The day after Alex and I completed our training and were allowed to start teaching in the classroom, we went on a five-day holiday. This is not because teaching three and five year olds fried our brains completely, but rather because nearly everyone in China gets October Holiday off. While this came as a rather welcome break, there were some consequences that were less than desirable. Firstly, nearly everyone travels during their holiday. Alex and I couldn’t leave the city because you need to have your passport to book a hotel or buy a train ticket, and our passports are currently being updated by the Public Security Bureau to reflect that we are gainfully employed in a one-year contract by a Chinese company. Which is definitely a good thing, except we couldn’t go anywhere for about two weeks while that was being done. Which means we get to explore Beijing with just about everyone else in China. I exaggerate slightly, but during October Holiday around 12 million additional people use their break to see the capital. Due to this, we were warned to stay away from super touristy sites like Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Summer Palace.
So what exactly did we do? The first thing Alex would tell you is that, “WE BOUGHT A SCOOTER!” Scooter may be a bit of a generous term, because it’s basically a bicycle with a small electric chargeable motor that tops out around 20 m.p.h. but we really enjoy getting around our neighborhood with it and no longer having to carry home groceries from down the street.
We also went to the China Open, the largest tournament of the Asian circuit. While I know very little about tennis, it was still very fun. We saw Rafael Nadal play a doubles match, watched an American woman win in a tense match, and cheered for an Australian underdog who had played his way in from the preliminaries. Alex enjoyed the high quality tennis being played before our eyes, and I enjoyed the $15 ticket price. It was a great day, and we explored more of Olympic Forrest Park as we tried to find the tennis complex—win-win!
While those were the main events of our holiday, we also spent a lot of time relaxing, which was great after all the day-to-day stresses of finding and setting up our apartment, completing our training, and meeting tons of new people through our jobs. While it wasn’t the most exciting break, it was rejuvenating, and we hope to bring our best to all the classes we’ll be tackling in the coming weeks.