Friday, December 16, 2011

{Day 1 Or, "Will You Be My Friend?"}

Hello my friends! I'm 13 hours ahead of EST dwelling readers, so it's right about 7pm here and I'm settling down into my room after an information overload of a day. The day was spent stumbling through the introduction to basic necessities of life for the next year. Today we signed paper after paper after paper, opened bank accounts, acquired new phones ( and phone numbers!), navigated our first experiences in the local restaurants, culture orientations, health insurance benefits presentations, and more.
There are so many differences between here and home, that to begin comparing right now would be overwhelming. Needless to say, it's be easier just to go with the flow and absorb what I can from my surroundings. So far, I will say that people are generally very patient and generous with us and our language barrier.
Today there was a group of 8 of us, and from what I understand we will be joined by more this next week. I think we are avoiding the massive effect of culture shock for the time being through the insulating bubble of having people shuffle us through all the processes and having english speaking peers to rely on. It's been a lot of fun getting acquainted with the other people in my group. We are a diverse selection of teachers ranging from the experienced in teaching abroad, to first timers like myself. There are some interesting personalities as well... I can tell there are already groups and likely friendships forming, and a sense of comfort in the camaraderie as a result. When we are done training we will ship out to our different cities, but will keep in contact with one another.
At the end of our tasks for the day we all split off, some to go drinking ( no thank you!), other to sleep and unpack, While "Ronald" and I decided to attempt to find the main source nearby for shopping. He needed to look into purchasing a tablet or laptop, and I forgot a razor and a couple of other creature comforts and needed to look for something to tide me over until reinforcements arrive in the form of my husband.
We found the "Cloud Nine Mall" which is 9 overwhelming floors of shopping. A dangerous place for someone with a healthy shopping appetite. While we were looking at the different tablets, we got in a hilarious conversation with the two sales people of a pc tablet, who thought that we were the funniest people they had ever talked to... It was a fun experience to have four people who couldn't speak each other's language try to understand one another, and to turn to humor as a default.
On our way back we decided to try the Chinese version of Italian... um.... I'm going to miss Italian food. That wasn't it, that's for sure.
And so here I am, safely through the torture of day one. Some small victories ( like successfully finding my way to and from the hotel) under my belt, too much information pouring into my head and oozing out the ears, and a ton of homework to do. Luckily, I have the weekend off to acclimate and relax! I'm ready for this next week to zip by, and for Jeff to join me out here and help me navigate the craziness! And now - Sleep!

P.S. Sorry for the disorganized writing and lack of pictures... I was too overwhelmed to man  a camera. I'll work on it!

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