8.9 first impressions

My first two days in Hong Kong were very productive. I went and picked up my visa and made a trip to Macau to activate it as well. I got lost in Ikea for a while trying to find hangers and a towel. I bought an umbrella which is just as useful for keeping the sun off as the rain. I think I’ve taken at least ten showers since being here. Quick ones to get the sweat off have been keeping me alive, I’m sure. It’s 8:30 am as I type and 90 degrees, the real feel is at 99. I hate snow, but I also don’t do too well when I’m melting. I’ve walked around a good bit each day, but I would’ve done much more if I wasn’t close to dehydration most days. So mostly I’ve been eating and staying out of the sun, especially since I arrived with a serious sunburn from being on the lake the day before I left.

I’ve been super busy since I got here. The first few days were filled with getting everything done and now I’m already a few days into working. Work seems like it will be fine. We have about 25 ish teachers on staff, all female. Having never been to the UK, I’ve never been surrounded by so many English accents before. All of the girls seem quite nice so far. I’ve started training, and I’m very happy with how much training there is. I feel a bit out of sorts and it’s a little chaotic right now, but I think I will feel more prepared to be a teacher than I have in the past. I’m really excited to become a better teacher; I love doing a good job at work and I think this training will help me do that.

I’ve started right already and it’s been a great way to meet a few people. I started playing TAG (or touch) rugby on Sunday and am going to start regular contact this evening. Already playing a TAG game on Saturday!

Foods been really hit and miss for me. Some things have been delicious and I kick myself for not being able to find them again. Some things I regret spending money on. I think I’ve eaten more carbs in the past week than I have in the rest of my life. Noodles or rice at nearly every meal… I’m hunting down some salad for today’s lunch without a doubt. One of my favorite places I’ve been to is a small dim sum or dumpling place about two blocks from where I live. Another is about two blocks from work and I can build my own noodle bowl.

Work schedule is a bit different here. I’m currently working 9:00-6:00 weekdays except Monday Friday which are shorter. Next month I’ll be working 10:00-7:00ish and saturdays as well, though shorter these days. It’s a more intense workday, though it’s a nice time to finish as I can just pop over to rugby practice afterwards in Causeway Bay before talking the metro back to Mong Kok where I’m living.

The kids are younger at work now too. It’s a learning center instead of a school so the kids are 3-13ish. They are also extremely advanced. Even the younger ones understand well and can speak quite a bit and they’re already tracing sentences and writing words on their own. I do envy them that they’ll learn another language quite successfully but I’m glad I had a play in the dirt childhood. My mom wanted my sister and I to be perfect, but it’s a bit more intense here. The culture is so much different from the US when it comes to how much should be expected of young kids.

There. Are. So. Many. People. Oooh. Growing up with cornfields and cows, the amount of people I’m surrounded by all day every day has been an adjustment; one I’m still working on. The metro is insanely packed. I think I’ve only got a seat two or three times so far, just by luck. It’s sort of strange how many people are in the carriage and how quiet the ride is. At any time of day it’s nearly silent, not just in the morning when everyone is a zombie. A time or to, the line of people to get on the metro has been 15 people deep, but there’s no sense of panic or chaos that would usually result in a crowd that size. Just a patient wait for their turn on the metro. When I eat at a restaurant, nearly always I’m matched with a stranger to sit across from. They’re usually packed full and all seating is used. I’m still not used to that and prefer to dine alone, but sometimes I get lucky with my table mate. At one restaurant, the older, non-english speaking woman across from me ensured the waiters took good care of me and waited on me promptly. Sometimes the person across from me translates for me and the waiter. I don’t love it, but I’m trying to see the positives of sharing my space.

Work felt chaotic for the first couple days and I was really overwhelmed and worried I wasn’t getting it. It felt like such a rush for everything, I’ve got a lot of acronyms to learn for all our different types of classes. Today, I co-taught (mostly taught) a couple lessons and I felt confident on the second run around. I have things to work on of course, who doesn’t, but I’m now sure it will all be good with my training.

Overall, I’m really loving the city and think it’s going to be great to spend at least two years in (this contract length) and possibly longer if I’m still loving it near the end.

Here’s some food pictures in no particular order. My hand is super cramped from using chopsticks so much. I was so relieved to eat a salad today just for the fork.

Here’s a few of the city, at night and in the day.

I live right near the flower market and it’s lovely to come out and see all the green.

It was so interesting to me to see the contrast between the shops and how people live right above them.

From my quick trip to Macau:

The Portuguese influence was extremely strong which I’m happy about because I loved Portugal.

And finally, a few pictures from the goldfish market, not only were there goldfish but also turtles, lizards, and cats.

I haven’t learned any Chinese yet so check back for the language lessons. This weekend I’ve got a rugby game, I plan to go to the pool, and Tuesday I’m heading to trivia with some girls I haven’t met yet. Super excited and will post again soon!

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