Leaving Jiangshan Behind

It’s early Sunday morning and we are back in Hangzhou, the garden city. The last few days in Jiangshan were fun and included what I believe was a government mandated field trip on Wednesday. It was really quite bizarre: in buses borrowed from the city, the entire school drove almost an hour to a residential development called “New Socialist Countryside.” While the children–so energetic and mischievous in English class–lined up like little soldiers and listened to the yelling and lecturing of an official looking man, Dawson and I wandered through a little building that seemed to be some kind of headquarters. It had information about the development in Chinese, a pool table, and, on the wall, portraits of Mao, Stalin, Lenin, Marx, Engels, and one other man I didn’t recognize.

We walked around the land for about 10 or fifteen minutes. It was quite pretty and looked like a nice place to live, but I was baffled as to why we had driven nearly two hours to see it. Dawson suggests it’s the government letting its students know what it is up to and perhaps we should have more of that in the US. I, however, think that that would be nearly impossible without being propaganda, as it is so unlikely that many American students would discuss what they had seen with their parents to come to a thought out conclusion.

On the last day of school, there was a goodbye assembly and we were swamped with presents from the school, including huge, beautiful bouquets of flowers–silly because we were leaving the next day. Although I was pleased to leave and get on with traveling, I must admit I will miss some of my students. I can only hope what I have taught them goes to good use in their future lives.

Back in Hangzhou, we were brought, with all our luggage, to the headquarters of Zhejiang University Global TEFL Network, where we met with John Zhou, with whom we had been communicating prior to departure, in his swanky office. He gave us our salary in cash. What a great feeling. We treated ourselves to a wonderful dinner at a 150 year old restaurant right on the waters of West Lake. This afternoon, we leave for Xiamen.


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