Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Joy of Soap

We got up late this morning- I woke up at 9:00, Shannon woke up at 10:00, and we got started on the day at 11:00.

We were all up late last night cleaning, and didn't get to bed until about 2:00 in the morning- but the bathroom ended up basically clean! It's really nice to be sharing the apartment with three people who like things clean. I'm not sure if Jeremiah or I would have gotten around to deep cleaning for several months.

This morning we did more cleaning, the girls did the bathroom again, Jeremiah cleaned the TV, stand, and accessories, I washed walls, and we all worked on the living room. We took a break at 1:00 for pizza[1]- it was really good! It wasn't quite the same as American pizza, but it was remarkably close, and very good. We'll probably do it again sometime.

We had a cleaning lady come this afternoon for several hours and work on cleaning the kitchen. It's completely cleaned by any stretch of the imagination, but it looks so much better, we can visualize actually preparing food in it on a regular basis. It really is that much better.

After the cleaning lady left, Jessica went to observe an English lesson taught by Lounes[2], one of the teacher/administrators of the language center. They got back to the apartment at about 5:30, at which time Lounes invited us to go out to the Chinese market with him. Aparently, he goes there several times a week to buy fresh food, and really likes seeing "real" China. It was quite an experience. We're going to go back in a few days (after our refrigerator is up and running) to do some grocery shopping. The market runs along a "river" (one of the wide algae covered canals seen frequently in Chinese photographs) and through a few alleyways, and consists primarily of food stalls- fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood, chickens, pork, breads, a few barber shops, and a few tiny restaurants. Almost everything was fresh, especially the seafood. It was a bit unsettling to see a lady picking raw shrimp out of a bowl, then seeing that the shrimp were still crawling. We're going to go back.

Lounes bought chicken, fish, and potatoes for about 15 yuan, then invited us all up to his apartment for dinner an hour later. It was delicious! The chicken was cooked, the fish was splayed and baked, and the potatoes were sliced and cooked with ginger and garlic. We stayed and visited for a while, and talked about his background with the language school. It is encouraging to hear from him what the school is trying to accomplish in Wenzhou- there are several English schools, but only two of them are properly registered, and only one of them is investing in its teachers and giving them ongoing training.

From talking with Lounes tonight and Mr. Jiang on Thursday, it seems that the David Cambridge English Language Center is striving to create a language center which is good for its students (teaching them English, not teaching them how to pass an exam), good for its teachers (investing in their ongoing training, providing integrity throughout their business relationship), and good for its investors (a well-run business that provides a quality service and takes care of its employees is well situated to be financially successful). It sounds like it will be a good company to be associated with. We're going to meet the staff and begin our on-site training on Tuesday, as most of the teachers have Mondays off.

While Jessica was out watching the English lesson, Jenny and Shannon went for a massage. Shannon told me all about it when they got back, and it sounds amazing! Jeremiah and I are going to go next month when we have more local cash.

- Jonathan

[1] Pizza Hut. It cost 150 Yuan--$23 USD--to get one 12 inch double cheese and one 9 inch peperoni delivered to our apartment. Apparently, pizza is one of the very few American foods that is popular in Asia. We saw several Papa John's in Shanghai.

[2] Lounes is one of the investors in the language center. He is from Algeria, with Spanish and French parents. He speaks five languages, including Mandarin, has a few years experience teaching English, and has been working with the Language Center since its inception last year. He is very hospitable- when he found out we had gotten to our apartment two nights ago, he came right down to meet us and welcome us to Wenzhou.


Mom H said...

Thanks for the post!!!
I'm sorry to hear how dirty your apartment was- but grateful that you've had help getting it clean!

Lounes sounds wonderful-knowledgable of the area and the school, hospitable- what a blessing from the Lord! And to know that your school is operating with such integrity- PTL.

Our love and prayers are with you all.

I heard the massage was not only wonderful, but very inexpensive. Sign me up!!

Dad H. said...


Thank you so much for taking the time to post all of these details. When we at home can't talk to you guys on a daily basis, then it really makes us feel more like we are there when we GET all of these details. The pictures too help us to 'see' you at home and out in town etc. I personally really appreciate it.

Dad H.