Say now, whats this all about?
Afarther is a growing compilation of observations and thoughts during my - Allisters - stay in China.
The hope is that this will not only keep friends and family a tad more informed but also keep me honest - that is continuing to write and take pictures. The post count is sporadic but thankfully that only affects about 5 people.
...and what's going on?
Most of this site will relate to life in Guyuan, Ningxia Autonomous Province, China. On a map, find Beijing, drag your finger about halfway across the country and check right below Inner Mongolia. Thats it.
Life in Guyuan is described as rustic, even by Chinese standards, mainly subsistence farming and one of the poorest provinces in China. The environment is quite arid steppe land, not too much more north is the Gobi. I eat many, many potatoes.
For those of you that didn't know why I am in China, a quick recap.
I joined a Stanford-based program in June, Volunteers in Asia, a non-profit specializing in sending teachers to several Asian countries including Viet Nam, Indonesia, China and Laos. The teaching varies from english resource guidance at universities to introductory english at middle schools, I fall into the latter group. My classes will be Senior 1's - 15 years old and up with some language experience - and quite a few of them at a time. The typical class size is about 65 and the total class body I will be teaching weighs in at ~1100. I'll rattle off all their names when I get back.
This years crop of volunteers is about 20 strong - mainly from the West coast, a few of us from the East - ranging from fresh college grads to a couple in their 50's - and everyone of them great. We spent a bit more than 2 weeks in Chiang Mai, Thailand taking TESL classes, Teaching English as a Second Language, polishing our teaching skills and receiving some country specific training. How to hail a cab, pace yourself at a banquet and how *not* to give a clock as a gift. Bad luck you know...