On the other hand, there aren't really many options for washing our clothes here. The hotel offers a pricey laundry service....no one has been able to find a laundromat, even in bus distance...which leaves us using Tide, the bathroom sink, and this handy bar on our balcony to handwash and dry our laundry. We have no iron, and also haven't been able to find a store that sells them yet, which means we hang the laundry as carefully as possible to avoid wrinkles...but mostly we're just wearing wrinkled clothes.
There has also been a thunderstorm every single day since we've been here, so more often these clothes are hanging off of a chair inside our room to dry out.
For homework, I was translating an article about a creature whose scientific name is Velella Vellela and decided that since we don't translate Latin names in English, I shouldn't translate them in Chinese. Then I came across Portuguese man-of-war and decided to skip that one too. But if my Mandarin professor disagrees, I'll learn the term for Portuguese man-of-war and I'm sure I'll find it very practical in any conversation about obscure sea creatures.
Then I come across signs like this and realize that my Chinese probably often sounds like the English on the side--understandable but kinda weird, too. Side note: I have no idea how people live in China for years without learning any Mandarin. So far I have spoken Mandarin every single day--from ordering lunch to understanding how much I need to pay for something, to asking the hotel front desk for toilet paper, to asking hotel staff where in the world our room is, to telling the man making my noodle soup that I don't want fish ball or congealed blood in it, to conversing with very friendly people on the street who want to know what we're doing here in China. I can't always use complete sentences or speak very smoothly but I've always been able to understand the gist of things and communicate and that's very reassuring when you're somewhere new!
Because we're on a huge college campus during their summer break, the vast majority of restaurants within walking distance are closed for the summer due to lack of customers. There is a restaurant in the hotel, but it's expensive (Well, 6 USD per person expensive, but that's outside our budget for everyday eating). So we found a little grocery shop and have been eating instant noodles, crackers, fruit, and oatmeal a lot. Since we're in a hotel, we obviously don't have a kitchen in our room, but we have an electric kettle...and there's a lot you can do with an electric kettle!
This is our favorite lunch restaurant, and our favorite dish that we've tried so far. By comparison to the hotel restaurant, at this place, we can get all of this food, which is enough for two people, for 6 USD, so it's half the price. Angel's sitting in his favorite seat in the place, right in front of the air-con unit.
You may or may not know this...I really, really love bridges. I always have to walk on a little bridge when we find one randomly. We came across this little "fairy bridge" [my name for it] in our wanderings around the campus--as you can see it leads to a few steep stairs that serve as the entrance to an overgrown jungle trail up a little mountain. This is, thus far, my favorite bridge in China. I'm sure I will find more.
P.S. If an ESL learner asked you what a weasel was, how would you describe it? We have no access to either printers or powerpoints so we've been drawing a lot of pictures on the whiteboards in class when it comes to introducing our students to new words.