First weekend in Tianjin

Trip Start May 05, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2013

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Flag of China  , Tianjin,
Sunday, May 13, 2012

Our first weekend in China has been pretty full on.  On Friday night we were invited to see the movie "The Avengers" with another teacher and his partner.  We went to an IMAX not far from where we live and saw it in 3D - I must admit it was pretty cool!  It was in a European architecture part of town right on the river.  It looked really beautiful, especially at night with all the lights on.

As great as the movie was, it didn't start until 10pm and finished just after 12.  Consequently we didn't make it home until after 1am.  Finding a taxi that won't charge you a ridiculously large amount of money to take you a short distance at that time can be challenging!  Saturday morning we had to wake up at 6.30am to get ready for our first big day at school.  We watched 3 or 4 classes each on Saturday, and I even got to meet one of the classes I (Steph) will be taking over next week.  Today (Sunday) was much of the same, watching and helping out in classes. 

One girl drew a picture of me as her drawing activity in class.  She explained in Mandarin that it was me, and then pointed to the yellow hair in the drawing and grabbed my own hair to make sure I understood!

We also got to have a play on the interactive white boards today while we were waiting for classes to begin.  Check out the pics of Evan's animal drawings- endless hours of entertainment!

We were able to leave early both days (around 5.30) which was great, as we were both really tired after late nights and high energy classes.  Instead of having to go out and find somewhere to eat dinner last night we made vegetable and noodle fritters and then were asleep by about 9 pm!  Tonight we had a bit more energy and so we went to a Korean place called Tudari, ordering our meals by the simple saying "yi ge zhe ge" [yeeh guh jae guh] which means "one of these" and is immensely useful for pointing at pictures!.  We sort of got it right- well we both ended up with edible meals anyway, if not quite the ones we thought we asked for!  Feeling confident we decided a good 'ole Maccas McFlurry would be a great dessert, so we ordered, using the same saying and pointing to pictures,  and received McFlurries in return (BTW, they use proper McFlurry machines here...remember how they used to do it? Putting the spoon in the machines to give it a whirl??).  Again not quite the flavours we thought we were getting, but close enough! Bliss :)

Now we are back at our unit, contemplating what to do with ourselves over our two days off.  We begin our Mandarin lessons tomorrow (horray!) but other than that we have the days to ourselves.

So one week in! So far we have learnt:
  • To say "thank you" - Xiaxia [Sher-sher] (pronounced like you have a lisp as I found out today: no wonder shop keepers/taxi drivers have been giving me indulgent smiles when I thank them, apparently I've been saying it wrong all the time). 
  • "zhe ge" [jae guh] - that one, or # of that - so useful for food!
  • To find our way to, and pronounce the name of our building "Cheng Ji" [Chung Gee]
  • To use the subway (at least to all the stops that we need at the moment!)
  • How to cross the road - don't laugh, it's scary!
  • How to buy vegetables and recognise numbers (even if we only realise it too late for it to be of use)
  • How to push our way onto lifts.  Honestly you won't get on if you are polite!
Goals for next week:
  • Relearn the alphabet song.  Apparently it has changed since we last sang it.
  • Take a taxi by ourselves
  • Start learning Mandarin - this cannot come soon enough!
  • Learn all of our TA/Children's names
  • Experience being a sardine, AKA riding the bus to work
  • Try the donkey meat BBQ downstairs - apparently it is delicious
  • Don't get sick.

Keep the comments coming, we love hearing from you all!
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Debbie on

Donkey meat bbq - hope you dont need to access the supplies from your first aid kits after this! Will probably just taste like chicken..
Can we have phonetic translations with the mandarin phrases pretty please, for those of us who dont have any idea how to pronounce the words. xo
The city looks pretty amazing so far - what a great adventure.

steph_evan on

A rough phonetical translation is in the square [ ] brackets. We will try and keep this up for all the new words we put in from here on out, but no promises :)

Gramz on

Thank you guys - this is the neatest blog and we're loving it. I found out the hard way how to board trains in Hong Kong - nearly got left behind because I didn't shove hard enough! The bracketed words are a great help, maybe we'll each learn enough to confidently come for a visit! Luv ya xoxo

Sam :) on

Hey guys :) Love reading your blog, I keep checking it waiting to see your posts! Sounds as though you are getting the hang of things - yay for being able to (kind of) order your dinner now, must be a relief! Evan - love your animal drawings, your kids must have thought you were pretty awesome! Donkey meat?? Interesting...:P You will definitely have to let us know how that is! I'm so glad things with your school seem to be pretty cool and the people are helping you get used to everything! Hope you are both well and accomplish all those things on your list for next week :D can't wait to hear more! Lots of love xxxxx

Shaun Lines on

Cool blog Evan and thanks for the introduction to China. Great adventures to be had around food globally.

Anna on

Wow, whenever I read your blog I feel my itchy feet too! It sounds like each day you discover new things, enjoy it! :)

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