First Impressions

It has been a long two first days.There is so much to say, I hope you don’t mind word heavy posts.  I can’t even believe that I’m sitting here writing this post, because at 6pm I was laying prostrate on my bed fast asleep as can be. I have no idea what came over me, but lately I’ve been so tired. I leave the house mornings at 6:45 am and get back around 5pm, so those are long hours, so that could be part of it.

The bus. After waking up, showering, getting dressed, and stuffing breakfast into my mouth, I set off for the bus stop. The bus is a little shuttle bus, not the kind you’d think of as a city bus, but then again, Yilan City is kind of a small city. This particular morning I felt a bit ill for some reason. The route of the bus goes over the train tracks, to the transfer station/bus station, and every time it is a recreation of every roller coaster I’ve ever been on. My stomach flops as the driver careens over the tracks at a speed that shouldn’t be allowed near any sort of alternative transportation. Lately I’ve taken to bracing myself as best I can, although I’m fairly sure I always end up making some sort of unseemly face. Sorry fellow riders.

When I got to school, the principal was standing at the entrance, greeting everyone. He said “Good Morning’ to me, as I passed him on my way to the teacher’s office. A bit later, before he got busy, I gave him the gift I’d brought from the states with me; a shirt from Burnt Hills, my hometown school, that said ‘Burnt Hills Ballston Lake Spartans’ on it. I had to explain with the help of my LET, but I think he liked it? Of course, I’ll never see him wearing it, because it is too casual for him to wear to work (but the other teachers were casual things…) but I hope it fits. He told my LET to translate that he felt bad that he had no gift for me. I countered by telling him that I only had wanted to bring a little of my school to his school, no need for a gift. I hope he understood.

Speaking of gifts, I’ll be having my own Earthquake Banana hat. I’m more than excited, although I hope I never actually have to use it, as we are on the 3rd floor. Is that safer or not as safe, I’m unsure. When I actually get it, I’ll be sure to take a picture.

LET Ellen has given me a set of textbooks, one each for grades 1-6, which I will be coteaching with her. The teacher’s book is in Chinese, but I kind of like being left to imagine up lesson plans for myself. Because Ellen is so busy, I sat for most of the morning making up lessons myself; pages and pages of handwritten notes off the top of my head to expand on everthing from ABC to the weather. The books are quite skinny, and take a semester, so we only cover about one or two pages a day! More on this in future posts, because there is a lot to say already, and will certainly be more as I actually start using the lessons I create. Having minimal experience in planning, I’m interested to see how this goes.

I’m fortunate enough to have a nice desk of my own in the teacher’s office. My LET provided me with a toothbrush as well, which is something of which I approve. I’d always wished that I didn’t feel so stupid brushing my teeth at school in the states. I can walk around the faculty office and say hi to others, but most don’t speak English at all/so well, so it’s limiting. I’m supposedly going to be teaching the teachers English too, so hopefully we can create some sort of relationship that way. I’ve seen other Fulbrighters posting about their schools and the environment seems a bit more welcoming. Some teachers awkwardly say hi to me, but that might be all they can manage. I was told yesterday that my pronunciation was perfect, which was really kind. I’m trying my best, but I’m so frustrated about not really being able to speak as much as I thought I could. More in another post on that.

The computer on which I type is all/mostly in Chinese. It is also somehow unfortunately connected via wireless to the other classroom’s smart board with some extremely frustrating program that draws randomly when the other class moves their mouse. I’m thankful for access to the internet, but have been known to grumble about the mouse moving randomly.

So I shan’t bombard you. There is a lot to say, and I could honestly write about everything, but I’ll spare you every inner working of my mind. In typical Hannah fashion, I have a different journal for every purpose under the sun, which helps keep my thoughts organised in their right places. Hoping the wrong thought doesn’t spill over into the wrong place.

Love, Hannah

ps: Anything you’d like to hear about?

7 thoughts on “First Impressions

  1. Please explain what is an earthquake banana hat. It sounds like a candidate for the most unhackable password prize ! Also, you make that same face going over the road bumps in USA (-;). I love to have lots of description of what your classes are like in terms of materials and activities. What do your students call you?

    • Because it is yellow of course! When you put it on, it protects and covers your head. Maybe I will learn more about it in the future. OOOH you’re right. shh let’s not speak more of it.
      I know. I hate road bumps. theymake me feel like my stomach is going to fly away.
      The students call me ‘Teacher Hannah’ in the typical asian sing song fashion 🙂

  2. I loved your account of your impressions. I also want to see photos of the children etc. Your illness on the bus could be anxiety. Your grandmother,namely mimaw, me Loves all your blogs! Hang in there, kiddo!

    • I took some yesterday and more will be forthcomng! Anxiety it could be but it’s also the flying stomach feeling. Love you!

  3. Hi Hannah! I feel as though I just had a visit with you, as I was drinking tea and reading all your posts. This sounds like such an exciting adventure. Thanks for sharing so many details. I have been thinking about hobbies lately and wonder if you could write about what the adults you have met so far and can communicate with, do for fun in their spare time. Thanks! Jeanne

    • Oh thanks so much for following! It means the world to me to know people are reading.
      I’ll begin asking people what they do in their spare time. I know that my coteacher has very little of it- with three kids and a 730-4pm job, we are all busy! I’ve seen some Tai Qi though, and aim to get involved somehow 🙂

  4. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your photos. It is great to know in detail what is happening there with you and your adventures! Tai Qi is a great think for you to do. I would
    like to learn that myself! Love you!!

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