Oh my gods, I’m so sorry! I got busy trying to catch up my NaNo and completely forgot to update what’s going on with my China trip.
So I got my city list a couple weeks ago and while none of the three cities I was hoping for were on there, there were a couple that I played tug of war with for a few days. My initial choice was Yinchuan which was founded in 678 and has freaking camelback riding listed as a daily activity.
But the reason Yinchuan was open was the teacher who is there now wasn’t certain if she was going to stay. When she found out the school was offering the position to others she decided she’d like to stay on.
I did get my second choice which is Yan’an and it was settled almost 1400 years ago. And claims it is the birthplace of Chinese civilization. Seriously, there’s a mausoleum about a two hour trip outside of the city of someone named Huangdi? I haven’t put a lot of research into that yet, but from what I’ve read he’s often referred to as the First Ancestor.
Yan’an was also the Communist capital for about 13 years and they are really proud of that. Which is neat, because I feel like in US schools we get a lot of “Communism is super bad, stay away from it!” and when I get to China I’ll get a log of “Communism is super great, come get some!” So between the two viewpoints I should be able to formulate a well-rounded opinion.
Yan’an is located on the Loess plateau and is actually in the middle of the freaking Yellow River.
So it’s got really cool bridges all over the place just so you can get from one side of the city to the other. And with that it has a lot of scenic natural beauty, like:
The largest natural habitat of natural peonies, Wanhua Mountain
Not to mention within the city there are over Eight Hundred (800) historic monuments. There’s also a great deal of folk customs that are still practiced there and I’m super excited about that. Most of the articles I read also mention the food and the “Eat Street” which is downtown. Local vendors start setting up about 7pm and it’s like a street long buffet. Pretty much barbecued everything, including donkey meat (?).
Let’s be real, I’ll have to try it at least once.
And it’s a day trip away from the Terracotta Warriors and Xi’an. There’s also an airport within the city that the bus goes to, which is awesome, because I can fly to Xi’an in the morning and get there in three hours, stay all day, and then hop on a bus or train and overnight it back to Yan’an.
I am getting a bit ahead of myself on that.
But I’m so excited and the school where I’ll be working is only a half hour walk from my apartment or I can catch a bus and be there in fifteen.
I also got a packing list when I was put in contact with the owner of the school. It’s a compilation of things like food, medicine, clothes and miscellaneous things that they list from “Everywhere, easy to find” to “Impossible to find, bring from home.” This thing is helpful and hilarious. I don’t know who wrote it, but I want to be their friend.
In regards to swimsuits: “Swimsuits are plentiful and easy to find, though most Chinese men prefer a speedo-type swimsuit which leave little to the imagination, you may want to bring your own.”
And…bagels: “We have received unconfirmed reports of a Taiwanese bakery in the southern district that sells bagels.”
Now I’m in the process of applying for my visa and getting my welcome letter and then, at least legally, I’ll have everything I need. Now I just have to figure out what to pack.