Now that we are back in Shanghai and the school training is over it is back to business. School started on Wednesday and I welcomed my new class of 20 students (and another new one starts Tuesday). It was awesome to see my old class from last year and get hugs and stories of what they did over the summer. My how they have grown! Of course I miss them, but luckily they are still on the same campus so I can see them throughout the day. My new class seems lovely as well, so soon hopefully I’ll have 40+ hugs a day!
This year it is a comfortable feeling to be in the ‘know’. Things are familiar and comfortable… from the buzz of the cicadas, the hundreds of dragon flies everywhere and the other sights and sounds that caused us to stare in wonder only a year ago. SOme things are different and still unexplained… like what is making that noise that sounds like a beeping of a car alarm l swear it goes 24 hours a day! Last year I was sure it was an alarm or a deterrent for pests, but it stopped with the cooler weather. I didn’t notice it again until we came back in August. This year we were welcomed back with much more reasonable temperatures and less humidity, thank goodness! We have had a few hot days, but most are comfortable and reasonable in the high twenties and low 30’s. The other odd thing is the amount of rain. I guess this is unusual for Shanghai in August and more likely in June. In June we did have a lot of rain and heavy downpours. They were complaining of a drought, especially in land, so it is needed. We have had steady rains and cloudy days which unfortunately has increased the mosquitos. Here mosquitos are smaller and harder to spot and feel them biting. I have been bitten numerous times and they leave larger itchy spots than the ones from home. They also make a purplish mark on the skin that leave their prints for weeks and sometimes even months.
A nice surprise and convience is the new shops open close to home. A new hotel opened last spring and it is within walking distance of the school. A Starbucks and a few western restaurants opened there as well. Since the summer even more places have opened, including some western clothing shops like Gap and opening soon will be H&M. That will save a trip to the crowded mall! We have a plaza walking distance from home too, but slowly the western restaurants have moved out and been replaced with more local Asian fare. It is nice to have more options and things closer to home.
The first days and weeks have been busy with school training, planning lessons and setting up classrooms, so we haven’t had the chance to do too many things. Days are long and bed time comes early as does wake up. School still starts at 8AM and the bus gets me there about 7:05. I don’t mind since we are the first ones to arrive and that gives me time to get sorted before the students start to come. 7:45 is the expected and suggested arrival time for students, but a few eager children have arrived as early as 7:20!
Being back here I have lost a few pounds after all the eating out and splurging on foods that we miss and are deprived of here. Actually we aren’t deprived of a lot, but there are a few favourites from home, like Swiss Chalet, that we ate probably more than we needed to over the summer. Another good thing is the walking we do, to get groceries, to my 3rd floor classroom… who needs a stair-master when you have about 5 or 6 trips up and down 3 flights of stairs 5 times a week?
Take care and stay tuned for more next week…