Suzhou city is located approximately 700 km from Shanghai. I am teaching here at Sucheng #1 Middle School for two weeks and I head back to Shanghai on the weekends to spend time with my beloved brother, sister in law and new friends in the city.
The school kindly put me up in a nice apartment building here in this ‘small’ city – with six million residents it’s small for China. It’s a new city with extreme construction going on everywhere, and they are even planning on moving the complete city-center to another location in the city. This city is growing majorly and everything around me looks the same.
When I asked the students what their favorite city in China is, they replied that Suzhou City is their favorite; a good sign indeed. I don’t particularly care for it much, besides the fact that it is extremely Chinese and Shanghai is ‘less Chinese’, but a lot more fun.
The students are amazing, they are very eager to learn and we discussed some interesting things together, such as that Panda’s eat meat when worst comes to worst, the kids don’t eat dessert, Ping Pong is boring to watch, American food is unhealthy, and when I asked one student what a gypsy is after describing the word to him, he replied: “you?”.
The market here is so cheap, I bought most of my fruits ans vegetables for the week for a total of 3 euros. I also had to buy a pan, which was also 3 euros. It seems that they eat quite healthy here, and most of the fruits and vegetables seem to be local – there is lots of agriculture around as well. Still too much oil on the dishes when you eat out.
The first day the principal and my colleagues took me out to dinner, we had some amazing foods that I hadn’t tried before, and we ate in a private room which is popular to do here in China. We even ate fried crickets! They didn’t realize that I could eat these since I’m a vegetarian, but it’s difficult to explain that I’m an insectarian to a group of people with whom you are already having difficulty speaking to.
Sucheng #1 Middle School is named this way because it’s the number one middle school in the Anhui province – aptly named indeed. My job is to teach the students to speak better English, as they are all planning on studying abroad in either the UK or the USA.