I met Akon this week in Changsha...Random? Yes

Trip Start Aug 02, 2012
Trip End Aug 02, 2013

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Flag of China  , Hunan,
Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Where to start?

    Things changed a lot in the last week. I moved from my hotel in the city  to my school placement at Changjun middle school, which is just across the bridge from Changsha's city center. It was a bit sad because after becoming familiar with all of the my colleagues and the city it became time to move on to a totally new situation all on our own. Lexi (my sitemate) and I live right across the hall way from each other. I am very thankful to have her around! Luckily we get along well, almost like friends that have known each other a really long time, or sisters (bickering included!). She and I have been scrambling around to get all the stuff we need to make our apartments functional, which is difficult to do when you don't speak Chinese! Our apartments do not have kitchens, but the benefit of having a sitemate is that we can share things and split the cost. Lexi too is a vegetarian most of the time, making cooking a lot easier. So, our apartments had a small fridge/freezer, electromagnetic hot plate, microwave, and some strange contraption that is a dish sanitizer. We went out and got a rice cooker, crockpot, electric kettle, and dishes/pans. It is essential for me to be able to cook at home since it is difficult for me to eat out in Changsha. The first few days in our apartment we had very little to eat and did not have our "kitchen" set up. Where we are located is MUCH less populated than the city center, it is some what similar to suburbia but where gated communities are replaced with high rise apartment buildings. Needless to say Lexi and I were a little hungry for a few days due to the lack of kitchen and lack of convenient restaurants.
    We had to do (and are still doing) quite a bit of cleaning upon arriving to our apartments. The cleanliness factor is just not up to my standards in China. My apartment came furnished, thank goodness. The furniture is actually nice, it will be especially nice once I am done scrubbing it down! =)

I have two huge rooms and two bathrooms. One room is my kitchen/living room where there is an attached bathroom with a washer (no dryer, you hang dry in China) and a sink that I have deemed the dish washing, food prep area. The other room is my bedroom that has a good size closet and another attached bathroom with a shower and a WESTERN TOILET (halleluiah!). The shower is funny because you shower over the toilet so really the entire bathroom is a shower, everything gets wet, it is awkward...very strange. We live on the ground floor and are fortunate enough to reside next to two other American teachers. They have been very friendly and available when I cant seem to figure something out (they have helped us with anything from translating our Chinese washing machine and hot plate to teaching us what buses to take).  
    The campus is very beautiful. It is a newer campus, about 4 or so years old. There are about 1700 students, most of which board at the school. Kids get very excited when they see me and Lexi walking around, they yell "HELLO!" .  It is very cute . They also yell "mei guo ren!" which means American, and point at us.
     School started today (Monday) but we found out last night that we don't teach until Wednesday (everything is very last minute here). Lexi and I had to go meet the principals this morning and Lexi gave a speech over the loudspeaker introducing she and I to the whole school. We are getting anxious to start our classes. We have been lesson planning but really we wont know what to expect until we start on Wednesday.

Up until this point I have had over a week of free time. There is quite a night scene here in Changsha, Lexi and I have definitely been livin' it up.  We are not the only foreigners in town, I have met people from all over the world here, and boy do they like to party. There are a handful of fun pubs and even more night clubs(if dancing is your thing) and everyone is very friendly and wanting to get to know each other( foreigners I mean, most of the Chinese just stare at us or are too shy to come talk to us). For instance last Friday I headed down to Bu Xing Jie or "Walking street", which is the downtown of Changsha ( all of the clubs, pubs, shopping and street food is here). We met some people from England who had word of a club that would be hosting Akon that night. Sure enough we show up at this night club and Akon arrives shortly after. I went and said hello to him, my friends got a couple of autographs and we continued to dance the night away. It is rare to see someone famous in Changsha. After meeting Akon, Lexi and I go to take cab home in the wee hours of the morning and I discover my wallet is gone. We always get warned about pick-pocketing, and I was convinced I had been a victim. The next day was spent having a mild break down/freak out only to find that I (being the silly person that I am) managed to drop it in the club where I met Akon. The stars aligned and I found it the next night with everything intact. Everyone that has lived in Changsha for a while said that I am extremely lucky and that they have never heard of someone finding their wallet after losing it. Thank Goodness.

Why am I happy here? Lets go over somethings.

    I finally feel like I am doing something different. As much as I love my family and friends back home, I was struggling with an inner yearning for new life experiences. I have only been here a month but already I am happier than I have ever been. I am finally seeing the world and I hope it doesn't stop with China. I am going to be working with children and giving them a tool that will be very useful in their futures. Language is a tool that I wish I took advantage of at a young age, I realize how invaluable it is to be multi-lingual.
     I am slowly finding a new normal. I am also finding that even though things are very different here, you just adapt. Every outing is exciting, and believe me the enjoyability factor of leaving my apartment can be hit or miss, but isn't that the fun of it?

I have (as per usual) attached many pictures and I have included descriptions.
If anyone has any questions for me please dont hesitate!

I will sign off and go eat my abnormally large, Chinese version of cup of noodles, that entirely is too spicy,(and surely isn't vegetarian, but how would I know? I dont read chinese) before this one blog turns into a novel.
Love you all!

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Grandma Carol on

Totally amazing! You are showing us all that life can be GREAT! Enjoy your time and learn, love and stay safe. Thinking about you every day.
Grandma Carol

baoftahoe on

Awsome pictures again April! Im so glad your having such a great time and learning so much! It sounds like you really found what you were looking for, I know you will have many more great adventures to share with us and I cant wait! I Love Your Blog! I Love You and I Miss You! Talk to You Soon!

joan cassidy on

Oh April, and these were the choices you made. Isn't is exciting to see how they work out. Good for you. I think you are transitioning to globalapril. You meet people so easily. Now if Akon would just let you hold that microphone! Ready for more commentary when you are. Love you, Joan

Granpa on

What the heck is an AKON?

aprilinchina on

Thank you everyone, more blogs soon, I am glad you all are enjoying it! I hope everyone is well!
Grandpa! Akon is a Hip-hop and R&B singer, very famous in the U.S.

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