First of all, China is insane. I've been here for 3 days and I have so many just incredible stories that I will share when I get back.
For the first 2 days we were here, after our absolutely epic plane ride of 2.5 days, we stayed in Tunghai, which is a town about 2 hours away from Kunming, where I am right now. While we were there, adjusting to the time difference (13 hours) and having our orientation, we got a little taste of chinese culture, visited some confucian and taoist monastaries (the few that werent destroyed in the cultural revolution of 1949), and relaxed a little bit. Yesterday we drove back to Kunming and had our first night with our host families. To say that the culture shock of coming from Bua, Ecuador to Kunming, China was jawdropping would be an understatement. Let's put it this way: In Bua, I had to walk a mile through the jungle to get to a phone, in Kunming, we have a ping pong table, a small Koi Pond, a gigantic flat screen television, and a beautiful top story view of Kunming. You really can't get much different than that.
My host family is incredibly nice and does not stop piling food onto my plate, which I am totally fine with. The food here has been outstanding. In China, they purposefully make/order more food than any human could possibly consume, so Zach, Noah, and I make it our duty to try and prove them wrong. Chances are I will come out of this country morbidly obese.
My host father is the dean of history at Yunnan University, where we are taking chinese lessons, and my host mother is a botany professor (and an unbelievable cook). My host brother is 16 and goes to school nearby. His english is not very good, but hopefully by being around me he can make it a lot better. My host father speaks no english and my host mother speaks a little. We have started taking chinese but it is perhaps the most difficult language in the history of the world to speak, I literally cant pronounce 98% of what they are teaching me, but we'll see how it goes.
I start teaching my first english class tomorrow, so I have to go prep for that before I go to bed, which should be interesting. I am teaching two classes tomorrow with a girl on the trip, Alexandra Duncan. We are going to try to explain the idea of Halloween to them, which could be kind of difficult. If that fails, we are just going to break out our photos and show them pictures of our families.
I also picked up a number of bootleg DVDs today. If you want me to send you back some, just let me know, for the high quality bootlegs it's like $20 for every episode of every season of one show. I'm thinking about buying every episode of The Wire and watching them back-to-back-to-back at some point.
I'll probably be updating regularly here, because internet is easy to come by (I'm sitting in my bed at my homestay house typing this right now). If I get lazy though and don't update, send me an email to remind me.