“I give you this to take with you:
Nothing remains as it was. If you know this, you can
begin again, with pure joy in the uprooting.” ~ Judith Minty
Thank heavens for a couple of days to acclimate to all the newness and to feather my nest! I am beginning my third day here in China, in my new city Zhengzhou. I have ridden on the back of an e-bike through the city, opened a bank account, set up my cell, shopped for my new apartment, and cleaned and organized my space. I’ve unpacked and stowed my suitcases, so I think that means I’m staying awhile!
My first day out n’ about was exciting! I’ve been generously shepherded by a kind woman named Elsa who has assisted me in establishing a bank relationship, setting up my phone service, organizing maintenance in my apartment, and taking me shopping! It was a damn it full first day!
First, I rode through the city on the back of Elsa’s e-bike, which is the preferred mode of transportation through the city. It is economical, quick, and doesn’t take up lots of room anywhere – parking or motoring through a packed city! I loved it and it gave me a chance to see the sites and to hear the city, too.
Banking in China is similar to banking in the States. I actually felt like I was at a Wells Fargo bank where the greet you at the door and direct you where to go for the services you need! The only difference is that you ‘take a number’ and queue up in line. While we waited we went across the street to the cell provider and set up my cell phone. We also took a number for assistance and interestingly both were the number seven, so when I chose my cell phone number I chose one with several sevens and eights!
We met a couple of maintenance fellows to attend to a few repairs and then Elsa took me shopping at a local merchant that has everything from sundry items to food stuff to household things… a one-stop-shop. Elsa was kind and used her family’s store registered card (just like our Safeway loyalty card) to get me the discount on items I purchased! I was amazed at the service in the store, very attentive and helpful… there seemed to be someone on staff about every other aisle. Items in the store are different of course, though I was impressed that most bed linens and bathroom and kitchen towels are multi colored. Because of the high temperatures here in Asia, one can find a woven mat to place on top of the bed for sleeping on, which keeps you cooler than a fabric sheet! There was a big selection of chop sticks (duh), flatware was limited (and no butter knifes) and you had to purchase by the piece. Dishes are not sold in packages but rather by individual piece and interestingly I didn’t find flat dinner plates, everything seemed to have a bit of a rim or curve to it. I did find the absolutely best pillows ever and the most effective degreaser I have ever used! Oh and another interesting point is that in China now you have to bring your own bags to the market! They are beginning to implement some recycling focus among the people. There is still a whole heck of a lot of plastic water bottles out there, though. My Grayl filter water bottle is one of the best things I purchased for moving to China!
I live about a 20 minute walk from my school, which is perfect! I will begin working sometime in September and in the meantime I will be training and observing how the interface is with teachers and students and then I will work alongside another teacher for a few weeks.
My apartment is about seven hundred square feet, give or take, it is in a bustling neighborhood that appears to be typical of city living here in ZZ; there are numerous eateries and retail shops all around with apartments above them. A funny note is it seems many of the restaurants also sell Chinese wine which of course I will have to try!
Life is beginning gently for me, here in ZZ… I’m anxious to get my apartment just right with everything in its place, though here’s another lesson for me in really living with just what I need and having patience to discover the rest! I’ve been greeted with kindness and generosity from coworkers and the community.
I’m optimistic about how life for me will unfold here in ZZ… stay tuned.