Thursday, 15 September 2011

Tianjin Living

Tianjin apparently does not get much rain so naturally it was chucking it down when we arrived, so it felt like home already! We got a taxi to the school and passed a house that was completely made out of pottery, like vases, plates and the odd ceramic cat…we are yet to visit said house but it looked pretty interesting! We had such a warm welcome when we got to the school and before we even dropped off our luggage we were taken to the international office and given a whole load of information on just about everything!

The view of our school from my room, complete with mini
Eiffel Tower on top of the 'Relax Hotel'
We were taken to our rooms on the fourteenth floor, which is apparently reserved for foreign teachers but we are the only ones here so far. We feel a little spoilt as the Chinese teachers have to share a room and we get a room to ourselves with 2 beds in it! The view is amazing and at night the city is all lit up. There is one building that I just stare at for ages as it lights up then disappears in numerous different sequences. 

The best thing about our rooms…finding out we had the luxury of a western toilet! The worst thing….our 10pm curfew. We live on the school campus so unfortunately no late nights if we want to come back to our rooms. However if you work on the guanxi (relationship) with the security guards, apparently you can be a dirty stop out now and again! So they will be getting a nice Christmas present from me! Or, as carried out a number of times by fellow ELAs, there is always the option of jumping the school fence (not the ones with barbed wire however!). Luckily a couple of our friends do not have curfews so they don’t mind us crashing there if we want to stay out at the weekends. But in all honesty I think we are going to have a slightly different way of life here. Things start and end a lot earlier and after teaching my juniors a few times in one day I am ready for bed anyway!
My room for the next year
On our arrival in Tinajin we were taken for lunch by Shawn and Alex. The city is known for its sweet tooth and so I tried a lovely cake/pastry for the first time. But little did I know that I was to become slightly addicted...the bakery along the road now gets a lot of business from us and, being only 20p a cake, I just have no reason to resist…well except the calories! I may be a little bit of a fatty on my return to the UK! They are too good to describe but if I was to give it a go I would have to say that they are like a warm pastry cup, filled with a kind of custardy goodness….

Our school is located right in the centre of town, which means right in the middle of all the shops, which means I have to work very hard to control my slight shopping habit. Although I have only hit H&M once since our arrival so I am very proud of myself. There are four Starbucks within 500m of our dorms, a costa coffee, a Zara, umpteen McDonalds and a Haagen-Dazs restaurant. Oh and how could I forget, a long lost favourite from the British high street…C&A. So we basically live right in the middle of Tianjin’s Oxford Street.  I love it!
China's favourite...Pizza Hut and H&M

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