The Random Writings of Rachel: Our Daily Life (Teaching in China)

Our Daily Life (Teaching in China)

I've gotten several requests to put together a 'day in the life' sort of post. I procrastinated for a long time, because I feel very awkward when taking pictures of normal things, like eating lunch. In the end, these pictures of us going about our normal, everyday life were taken on several different days, because that was the most convenient.

I now present to you, scenes from our everyday life in ShenZhen:


Angel looks forward to the free breakfast at work in the teachers' cafeteria every weekday!


This is Angel's class schedule for the 2nd semester--first semester, this seemed almost impossibly confusing, but I'm happy to say that this semester we sat down and figured it all out right away! Angel's classes are listed here as kou yu, conversational language classes.


This was my 2 kuai (Approx $0.35 US) lunch at school--rice, green leafy veggies, tomatoes and eggs, and something pale green that I couldn't identify. This is pretty standard. There are usually meat or fish options, but I don't ask for them because I'm not a fan of meat.


Hanging out at the bus stop, waiting for the work bus to pick up us for school. This was a chilly day, which explains all the layers. I don't have any pictures of our classes, because it's weird to be taking photographs when you're supposed to be teaching, isn't it?


Walking home from the bus stop. When we come home on the public bus from school, the closest bus stop is a 15 minute walk from the house, so we walk past a bunch of little shops on the way.


We were at Walmart to buy groceries for dinner, but Angel got distracted by these shirts. He prefers to wear short-sleeved shirts to work, since he often feels hot in the classroom, so he bought this one. I teased him just a little because he was torn between buying size L and size XL (In the USA it's usually a choice between S and M).


Coming home to our 3rd floor apartment!


Fridge, fully loaded.



Angel loves the bike rental system. It took us a long time and a lot of questions to even figure out where he had to go to purchase a bike rental card, and then we had to fill out a form in Mandarin...but he loves being able to ride a bike when he's going on long errands. The rental card was cheaper than the cost of buying a bike, and we didn't want to have carry a bike up 3 flights of stairs in order to store it, or buy a lock, or worry about it getting stolen, so this is a really cool system!


He solved a Rubik's cube for the first time ever-after watching Youtube tutorials for most of an evening. A lot of his students have Rubik's cubes and try to play with them in class, so that's what got Angel intrigued with them.

Those are a few glimpses of everyday activities. It's simple, and it's a lifestyle I'm enjoying very much in this season.

30 comments:

  1. I taught English in HuiZhou not so far from where you are now. This post brings back so many memories! Enjoy your time there, I think back on my time teaching ESL very fondly and there were certainly some hysterical moments.

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  2. I love these kind of posts :-) That lunch looks so good really! Did you try to solve the Rubik's cube? I never have but even trying to look at the videos sounds like a big task :-( haha

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  3. It looks like you are having a really good time there! It's so weird for me to think that even every day things like eating and shopping are so different there.

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  4. That bike rental system looks great! I would love to rent a bike since we have a rental station nearby, but students can use them for free, as well as having a semester ticket for buses - so most of the time the bikes get taken down hill, left in the city and then they take a bus back up, meaning that there are seldom any bikes left up here :/

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  5. It's funny the kids are back into Rubik's cubes. Those were popular "way back when".

    This was an interesting post. My husband has travelled to China many times but I haven't been. It gives me a better idea of what it is like.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  6. Love this post! So neat to see your daily life in a culture so different from ours in the US! I love the idea of a bike rental system, how cool!

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  7. This looks incredible - you are so lucky to be on such an amazing adventure! I hope you are having the time of your lives :)

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  8. Enjoyed the photos! 35 cents is quite the deal for a meal!

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  9. You guys are so savvy!! My uncle used to work in Shenzhen so I've been there!

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  10. I love this post! I've seen bike rental stands like that around Europe, but we've never used them. Mostly because the last time I was on a bike was 4 years ago and I almost crashed hard right in front of my mom's house. I wasn't doing anything fancy, just riding it down the street. My ego was severely bruised since my mom and Cass were standing in the driveway watching me...and laughing of course.

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  11. I always wanted to go to China. I going to get a few of my friends and get rested there. Great post, I had something to remember.

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  12. Thank you so much for posting! I loved the glimpse into your lives, they are very interesting, especially all the funny pictures you shared. I especially love the bottom one of of the solved Rubik's cube :)

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  13. I love this post and your blog! I teach reading in an elem school near Seattle, would love to visit and teach in China!
    So happy to connect!
    Valerie
    www.mapleleopard.com

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  14. Neat! I'm overwhelmed by all of the signage in Hanzi. When you're walking around, do you usually recognize most (or all) of the characters? I think that's what intimidates me about Chinese; the sheer volume and non-phonetic nature of the writing system.

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    1. I can't read all of the characters--restaurants and shops tend to often name themselves with very creative, beautiful, and obscure characters, which means that I often don't know how to say the names of our favorite restaurants. But I can read all of the practical characters I need to know for navigating, figuring out bus schedules, knowing which shops sell what (i.e., "Oh, here's a shop that will let us add money to our prepaid phone"). My Chinese knowledge has grown immensely since coming here, but in very practical ways more than artistic, literary ways. For example, I can fluently answer all the questions they ask me about exactly what kind of bubble tea I want to order. Practical. :P

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  15. Wow, lunches are so cheap!!! Well everything is really cheap! That's cool you can understand Chinese!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

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  16. This is really interesting. I would find the language barrier (just being able to not read the signs) to be my biggest hurdle.
    Scott's in Europe right now and that's his issue. I wouldn't have a lot of confidence in my ability to decipher!

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  17. What a fun post! I love seeing people's "day in the life" posts... especially ones in other countries. :)

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  18. i totally love this!!! i think i'm just really nosy and like to imagine people in their daily routine so i loved seeing this. our husbands are similiar in that they turned to youtube for hours to figure out that rubik's cube and then had the same grin. ha!

    and why does free food always taste better?!

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  19. It's so interesting to get a peek into other people's days. The bike rental is a great idea!

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  20. hehe, I definitely get how you feel about taking pictures of normal things in life. My "day in the life" post was definitely compiled over several days, and barely included actual people in it. :x

    I haven't been back to China in years, but I love how inexpensive the food is over there! <3 (And the shopping! I'm usually a L over there too, hahaha. My butt has a hard time fitting in the pants they sell! :[ ) That bike rental system is awesome! :]

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  21. Such inexpensive food! And the bike rental system, that is awesome we need something like that here.

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  22. I wonder what the educational ethics are in China, because it would be unethical and you could lose your teaching license if you posted photos of the minors in your class on the internet without approval from the parents and the school itself.
    But, I think it is so interesting the difference in sizes in China!

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  23. I like the concept of the post. I too feel weird taking photos of things, I always make Eddie take the photos, he gets so put out with me! When we move abroad we've decided to not get a car but just to purchases bikes to use for everything. I'm sure it'll be fun lugging them home and up the inevitable stairs we will have!

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  24. whoa - Walmart? I didn't expect that one. Go Angel! Rubiks cube solving is a very impressive skill!

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  25. I had to laugh about the shirt size conversion for Angel. The last swimsuit I bought was off eBay from China - I'm normally on the petite side in US stores, but the one I bought was "plus size Asian!"

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  26. Doing day in the life posts are always awkward because of taking photos of the mundane things but I sooo love to read them. I have only gotten around to writing one!
    35 cents for that feast!! That is incredible! Go Angel for solving the rubber cube!

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  27. This is so cool! I would definitely have a hard time figuring out how to fill out forms in Mandarin! Love the bike rental system though, I used that same kind of thing in Paris when I lived there for a bit!

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  28. Lunch and breakfast look tasty! That is awesome you guys have such good food at work. I can't imagine trying to figure out that class schedule! This was a great post!

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  29. I can't help but be excited for you guys all over again with this post. How cool is it to be living out this dream of yours? I pray Cory and I get to live an adventure half as exciting as this one day!

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