I'm still not entirely sure how I ended up here, I just went with the general flow of going abroad for another year and somehow ended up in a rather nice job in a rather nice city in a country that will look pretty good on my CV but that speaks a language I cannot understand at all.
The first week was a bit strange, walking far too much in the heat and humidity to the metro stop, everywhere I went seemed to take 10 minute walk at either end, which combined with fresher flu didn't make me feel like exploring much so I survived on MacDonalds and KFC as they're both within spitting distance of the hotel and seem far safer than the street vendors and far less daunting than the crowded canteens the locals seem to use.
I've since come to appreciate the small triumphs, such as recognising the characters of the subway stations, dry shirts, and passing solids again. I've been experimenting with the street vendors, who'll cook you noodles in a burning hot wok for about 30p. Noodles seem safe, and are tasty. The local delicacy is spicy red crayfish (which I'm not brave enough to try from the street guys yet), and everywhere has strage things on skewers which I'm not even contemplating (even Pizza Hut has pizza with tentacles according to their adverts, but I've not seen one of those).
Fortunately there are several places that'll deliver a good meal to work for about a pound, and the various support staff are only too happy to order for me, meaning that I don't have to leave the air conditioning or test out my international sign language - I'm also not in danger of starving, which is nice. There are also 6 or 7 restaurants in my mall my school's in, ranging from traditional, to pizza, to a mongolian hot pot place - the main advantage being that from the moment I arrive at work I don't have to leave air conditioning again until it's time to go home.
It's two weeks now and I'm settled into a flat, small but I don't have to share it with anyone, and it's handy for the metro, no more 10 minute walks in the blistering humidity. I'll probably get around to cooking when I can be bothered to buy pans and things, or maybe I'll just eat out every day, seems lazy, but there's no real difference in price and shopping is annoying. Work is good, everyone is friendly, the school is relaxed, lots of pretty young things to flirt with, and as that seems to be a fairly central part of my job everyone's happy.
Other than that, life goes on much as before. The lack of rugby and motorcycles doesn't seem too bad, the great firewall of china is annoying, no youtube or facebook, but I'm working on getting round that.
How you all doing?