A week ago the school took us newbies on a city tour and many of us wanted to go to Ikea and get a few things for our apartments. It was quite the experience and so different from home. Ikea is Swedish for Common Sense, but in China it is Chinese for CROWDED! Wow the people -it was wall to wall people and just getting anywhere took time and patience as well as quick reflexes. They are ruthless when driving or using anything with wheels – look out or they will run you over. (And yes red lights are just a suggestion – as long as you honk first you can go through! Amazing there are not more accidents).
The items for sale were all very familiar and just like we could get at Ikea back at home, but this is China so there has to be a twist! The thing that struck me as funny was the people lounging and sleeping on the displays as if they were in their own living rooms! A few times we came across a lady sitting with a small child sound asleep on the display beds. Quite often you will see a child or adult sound asleep in a public place. They can sleep anywhere! We saw this a number of times throughout the store. The funniest was the picnickers… yes people brought food and sat on the couches and displays and ate and chatted just like they were at home. Am I the only one that finds this a little bizarre? As a Canadian I would never dream of sitting in a furniture store and pulling out my lunch… even lounging on the furniture is faux pax unless you are purchasing and even then only for a few minutes.
We survived the crowds only to try to fit 20+ people and all their purchases back into 2 mini busses. Some co-workers bought small tables, chairs and large drying racks as well as dishes and things not supplied by the school. It was tight, but somehow we managed. One fellow remarked it was like back in the 60’s or 70’s when people tried to see how many people could fit into a VW bug or a phone booth… our version was how many people and IKEA stuff can you fit into a mini van/bus!
The weather is still hot – and 35*c (43*c with humidex) actually felt “cool” last week, so we must be adjusting to the heat. School is great -wonderful class and they are getting into a routine. I myself am getting organized as well and “over the moon” to be teaching full-time. At home it would be a long time before I could have the same status…. full-time/contract teacher. I just think how lucky I am and it makes my days fly by and so much more enjoyable. It isn’t home, but it is doing the thing that I love.
Stay tuned for more adventures… this weekend we may take a day trip out to the lake district…