The moment of Truth

…I guess I can get on here in China!!
Below is my email that I just sent out to everyone in case you’re not on my email list. I didn’t have a chance to put anything on here when I was in Beijing, so the brief summary for those who didn’t get my email was:
Great Wall x2 – WOW!!! This was my “I’m in China” moment. Absolutely breathtaking and quite dramatic. We even got Nicole up the wall in her wheelchair!
Tiennamen Square/Forbidden City – stunning architecture, history came alive.
Orientation – very usefull and so informative. I learned a lot that I have been keeping in mind while I am here.

And now for the most recent update:
Hello all,
I’ve been in Xining for 5 days now. The first couple of days were spent getting into the routine of things here. We are living in dorms with our language partners. Instead of the usual 6 or 8 people per room in Chinese dorms, there are just the 2 of us. Needless to say, we spend a lot of time with each other! Our mornings are spent in classes – first we have 30 minutes of Mandarin lessons followed by 1 hour of teaching on Chinese culture and customs. After a short break, it is the Canadian student’s turn – we teach on Canadian culture with a focus on English vocabulary and pronunciation. Our lessons are typically quite interactive. All of the students have fairly good English skills, especially in reading. We are helping with the spoken aspect as well as teaching them about Canada. It has been interesting to see how each culture views the other as we learn from eachother. After lunch, our afternoons are largely free, although there are somethings planned some days. On Friday in the afternoon, we are headed to the Tibetan Buddhist Monestary in the area. Apparently it is quite a big and important one for one of the Buddhist sects in the area.
My partner is lots of fun. Her english name is Jenny and she is from southern China originally. She is in the middle of exams now (they still have exams for the next week or 2 – off and on) so you can be thinking of her with those. Her major is foreign languages so in addition to English, she is studying Japanese as well. I think we get along well (it has only been 4 days, so it is a little early to tell!). She is older than some of the other students, so around my age which is nice. She is also quite independent and doesn’t feel the need to babysit me 24/7 which means I am able to have some down time by myself which I need being the committed introvert that I am!
It is really hard to believe, though, that I have only been in Xining for 5 days – it feels like we’ve been here forever! (In a good way…!) I could talk for hours about the differences I have noticed between Canadian and Chinese university life, but I’ll save those for a later email because I am afraid this one is already getting quite long.
Keep thinking of us – for unity for our team, for strength for us, that we wouldn’t run out of topics to talk about and that I would be able to help Jenny with her English skills because that is what I am here to do!
For those of you to whom I promised postcards, you’ll have to wait a few more weeks because the stamps I can get in Xining won’t fit on my postcards 🙂

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