Jimo Travel Blog

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Well, that awful feeling had hit me once more, the same as it did the first night in Qingdao. As I went to bed, sweltering and feeling the mosquitoes taste testing my legs already, I felt incredibly alone. Had a glance through my photos again, and managed to doze off.

Unfortunately, and I'm mortified to admit it, it really smashed me in the face the next morning, when I was struggling to communicate with the family, who were insistent on force feeding me pasteurised milk in pouches they'd bought in especially for me, while they sipped warm soy milk from plastic bags! I can't say they'd been nasty or anything like that, but I think in a way I'd left home so quickly after graduation etc I felt a bit uprooted. Unfortunately, the efforts to force feed me got a bit too much and I excused myself and broke down for a bit in my room. A quick call to the 'rents made me fell better, with Mum assuring me I could come home in a week if I hadn't settled anymore...I think she knew it was just tiredness and everything being a bit overwhelming at first that had got to me.

Anyway, once I'd pulled myself together and vowed not to be so damn stupid again, apologised to Ms Mao who was upset I was upset and eventually reassured her it was nothing she'd done, and I was just tired and silly - she said to think of her as my mother and if I was sad to speak to her. Bless...

So, today was the first day at school. We were told in Qingdao that we weren't actually going to be starting teaching until a week later than we'd thought, unless we were teaching 1st grade, who were starting and finishing a week earlier than the other 3 grades.

Our first day was put to good use sitting in on a class Mark (the Brit living in NZ) was teaching...he was a teacher by profession so it was great to see how it should be done. We were also each issued with our teaching supplies: a jotter, our textbooks and a timetable! Everything else was down to us. The group of us that ventured out that afternoon swore to find a supermarket or stationery store to stock up on pens, pencils, crayons and coloured paper!

That was our duties over for the day, so four of us (Henry, Roisin, Owen & I) set out to explore Jimo by bike. We'd each been lent one by our home stays; mine was a fetching mint green shade, with occasional rust patches, and a bamboo baby seat on the back! We thought we should find our way to the main park, Mohe Park, as it was central and might be a good place for us to meet up in the evenings. We were miserably lost and pedaled about for ages, until Owen got a puncture. Mercifully, there's a bike repairman on nearly every corner so it wasn't hard to get it fixed. He also pointed us to the park, which we'd actually been circling, but two blocks out!

We met up with three of the others, Eleanor, Laura (my soon to be travel buddy and general clever cookie) and Sophie, who'd walked to the park from school in a third of the time it took us to get there by bike. The boys went off in search of drinks and ice cream, returning with large bottles of Tsingtao (7 yuan/ 50 pence), bottled water (5yuan) and an unpleasant looking assortment of popsicles, but they were welcome in the mid afternoon heat. The park was really nice, with strange exercise machines for the public to use, which generally involved swinging back and forward or side to side! There were lots of ornamental gardens and lakes, and was also a popular spot for wedding photographs and we saw three newly married couples jostling for the best spot. I think Henry, a 6'2 ended up in one as a novelty, and no doubt the group of us were caught out wandering along behind a happy couple!

After that, it was back to the homestead to catch up on some sleep, as I was still feeling the effect of the jetlag. The family sat and smiled at me for most of the night before I hit the hay. Sleep was much needed!

AndiPerullo says:
Ms. Mao sounded like such a lovely lady. The Chinese can be really gracious like that. The bike ride around the park sounded like fun!
Posted on: Oct 19, 2007
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