A Travellerspoint blog

First day in Changzhou!

My family doesn't speak English

overcast 35 °C

Hi! Yesterday afternoon, all 49 of us NSLI AFS-ers went up the Great Wall in 95 degrees Farenheit and completely died. Then we finally split into our four cities yesterday after eating dinner in the Olympic Village. Passed by the Forbidden City / Tiananmen Square.. then took a 9 hour sleeper train ride to Changzhou with the 14 other Changzhou AFS-ers. Never been on an overnight train - very fun!

Got up this morning at 6 am and left the train [2 min exit time or else you're staying on til Shanghai] then met up with our host families. Everyone got picked up like people were choosing teams and I was the 2nd to last one because I dont think my family knew my name ): Got into the car with them [mom & dad, no sister] and found out they couldn't speak english....

Went to breakfast and got a few pieces of dim sum - like items and then my mom kept laughing at me because she couldn't communicate to me. SHe eventually went over to the pay-table where the cashier lady knew how to write some english and had them write a note to me that said "welcome to our home. we are sorry we have to go to work but we will be back after and in the meantime you can play with children. etc.." it was nice! we drove for a little while longer [about 30 min or so from the train station] then pulled up into a large section of condominiums and stuff and i was like oh dear these kind of look shabby..
but then we pulled into this really technical parking structure and my host dad swiped his card and the car holder things moved around for him to pull into! pix later, kind of confusing to explain at the moment. so i was impressed....

then we swiped the elevator card which opened right up to their landing.. and they forced me to take a shower and then a nap! their condo is really nice and modern - definitely not shabby. the shabby ones were actually the apartments in front of theirs haha! wide open views and big glass windows... nice place! theyre definitely not poor.

my little sister is actually 14 but looks maybe 12 ... i thought she was going to be 16 -__- she didnt go to school today so we just watched tv and ate lunch with her aunts/cousins/uncle. they all laughed at me a lot because i couldnt speak chinese..so basically im eating meals/living in silence at the moment. ):

looking forward to the next few weeks. saw the entire nsli-y schedule for school and it turns out we have chinese culture class for 3-4 hours in the morning, lunch, then "surfing the internet" time [1 hr a day!] and then culture class and sports. this will last us until 4 pm which is a loong day... but sounds fun! theres some excursions at random times too - we're meeting up with all the afs-ers at baoding for the volunteer conference they're having... not sure how we're getting there but sounds cool. theres also some day trips and stuff in the agenda so we'll see where that takes us. also: theres two days that are specifically for "shanghai expo 2010" what is this! i think its the world expo!!! really?? well i guess we'll see but it SOUNDS LIKE IT! everyones all hyped up about that over here and its sounding like the olympic games really so i'm glad we might get a chance to go to it!

best quote of the past few days: "so how much more do we have to climb until we become men?" -eleanor hildebrandt [referring to the great wall]

-eggs that teachers give you are very salty and strange
-changzhou teachers that met us at the largest train station in asia were very nice!
-i love sleeper trains. theyre very clean and modern and this one in particular was playing toy story and mr/mrs smith at the base of each bed. so cool
-toilets/holes in sleeper train are very scary. water comes out slowly... then it SUCKS everything down fast. everyone jumped when that happened..
-THEY FEED ME TOO MUCH. i said i was full probably 6 times and they said "okay" and put more food on my plate. i can understand why AFS = another fat student
-changzhou has a huge blanket of humidity over the entire city and its hard to breathe. will need inhaler quite often
-kind of dirty city but lots of random gardens and greenery
-did i mention my host family doesnt speak english? i have to communicate through the host sister who speaks VERY limited english. will have to learn mandarin very soon..
-im actually decent on the eating part. i can work chopsticks normally but the family looks at me weird because i should be holding them higher. will have to work on that
-DID I MENTION I HAVE 12 MOSQUITO BITES. i didn't. well here goes: 2 on the right arm [1 on palm = weird place but very itchy] 5 on the left arm, 5 on my face/neck ]: im SO ITCHY help me x_x this was from the one night in the olympic hotel ): christina and i saw the mosquitos and she was like okay ill kill them! But then she failed and then we couldnt find them anymore ):

missed july 4th! hope all went well over there and everyone was safe. :)

Posted by cuhloe 23:21 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)


First day in China + Orientation

sunny 30 °C

Im so glad this blog works internationally!
We've arrived in China and have gone through our first session of orientation already. We're about to head to lunch at 11:30 and then to the Great Wall! I'm looking forward to seeing the wall again [not covered in snow]. They definitely have extreme weather here!
It's about 95 degrees or so and its super hot....
I'm missing everyone already ): We have limited wifi here at the hotel but we're leaving the hotel soon so that's it for wifi!
I've been kinda bored these past few days but I'm looking forward to finally heading into Changzhou and meeting my host family. I have a 16 year old sister and we'll be studying with only AFS-ers at the Changzhou No.1 Middle School. Some of my language goals include:

- Gaining a general understanding of the symbols and characters of Mandarin
- Creating a solid base of Mandarin to continue in America [basics!]

More specifically:
- to express my likes, dislikes, feelings
- introduce myself
- general conversation
- bargaining
- ordering food

I hope to be fluent in Mandarin eventually. I love how this is my third language and I hope to perhaps learn 4 total.

tonight after dinner we're taking a 12 hour train ride into changzhou with our leaders/teachers of our cities (sleeping train! cool) and then meeting our host families in the morning!
okay have to go to lunch. zai jian !

Posted by cuhloe 20:14 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

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