You may be wondering why I haven’t posted anything since I have entered Beijing. Sadly, China has blocked the website that hosts my blog. Since I cannot access my blog, I have had a family member post this to my blog via their computer in the States. I cannot say much about being in China yet other than tell you about the food because we have been in quarantine since the 23rd which is when I arrived. Due to the government taking swine flu precautions, we are not allowed to leave our campus building for the first seven days of our stay. While we do have a small patio where we eat our meals, we are not allowed beyond that patio outside. We are also not allowed contact with people outside our group other than the staff members who were here when we arrived. This confinement hasn’t been a problem, but I am writing this on my second complete day here, so I can imagine it could start to get difficult in a few days. Please pray this doesn’t happen.
Our building is big, but we are only allowed to go in part of it. There are two hallways which house all of our dorm rooms, our one classroom, kitchen, bathrooms, and girls showers. The patio is at one end of the hallway and the guys shower building is attached to it. It is modest living to be sure. Cement concrete floors layered with dust even in our rooms. Each room has two beds, two small desks, two stools, and one shelving unit. Praise God we have AC in our room! I am rooming with another teacher named Michael.
Everyone here is amazing to get along with and spending these days quarantined has forced us to get to know each other whether we wanted to or not! There are about 30 teachers here and four staff members who have been doing a great job helping us get settled in. There are also about six teachers who have done summer trips with Teach Overseas before. They have been assisting the staff with our training, which has been fairly intense – intense in the sense that we don’t have a lot of time in between training sessions. I have learned a lot already and we don’t start teaching until July 7th!
Our students will join us on July 7th and graduation is July 28th. Most if not all of the students will be teachers of the English language from schools all over China. They will already have a knowledge of the language so they come to better their English speaking. The staff tells us that these Chinese teachers are always very excited to be taught by English speaking foreigners and are very appreciative of the help. When they come to our campus we will divide them into groups based on how well they can speak English.
So much to write, so little time! I will write again as soon as I can. I hope this letter finds you all well. If you wish to contact me, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love some encouragement!