Home Sweet Home

Trip Start Jul 24, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
Where I stayed
My apartment

Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Monday, August 9, 2010

Wednesday morning we got up early, finished throwing things into our suitcases, had our last breakfast (where I discovered they had rice porridge which actually tastes great with extra sugar) and then took our luggage down to reception to check out. At the desk they didn't quite understand that we needed a residency card which showed we had been living there for the past 11 days, but they did order me a taxi. Scott bought a mountain bike off Craig’s list the day before so he rode to our new apartment. When the taxi pulled up out suitcases and bags were piled up around me and Scott hadn’t yet arrived. I called him and asked if he could get Mr Xu to come down and help. Soon he was there and helped me transport all

We gave him the balance of our rent and internet money and then we walked over to Tesco to look for a water cooler/filter, which we had stipulated we wanted included in the apartment along with a shower screen and thicker curtains in the living room. The only couple we considered at Tesco had sold out so Mr Xu suggested that we meet up later in the afternoon and he would drive us in his car to get it and any other appliances we might need! We stayed and decided to do some grocery shopping. Tesco is like an evil shopping maze for foreigners. Everything is labeled in Chinese so deciphering what things are is a challenge, the meat storing standards are well below safe food-handling practices- people were picking up meat in their hands, examining it and then putting it back on an open tray with ice and some flies in the store were landing on it! There were live fish swimming around in tanks, live eels desperately trying to swim in a tiny bowl and the rice was in giant vats that people kept scooping up in their fingers as some kind of relaxing thing! I was desperate to just find some basics to make me feel like I could cook here and feel at home in the place. The only chicken we could find were chicken necks and feet! EWW! I’m thinking we may have to be vegetarians! The cheese is ridiculously expensive and for some reason Chinese bread is sweetened. We found the one foreign aisle and laughed at what was on display and how expensive it was! The only thing from Australia was Berri juice and it cost the equivalent of $8 for one bottle. I was disillusioned with my idealistic notion of being able to cook for ourselves once we were in our own place. Looks like we may just have to keep ordering take away after all! When we had our purchases and made it outside with the trolley the craziest downpour with thunder and lightning was happening outside and we had a big problem! We didn’t have any bags! Scott ran home and grabbed what bags he could and then we quickly packed our things and headed home in the rain. That afternoon Mr Xu drove us to a big department store to get a water cooler and helped us communicate to buy a kettle, toaster and benchtop oven as well (I thought we might be able to make cookies at some point!) After that he asked where we wanted to go and we told him we wanted to go to Ikea to get some crockery, so he dropped us off there! How nice! We enjoyed Ikea and picked up some pretty good bargains. There’s a weird policy where foreigners have to show their passport to pick up knives. We didn’t have our passport but Scott’s drivers licence seemed to be enough.

Thursday morning we had training for TEFL-C (Teaching English as a Foreign Language to children) from 9-12 even though it was meant to be our day off. It’s the last thing that Scott and I will do together and it runs for the next 4 weeks, as of Friday we were at our own respective centres.

Thursday afternoon we took our time walking home and checking out things along the way. I bought one of the pretty umbrellas all the Chinese ladies use to protect themselves from the sun and we made our way home for a quiet night, or so we thought! We had to go to the Police station to register our residency, which should be a simple transaction but ended up taking hours because we didn't have all the forms and Mr. Xu needed to meet us there. We eventually got home too late to cook, so we ordered delivery food.

Friday morning we had someone come to install the new shower curtain. After that I had work. It was my last day before I was the new official full-time teacher. I met with my AT and wrote down lots of notes on the students and took a few hours to go through the content that I’d be using over the weekend and learning the songs. Friday night we went out for dinner with Tara, Marjorie and her boyfriend Kevin and a new British guy called Ben who doesn’t work for DE but is a translator with amazing Chinese skills. We had a late dinner at an Italian place and afterwards they wanted to go out to a bar- I was hesitant to join them because I had my first teaching day the next day and my first class started at 9am, but I joined them anyway. It was a great night, but I piked early to ensure I could get some sleep before I was woken at 5.30 by the sunlight coming through the curtains in our bedroom (I’ve spoken with the Landlord about this and hopefully they can get some backing put on them to help me sleep!)- At the moment when I’m woken at that time I put on my eye mask and go back to sleep, but it’s not quite the same as a genuine sleep-in.

Saturday was pretty busy. I taught three classes of 2 hours each and was at work from 8 til 8. I had a class I was warned could be little terrors, but they were OK. All in all, I was pretty happy with how it all went. My AT suggested a dumpling place that delivers for lunch. It was ridiculously cheap! My lunch was 5RMB which is the equivalent of $1 AUD! Saturday night I came home exhausted. Scott was awesome and cooked me some Japanese vege pancakes, and after that I had an early night. He had his first teaching day on Saturday too with a demo class and quite a few of the kids signed up for classes. We’re at opposite ends of the industry at the moment because my centre is nearly at capacity while he is a salesman until he gets a real load of classes sometime in September.

Sunday I taught another 3 classes and also had to meet the parents after each one. A couple of minutes before my first parent presentation I was asked to refrain from mentioning that I come from Australia because some parents might deem it to be an inferior accent! I already had it as a point on my PowerPoint slide and I couldn’t change it because I had a room full of kids that I was teaching! Instead, I did my whole presentation WITH an American accent and mentioned the fact that I had lived in the US for a little bit (1 month as an exchange student when I was 15, but that seemed to work OK!) My class last night was with the most proficient English speakers at the centre. It’s amazing to see how much they know and what kind of complex sentences they can create- we’re looking at prepositions at the moment and they understand. My year 10 students at home struggled with concepts like that! I walked home and for once it wasn’t disgustingly hot and humid (probably still 32 degrees, but it makes a difference) when I got back Scott had had Thai food delivered.

We both had a sleep-in today. We’ll head into work shortly. It should be a pretty busy day for me. I’ve got a meeting, 6 classes worth of comments to write (like reports after every lesson!!!) and 2 classes to teach (but today’s are only 1 hour long!)
Slideshow Report as Spam
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • You must enter a comment
  • You must enter your name
  • You must enter a valid name (" & < > \ / are not accepted).
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address


lorraine Forth on

Hi Sarah & Scott, Lovely to catch up with your latest report. Sorry to hear that our accent is a disadvantage. I always thought you spoke very well and clearly but I suppose to them it is still Ozzie. How is the American Accent going.? You are very quick witted to come up with the American accent and response when they put it to you. You both seem to be enjoying yourselves so much (although the health aspect with the food doesn't sound too encouraging) and I am sure as time goes on you will have things down pat.
Look forward to more updates as I find them truly wonderful to read and be able to follow your journey. How are the legs - all healed up. Take care and look after yourselves. Love you , Lorraine

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: