Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Many Partings

I've been in California for a week now, but I never posted about my final days in China.

Because our replacements were coming a bit early, I left my cool downtown apartment and moved across town to the college where my friends teach. One of the teachers, Tom, just happened to have two apartments in town, and generously offered me his place to stay for my last week in Qinhuangdao. It was pretty great being so close to everyone there, especially my friend Morgan, who is the mover and shaker of all ex-pat events in town.

My last week was a crazy parade of farewell dinners, assisting the new teachers, and doing anything I hadn't done yet. This included going to Beidaihe, the somewhat ritzy beach area, and going to the local zoo.

The beach was nice, though it wasn't warm enough to go swimming, but the real treat was the zoo. We rented a car and driver for the afternoon and got to drive directly into the animal enclosures! It was totally Jurassic Park. We could roll down our windows and wave at the lions and tigers just outside our car. There was a scary moment when our driver's window wouldn't roll UP, but otherwise we made it through unscathed. We even got to get out of the car at one point and keep the bears at bay by throwing them pieces of bread.

In addition, my students took me out for a farewell dinner and gave me some sweet, but strange gifts, including a hot pepper-shaped pillow and two porcelain fertility dolls.

I had a great time showing the new teachers, Cally and Colin, around Qinhuangdao. They're going to do great there.

I finally got my fortune told by a street psychic palm reader. Apparently I'm going to have a big fortune after I'm 30, and my first child will be a girl. Here's hoping!

One of the best things about my last week in QHD was the farewell dinner I went to with the other teachers. We went to this Vietnamese restaurant, and because it was their last night in business, and because we were foreigners, we were given everything for free, including bottles of wine and beer. It was a nice end to my time in China. Later, I hope to work with Andrew to write a final impressions post.

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