Teaching in china? What can I say? Perhaps it says enough that my three-week intended visit to this fascinating county has been transformed into a five-month adventure. I still find myself postponing my departure date, unwilling to forsake all that I learn and experience daily about the wonder of Chinese life.

My students have taught me much about dedication, commitment, the strive for achievement and the need to excel. They have also taught me much about patience, understanding coaching and confidence building, about coaxing out the best in people, which is waiting to be expressed. I have learned, too, about the wonder of creativity, and the importance of humor and persistence, when the discretion of hear, hangovers and apathy invade the classroom. Perhaps most importantly, is that which my students have shown me about respect and kindness, about people, about genuine interest in others.

Life beyond the classroom is carefree and beautiful. Days are spent swimming in the river or in maintain springs, exploring the countryside on bicycles, dealing with punctures, failed brakes, vaporizing pedalsˇ­learning mandarin, Chinese pointing, calligraphy or Tai Chi, reading, listening, beingˇ­drinking local beer, meeting new people, eating delicious Chinese food, bargaining in the markets, scrambling up hilltops, getting caught in the rain and rediscovering the essence of life.

Life in China is also full of the frustration of adjusting to a different philosophy of being: seeking direction and answers when there are none. Expecting frankness where there isn't any hoping for proactively, flexibility, responsibility, organization, when they are hard to find. Ultimately, you are a foreigner in a totally foreign culture. You quickly learn to re-evaluate your life, yourself, your world.

I hope the above captures the essence of my experience in China thus far. This is what life is about. As the Chinese would say, "jump in the water" take the plunge. Rediscover it for yourself.

Jackie Price


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