A while back I wrote a blog post, A day in the Life: Small town addition and I thought I'd update, and do a day in the life, China addition. Now that we've been in China for about a month, we're starting to have more of a schedule. Throughout the week Drew and I will teach classes and take turns with the kids. I work 3 days a week, and he works 5. I typically have 1 class on each day, but on odd weeks will have 2 classes on one of my teaching days. Drew will teach anywhere from 1 to 3 classes in a day. Our busiest day is "odd Wednesdays" (they do an odd/even week schedule, it can be confusing) and on those days we switch off from 8 in the morning back and forth until 6 pm. Other days, like Fridays, I don't teach at all, and Drew is done working by 10 AM, so our day depends a lot on our class schedules.
As often as we can, we try to eat lunch on campus in the cafeteria. I've actually become really fond of the cafeteria food, and it's nice to (attempt to) socialize with the other teachers. Another reason why we love to eat at the cafeteria, is because it only costs .45 US cents, so we can feed our family lunch for less than a dollar! There are always so many options at the cafeteria, so it's been nice to try different things and see what we like, without the risk of paying a lot of money. There are typically 2 main dishes to choose from, and about 10 sides, and you can take as much as you'd like. Today, lunch was awesome! They had chicken and peppers in a spicy sauce that I put roasted peanuts on top. They often have salted, roasted peanuts in a tin by the chopsticks, and they are SO GOOD! Today they also had cauliflower which is one of our favorite things to eat here. Ellie loves the cauliflower and cabbage here in China, they know how to cook vegetables way better than we do in America, I've never prefered vegetables over carbs or meat until moving to China! Today on the menu, they also had marinated cucumbers ( i think they're marinated in garlic, but I cant figure out what else) and pickled lotus root, which is actually amazing! There is always rice and steamed buns, as well as soup you can choose from every day.
A couple odd things we've found about eating habits in China are, they eat at specific times, and there isn't a huge window of time to get food. So we have between 11:30 and 12:15 to get lunch because they close down at 12:30, so we've had to get used to eating lunch earlier and being on time. Another thing that we've found odd, is they don't really drink water or soda/juice with their meals, they drink hot soup or porridge in little bowls along side their meals. We love cold water, which is nearly impossible to get here, so every morning, Ellie's chore is to fill up our water bottles and put them in the fridge, and we take those with us to lunch.
Some days, they have whole fish with the head on, or cow stomach, and those are NOT my favorite days, but there has always been something I find that I like, so the cafeteria has been great for us. The kids look forward to hopping on the e-bike and riding down to the cafeteria every day.
After Drew and I are done with classes, we spend some time preparing lessons for the next day, working on the blog and studying Chinese. In that time, we also try to pick up the house, or maybe do some laundry before heading out to lunch. Laundry is a bit more of an ordeal here, because everything has to be hung to dry, so it's important to hang the clothes or we won't have anything to wear the next day (learned that the hard way)!
After getting any of our chores done (on my days off, I try to work on them while Drew is teaching) we love to go out and explore. We always have our bike charging, because we never know where we are going to end up. Our goal is always to get lost and find amazing food, and we've been pretty successful at that! We love riding around and trying to find malls and shopping centers, so far we've found 6 malls biking distance from us! When we find a new place, weather it be a mall or a park, we like to walk around and find a place to eat before heading home.
Although I get sick of eating Chinese food all the time, I have thoroughly enjoyed not having to cook dinner. It keeps the house from getting messy and I feel like the best conversations Drew and I have, are when we are out to dinner. Since we don't have to worry about cooking, serving up the kids, or cleaning, Drew and I can just sit, talk and enjoy the kids...usually...the kids don't have a perfect record for dining etiquette, but they're getting better. The first few days in China, Grant broke something literally every time we went out to eat. The kids weren't used to eating on actual china, so they've had to learn to be more careful with their dish ware. I'm pleased to announce though, it's been like 2 weeks since we've broken anything, so we're making progress!
After dinner we head back home, and have a family tradition we do every night. We live on the college campus, and whenever we get back to campus, rather than going straight home, we cruise around. It's been something we really enjoy doing together. It's typically quiet and there's always a nice breeze (that doesn't smell like poo, because we're far enough a way from the city, so that is a big plus)., and the kids pretend we're super sneaky spies and try to get around campus without being spotted. Drew and I always looking for little back roads and paths to feed into their fantasy and try to play along. Every time we go down a hill they yell "ROLLER COASTER!" and scream and laugh, so between sneaky spies and roller coasters, it's always a party. I've really appreciated this time where we are disconnected from our electronics and playing together, it's something that I, and i bet the kids, will remember for a long time.
Our bedtime routine is not great, and we're still trying to bribe the kids into sleeping in their own room, but we'll get there. For now this is what a typical day looks like and so far we really love it!
Below is a photo of the street we live on along with other photos we've snapped while riding around on the bike.