Shenzhen Arrival (and Beijing Wrap-up)
First things first– We have arrived!
After 24 hours in a hard-sleeper car on the train from Beijing to Shenzhen, we’ve arrived at the Silver Lake Resort Hotel in Futian district. We’ll be stationed here for the next two days while we undergo police interviews (for residence permits) and physical examinations (for employment by the Shenzhen Education Bureau). We’ll also be purchasing Chinese cell phones and getting to know the city a bit before our Welcome Banquet and subsequent dispersal all over the city to our respective districts.
This brings me to two topics. The first is the end of our stay in Beijing, which could probably be a separate post all on its own but I’m going to work it in here instead and talk more about Shenzhen in another post. The second is our placements, which we received yesterday and which I will share with you at the end of this post.
So, to round out Beijing. I think what I took away most from the city (besides the black lung, ugh) is the bustle. And the delicious, delicious food. The end of our teaching days was topped off with a talent show in which we all paraded our students around and coaxed them through a series of short songs and skits. Even though I only had them for a couple of weeks, I really enjoyed those kids (and may or may not have almost cried while saying goodbye to them). I think most of us truly appreciated the time we got at the PKU, though I know we were pretty ready to head “home.”
Tuesday we spent at the Forbidden City. Which was awesome. And massive. And did I mention, awesome? It’s a touristy kind of spot nowadays, and there were really large crowds of people– we were constantly passing groups of Chinese students who would, in not-so-hushed whispers, call “Bai-ren! Bai-ren!” (“White people! White People!”) as we walked by– but it was still sort of potent with history. I certainly enjoyed it. Then my friends Justin, Dawson and I had a little adventure, as it took us absolutely forever to get through the final gates to the giant portrait of Mao across from Tian’an men Square under which we were supposed to meet. We arrived at the meeting place about 5 minutes late, and had completely missed the group, so we wandered for a bit trying to find them, or the buses, and wound up walking around the outside of the Forbidden City. If you don’t know what that means, Google-map it. Basically we wound up walking for about an hour before deciding to just take a cab back to PKU; even so, we got back quite a bit before the group and having a last, delicious noodle bowl to round out our Beijing adventure.
When the rest of the group arrived, we got back into the hotel and had a set of rooms and a locker room reserved for communal showers and luggage storage, so we chilled in the halls for a couple of hours before it was time to leave for the train. The coordinators were wandering the halls with the sheets of school placements for Shenzhen, which was a huge blessing for everyone involved because we could all finally quit worrying about where we are going to be living for the next 10 months, and the coordinators could finally stop being pestered about where we are going to be living for the next 10 months.
I will be teaching Juniors (junior high) at a Key School in Nanshan district. The Key Schools are schools with a more rigorous, demanding curriculum, and usually brighter students; Nanshan is the western-most of Shenzhen’s districts, a quick ferry ride away from both Hong Kong and Macao. It’s also home to the biggest expat community, and it’s a bit more posh and affluent than some of the other districts, which means that I’ll probably be able to find some good tutoring (shhh) to supplement my teaching income. I’m pretty psyched.
So we’ll be at the Silver Lake resort until Saturday, and then after our Welcome Banquet luncheon thing we’ll all head out to our various apartments in our various districts. It will be kind of strange not to be rubbing elbows with these awesome people I’ve gotten to know over the last few weeks, but there are sure to be plenty of CTLC group activities and meetings, and going to visit friends will be a fantastic way to get to know the city.