On Monday, August 25, I moved into my apartment at the school. It’s an upgrade from my apartment in Kunming but not ideal. It’s in a good location overlooking a pond and close to the classroom buildings. It has a western bathroom with a tub/shower combo and a sink with counter area and a big mirror. The kitchen is a separate room with lots of counter space, cabinets with doors falling off, a microwave, a two burner hot plate, and dual sinks with only cold water. The living room will be used as the dining room and office since there is no sofa and the tv cable outlet is in the bedroom. We have 4 English channels on the tv, a PG13 version of HBO, another movie channel, CNN and a sports channel. In addition to the dining table and chairs (seats 4), the living room has a good sized desk and the refrigerator. The kitchen doesn’t really have room for the fridge. The bedroom is decent size and has a queen size bed. The living room and bedroom have carpet which badly needs cleaned. Outside the front door is a large enclosed patio area which is where the washing machine is located along with rods attached to the ceiling for hanging clothes to dry. It’s so nice to have a washing machine again after hand washing clothes for the better part of the last 6 weeks!
On Tuesday the 26th we started having orientation meetings and will have these meetings on and off for almost 3 weeks. Classes don’t actually start until September 16 because the sophomores will have military training for their first 2 weeks and the freshmen arrive later. The school assigned 2 student volunteers to be assistants for each teacher to help with things like translation, showing us around campus, helping us go shopping, etc. It’s quite a contrast from the 2 minute orientation I had at the school in Kunming last year.
What did you think of the Olympics? I’d be interested in hearing your perspective from the coverage you saw there. I watched quite a bit of the events but had to watch them all on the local channels with Chinese announcers and of course focusing on Chinese athletes. The Chinese government English channel was prohibited by it’s agreements with the Olympic Committee from broadcasting events on the English channel since that channel is broadcast internationally. I heard on the English channel that there were 9 channels broadcasting the events here and one day I flipped through the channels and saw 6 different events being shown. I also read coverage on the internet. I thought they did a fabulous job of hosting and running the games and their athletes performed incredibly well. Here they reported the medal standings in order of the most gold medals which of course China won the most. The opening and closing ceremonies were great! The guy in the opening ceremony that “flew through the air” to light the caldron is a famous athlete (Li Ning) from Guangxi and he has donated a bunch of money to GU (Guangxi University) to build a sports field. I was very happy for the Chinese people to see the Olympics go so well. Because of China’s recent history (the last 150 years) the Chinese people feel like second class citizens in the world. The Olympics has helped them take a big step towards feeling like equals with people from other leading countries. The controversies about the female gymnasts’ ages and a few broken promises were minimized here. From what I read on the net, it seems the International Committee didn’t really want to investigate the age issue since their approach was to ask the same people that were accused of giving them false documents to provide more documents proving the original documents were not false. Most of my local friends that I talked to about the age issue believe that the girls were probably younger than claimed.
The age issue highlights one of the major issues of China which is their ethics and honesty. I’ve touched on this issue before on some of my posts about my students. They discourage religious worship and there is little active promotion and teaching of morals and ethics. Many practices that are condemned in developed western countries are accepted here. Singapore is a great contrast as they have taught and demanded honesty and rule following to an extreme.
In the time that I was here waiting to move into my apartment I went to a beach city called Beihai which is about 2 hours drive from here and is on the south China coast (see pic’s’). Along the way in a small town we saw a man walking along the side of the road buck naked….lol…. he was probably mentally disturbed.