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Anyone in Kunming looking for an English teacher?

CHINA | Friday, 23 April 2010 | Views [401]

There was a heavy, pounding rain last night in Kunming and I am told that it is rare for that to happen this time of year. I think that the unseasonable weather brought out the craziness in some people because there was a ruckus that was going on at street level that went on after midnight. Combine that with the my snoring bunkmate and it makes for a night with very little sleep. Despite this, I was out of bed by 7:15 so that I could go do T’ai Chi in the square. I ran downstairs and cruised the area for folks doing the Yang form, but this morning I didn’t see anyone doing that particular form so I claimed some pavement as my own and did it by myself. I got a few odd looks, but I was really trying to focus on the exercise and not on the little bit of attention I was receiving. I was also trying to keep from falling over.

The culinary specialty of Kunming is guoqiao mixian or across-the-bridge noodles and this is what I tried for my lunch today. For 9CNY you get thinly sliced slivers of raw pork, chicken or seafood, diced vegetables, a bowl of rice noodles and a big steaming bowl of chicken broth. You quickly add the meat, noodles and vegetables to the broth and it cooks everything together. I went to the Jiang Brothers restaurant and at 12:30 it was packed with customers. I stood in line at the window in front of the restaurant and they were very patient with me and nudged me through the ordering process. When you go inside the dining room is bustling with diners sucking down noodles while engaging in lively conversations and waitresses delivering bowls of noodles, bowls of broth and plates of sliced meats and vegetables. It’s madness, but for an extra 20CNY you can go upstairs into the much quieter dining room. A waitress helped me to find a place to sit. You would have thought I was a toddler the way I was being led around, but if it meant I had the opportunity to try the local specialty, so be it. Once I got all of my food mixed together with a little bit of hot chili oil to clear my sinuses, I was sucking down noodles just like a local. About halfway through my meal, an older couple sat down to theirs. I looked up for a second sniffling from the spicy heat that I had added to my lunch and the man asked “hao chi ma?” (good food?). I smiled like a little kid and said, “hen hao chi.” (very good food)

I was going to try to go to the bamboo temple in the afternoon, but I liked Kunming so much that I spent the time instead online looking for a teaching job in or near the city. I also looked for jobs around Chengdu or somewhere else in the Sichuan province. I was totally qualified for most jobs with the exception of one thing: experience. Most schools wanted teachers who had been working for two or more years. I sent my resume to everyone who wasn’t demanding experience. I already have been accepted to a program that will set me up in Shenzhen as a teacher, but I would need to shell out $2000US and go through TEFL training again. Not only that, but I wouldn’t get my first paycheck until the end of September. I just don’t have the money for it. I thought that it was worth giving up an afternoon to see if there was any possibility that I could teach out here in the Yunnan or Sichuan province and not have to pay a huge amount of money up front.

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