Nearly three weeks and no updates! I know what you must be thinking: Stew has gone off on some adventure and is too busy trekking along some wild road or herding water buffalo in southern China. The truth is I have fallen into the daily rhythm of life here at Qingdao Number 2, and while it is not always exciting it does keep me busy.
The student’s day begins bright and early at 6:30 when they leave their dorms for breakfast. I have quized my students about their living conditions I hear nothing but complaints, who could blame them; eight students share a cramped room. On Mondays there is a flag raising ceremony in the school’s main square. The first classes begin at 8.
Lunchtime can be a challenge, with 2000 students all making their way to the cafeteria at roughly the same time. Teachers have their own dinning facility, which leaves a lot to be desired. At least it is cheap; a meal typically cost around 4 Yuan (about 50 cents). The students tell me their food is not too bad but a little more expensive. I have yet to eat in the students dinning hall; I’ll provide a full report when I do.
My first class begins at 2 pm, which gives me the morning to prepare lessons and make photocopies (when the copier is working that is.) When I first arrived, the school told me the copier would be too complicated for me to figure out so I gave documents to an office worker who would return my copies a day or so two later. I have since made the bold move to make my own copies, without any problems.
I have 3 classes in the afternoon, and then a dinner break at 5:30. Sometimes I will hurry to the dinning room before it closes, but more often I eat something in my office. My last class ends at 7:30 at which time I retire to my apartment or go grocery shopping. The students study in their classrooms until 10pm. The campus fills with a cacophony of shouts and murmuring voices as they head back to their dormitories. They have about 20 minuets to get ready for bed before the electricity in the dorms is shut off.
So there you have a typical day at Qingdao Number 2. The school week is Monday thru Saturday. Students go home on Saturday afternoon and return around 6:30 on Sunday evening. Sometimes Saturday is filled with a school wide activity. Today was sports day, which I save for another post.