As I look out over the city's skyscraper-filled horizon, it dawns on me how incredible things seem here from my first impressions - and Teacher Owen hasn’t even got started yet.
With my first coffee in my new apartment close to hand, I have just sussed a way to post to my Blogger account from Changzhou city, here in China... I’ll be one of the city’s only underground bloggers from up here on the 15th floor.
I have to send my posts to a contact in the UK who posts them on my behalf. That's legit I figure, seeing as access to Blogger alongside my Youtube and Twitter are all barred from here. I can access the BBC News website though so all is not completely lost.
Apparently there is a far easier workaround available, this involves downloading some free VPN software that can be used. That however would be illegal I guess, possibly/maybe, and some could argue it's morally wrong. And what with me being the ever-ish-angelic, law-abiding citizen and general all-round pillar of the community that I am – would never dream of such a thing.
I’m living with a super-cool fellow teacher [or so I though upon first impressions]; an American/Mexican of Vietnamese heritage who goes by the name of Johnny. He’s a youthful, insanely energetic hip-hop dancer and an ex-Mormon missionary if you please. I'm encouraging him to write a book as the guy's certainly got an inspiring life story to tell. The rest of the team here is also really great. There’s expats from the UK, US, Australia, Canada and South Africa.
Since I’ve arrived in Changzhou – an amazing (small) city of 4.5 million people, just one hour’s train journey from Shanghai - I’ve been getting au fait with my surroundings: the culture, the language and the logistics. The food is amazing, but tricky to order as most locals don’t speak any English at all. This is great for business of course. Luckily Johnny and some of the other guys have a very impressive grasp of the lingo and they’re helping me out no end.
My China classroom debut (proper) is coming up fairly soon. I will update the blog with more details when I get a chance… for now: I'll be doing it for the kids.