Getting Ready!

Trip Start Aug 01, 2012
Trip End Oct 13, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Monday, May 21, 2012

We will be leaving Houston on August 1st and will arrive in Beijing August 2nd for TEFL training.  Practice teaching actual children begins August 4th.  I think we will be teaching children in a English Language Summer Camp.  The hotel we are staying at is described as a "sports" hotel near Peking University.  I'm not really sure what that means yet. 

We will be studying Mandarin and training at Peking University (PKU), and before anyone asks, it is called Peking University in English officially.  In the late 70s/early 80s when names and geographical locations were being changed to the pinyin system, the university was being confused with other universities and so the change was given up.  The "Peking" in the university's name became the official name and not just a old way of spelling Beijing.  PKU was founded in 1898. It has been a center of progressive thought and counts Mao Zedong as one of its graduates.  Additionally, PKU is renowned for the representation of traditional Chinese architecture.

After training and touring the Great Wall and the Imperial Palace, we will head to Shenzhen on August 19th by bus and arrive on the 20th.  We will be greeted with medical exams and police interviews.  We won't know what district we will be assigned to until August.  There are 6 districts: Bao'an, Futian, Longgang, Luohu, Nanshan, and Yantian.

I think Todd and I would like to live in Futian.  It's the center of the city and ultra modern.  Wikipedia says its known as "The hub of living in Shenzhen", but it also cites a population number from 2002, so who knows how accurate this is.  Other articles I've been reading state that Futian has the Shenzhen public library and other municipal buildings.  Also. it has a nice park called Lychee Park with scenic spots translated to english as: "the afterglow betel nut", the "bamboo path passes", "alone in wooden forest", "pigeon on the square ", and, my personal favorite, the "everybody happy dancing stage".

Futian is located near Hong Kong and has a border crossing.  There are also little pockets of people who speak Cantonese.  Shuiwei is one of these villages that has been absorbed by the sprawling city of Shenzhen and is reported to have amazingly great street food. A tiny island of Cantonese in a sea of Mandarin.

If we don't get to live in Futian, Nanshan would be my second choice.

I will post about our schedule as we learn more, but at least we know the date of departure now!
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Laura on

Sounds so exciting and adventurous!

Mariana on

I can't wait to hear more! This sounds amazing, I'm so excited for the both of you!

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