Greetings from ChuanWai!

I've been here for a little over two weeks; in some ways it feels much longer.  It's been really lovely to finally get to settle into a place and not be worried about packing up to head somewhere else any time soon.  We just finished teaching our first week of classes; I have 7 sections of the same class (sophomore oral English) and don't teach at all on Monday, which is a really nice schedule!  I only have about 200 students this time, so hopefully I'll learn their names very quickly.....


There are a lot of pros and cons to the new school, often because of the exact same factors.  For example, we're pretty remote.  In good news, this means clean air, which is a happy thing every single day.  In bad news, this means that going shopping or getting together with people requires planning and a lot of conscious effort.  I really do like the school, and I'm hoping that this will be a great year of building relationships and that we'll have a few more teammates joining us next year (because let's face it.... it's very generous to call two people a team.  Even when they are such fantastic people as Miriam and myself.)

One of the first things Miriam and I did was go on an epic hike to a nearby temple.
It was a great bonding experience.
Eight miles of stairs, and the resulting agony in your legs over the next couple days, will do that.

China in a microcosm: a woman at the temple was praying quite fervently.
In the middle of her genuflections, she paused to check her wechat and send an instant message on her smartphone.

Yep, definitely back in China, the land of the cutest tissue packets ever.

This is one of the teaching buildings (the one that I spend most of my time in) on a rainy day. 

I've been staying busy with lesson planning, teaching, cooking, shopping, learning my way around, getting paperwork straightened out and doing homework for Wheaton.  Miriam has introduced me to some of her former students and friends on campus, so I've gotten to eat with them, hang out, and watch movies.  Good times!

Speaking of good times... getting pictures from and talking to friends in the US is a highlight.  I'm so thankful for technology and the ways it allows me to stay in touch.  I miss you all, and simultaneously, I'm so happy to be here.

Face timing during lunch, because it would really be a shame for me not to be able to tell Jacob to eat his peas just because I'm on the other side of the planet or some such trifle...

There are lots more picture on my Facebook (and even an awkward video that I made to introduce my apartment.... I'm not very good at videos yet.)  

My favorite student story so far:  Yesterday in class, one of the girls interrupted herself in the middle of her introduction.  "Teacher," she said, "I love your pronunciation very much.  I think it is so clear and so... so...."  

"Native?" her classmates suggested.

...There you go.  I pronounce English like it's my native language or something.  That sets my mind at ease; I guess I can be a real English teacher now.  


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