Ni men hao ma? Wo hen hao!!!!!Time flies. We just finished the mid-term exam last week. To bemore precise, another 11 weeks to go before the Chinese New Yearbreak. Just Great!!!! After being here for two and a half months,I am getting more used to the working environment. The first two weekswere just “terrible”! I was totally “destroyed” after school.
Fortunately, no students were waiting for me when I got back to my place. I could go straight to bed. Yet, I couldn’t sleep well when I thought of the next day. It was not the preparation that worn me out but the big class. I used to have about 20 students in one class before (in Cambodia) but now I have about 50. I have 6 different classes. The school is a vocational training school and so you need more effort,and extra patience in dealing with the students. I bet you understand what I mean. Those (students from Xiamen) in business classes are not very motivated while those in air service class (most of them are from outside Xiamen and so their English is not so good) – the book is too difficult for them. And yet, this is why I “am sent” here. I believe. So be grateful for what is given to me. I feel more at peace with myself and the students then. Now, everything is getting much better. I get to know the students better and so do they. The local teachers are also very helpful and friendly.
I am living with 6 other teachers. 5 are from the Philippines and one from India. They are all involved in adult education while I am the only “chosen one” in secondary education. So my schedule is quite different from theirs. Their classes are in the evening or on Saturdays. We have a Chinese lady who comes every day, except Sunday to cook a meal for us. (Her cooking brings me home!) As for the other two meals, we just take care of them ourselves. (Most of the time, bread and if I have time, noodles. I don’t mind to have bread twice a day and I just love noodles. I can’t afford to prepare it every day though.) So we have a BIG and proper meal together and stay together “to share”every day. I relate very well to them. I am quite contented with such a life with both community life and full privacy.
My life is very simple – get up at 5 am and sleep at 9 pm (sometimes even earlier) From Monday to Friday, school. Saturday, go around Xiamen with my map. I have almost visited most of the city “on foot”. And for the coming 6 Saturdays, I will stop for a while because I have to teach a short English course (Cabin English) to 11 students who are going to work with Southern China Airlines in December. They are the lucky ones to get a job before the end of the term. Then they will go to Canton to have a 3-month training. So, when you fly with Southern China next time, ask the air-hostesses if they know Lucia. (Ha! Ha!)Besides walking, I read and keep in touch with my friends and former students in Cambodia. I am also very lucky for there is always one or two friends with me every evening. I always enjoy such moments, sharing our dreams and thoughts. Sunday, mass on Gulang Yu. I have joined the choir. It is a mini choir with only 5 members. So practice after mass.
Unlike in Cambodia, we don’t have any cable TV for it is quite expensive to install it here. So my friends decided not to have it. We only have CCTV 9 (in English).
Unfortunately, the news is not so”international” to me. The programme I like most is Around China. But anyway, I am not that keen on watching TV. However, my friends enjoy watching videos very much. So I will join them sometimes. (Because I am an early bird and they are owls.) Well, this is my life and work here. All is gift. What I ask for is Be simple. Be grateful. So much for now. Merry Christmas and a great winter! (This will be my first winter after 8 eight years in Cambodia. I’m really looking forward to it.)