Getting Used to Life in Tianjin
We’ve officially been living in China for 17 days. It simultaneously feels as if we’ve been here for months and that we’ve just arrived. For a while it felt like every hour of our time was accounted for. Class, work, homework, some form of paperwork, etc.
But now things have calmed a bit, and we’re settling into the flow of our daily lives. Monday through Thursday we have Chinese class in the mornings from eight until noon. On Thursday afternoons we have our weekly courses for our International Business degrees. For the first semester we’re focusing on Mandarin as to make daily life easier here in Tianjin.
Classes are fairly difficult. The first week the focus was primarily on pronunciation and the four tones of the Chinese language. In addition to some basic phrases, (Hello, goodmorning, my name is…, excuse me, I want to go to.. etc, etc.) So, far the most useful phrase I’ve learned is Wo hen e. I am very hungry.
We teach English on the weekends, which is honestly an immense joy. I definitely prefer the advanced students. They say the funniest things. I try to structure practice sentences around their interests. For the boys we ask a lot of questions about Minecraft. It’s so fun to help them understand the meanings and usage behind the English language.
In our free time (which honestly hasn’t been too often), we’ve enjoyed exploring the neighborhood around our school. Called the Five Roads starting with Ma Chang Dao (Where TFSU is located). There are plenty of western style coffee shops. I’m writing this in one now. The architecture is a beautiful hybrid of Western aesthetic (From the Italian occupation during WWII) and Chinese décor and sensibilities.)
We’ve also taken to riding our bikes around the city. Adam received a bike as a gift for his birthday only a few days after our arrival. I’ve been using one of the many bike share apps to get around. It costs only 11RMB a month. ($1.6USD). Riding in Tianjin is a little intimidating; especially on the main roads as cars get a lot closer than what we’re used to. But it’s definitely a great way to see the city and get a feel for each neighborhood.
Because our school is International we’re making friends from all over the world. We’ve connected with our classmates really well because we share the frustrations of learning such a difficult language together. Because Adam and I are staying for longer than most, (many are here just for a semester) it’ll be sad to see them go! But, we are developing a core group of people that are here for 2.5 years like us.
Overall we’re adjusting to life here pretty well. I’m happy to be settling into our new normal. Making new habits, finding our favorite restaurants and carving out time to spend together as a couple.