teachers, many teaching assistants and other local staff to help the school run in a truly efficient Chinese way. Everyone has been amazingly friendly and very chatty, wanting to know about me and how I am settling in. I couldn’t ask for anything more!So other than working I’ve been pretty busy on the social side of things. Steven, my roommate is a great guy and we’ve hit it off well. Most evenings I’ve been either out for dinner or having a few drinks, or both with the teachers. I’ve become fond of an area known as Ningualu, which is essentially the clubbing street of Hefei. It’s 99% Chinese and a foreigner in the bar generally turns a few heads. I struggle to think of a time where I’ve had to buy a drink. Either a friendly local offers or they have table drinks which the bar people are constantly topping up! All round deals.
Away from evenings entertainment I’m playing football for a foreign team, admittedly representing team USA! I’ve also been doing a little bit of yoga and also working out every day. I bought a kettlebell which I’m going to use in the apartment to keep myself in shape. I’m even thinking about advertising my Personal Training on the Hefei foreigners Facebook page to maybe earn a little bit more Ningualu spending money!
I’m trying to see as much of the city I can asap as currently I can’t travel out of the country because my residency hasn’t come through just yet. I’m also on a pretty tight leash as the school currently needs my passport and being a foreigner you need to show your passport to take a train or internal flight. Nevertheless Hefei has its own attractions, none smaller than Mt. Dashu of which I trekked up several days ago. It’s not the highest but it has a great view out across the city.
I wouldn’t say I’m missing anything about home just yet. I thought coming out here I would be bothered about missing out on sports and films etc, but now I’m not even that fussed. I can check the sport news on my phone but I have so many other things to keep entertained I often forget. Everything is accessible it’s just different. Tonight in fact I am going to a midnight showing of the new James Bond film as its released in English today. I’m also starting Mandarin lessons next week and I’m really looking forward to being able to communicate properly with the people of my city rather than pointing and playing charades.
That’s all from me, hope you are enjoying the updates! Feel free to give me a message as sometimes I do have a little free time to connect with home!