Well, we arrived in Shaoguan after a very trying trip. We decided to enter China through Shenzhen so that we could take the train straight to Shaoguan (rather than leaving HK by train and going through customs in Guangzhou, then taking a taxi to the central station, and another train to Shaoguan). We arrived in Shenzhen and cleared customs at like 8 a.m. The first train to Shaoguan, however, was sold out, so we had to sit in the train station until 6 p.m. It was a hot, sweaty, dirty mess. We finally arrived in Shaoguan at 10 p.m. and had so many bags (on such a short train stop) that I almost got stuck on the train, whose next stop was Guilin (like 2 hours away). At the last minute I was able to fight through the crowd of boarding Chinese and hop out onto the terminal as the train began to move. Scary.
Our time here has been good and bad. We've met some great people, including the other English teachers, Steven from the UK (who has a wonderful Chinese wife HaiYan and son Li), and Alex from Australia. We have also met some great Chinese students who have all been very helpful.
The Shaoguan campus is much larger, and more beautiful than that of JiNan. The city is also cleaner, as witnessed by the fact that the sky is actually blue here. We've found our apartment to our liking. Nothing too fancy, but a couple of large rooms, a clean bathroom, a small kitchen, and a decent sized living room.
There's been sort of a mess regarding the internet. Apparently, the previous tenent of this apartment got her internet through China Telcom rather than the school (which is free). China Telcom, when installing her ADSL, really did a number on the wiring, so we had to have them back here to fix it. Even so, our connection worked for half the day, then stopped. I am currently on an unknown, unprotected wireless connection.
There's been some pretty aggravating moments (usually involving our pay, or our teaching schedules), but it has all gone much more smoothly than my first week at JiNan. Aside from my allotment of English courses (which don't start for 2 weeks), I will be teaching a few sections at a private language school in town (ehhh), and 2 sections (possibly more later) of International Trade Economics. I think the main point of the class is still learning English, but it focuses on economic theory and international political economic concepts. I am really excited about this class. I just finished my first syllabus ever. Chinese don't use syllabi, but I really wanted to make one. Cecelia thinks this makes me a nerd. I think it's simply exalting in the importance of education.
There are plenty of more stories to tell about this first week, but I imagine Cecelia will blog about it in some detail as well. I am tired and I have my econ class tomorrow.