I think this should be a weekly thing...
So. On Fridays i go and buy food somewhere because i don't finish teaching until late.

I've been trying to try all the local food stalls to see what they offer. So now, my dear readers, I'm going to share the goodness (or...badness) with you!
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This is the fried rice i got tonight. There are about 7 fried rice stall and each of them has something different, so i'll start with this one. 

It's got rice, meat (?) green stuff, other green stuff, oil and seasoning. Don't know what the seasoning is.

This one's ok, but not my favourite. I like my fried rice to have green onions in at least, if not real onions. I would like them to offer lotus root too, it's my favourite vegetable!

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Milk Tea!
I love milk tea. Probably more than any other drink (except, of course, you, you cheeky Mr Daniels...). It is a milk based tea product. It's fairly strong tea here which is nice. I haven't worked out how to get different flavours here yet. It has tapioca pearls in the bottom and a really wide straw so you suck up and eat the pearls as you drink the tea.
Right now it's cold, so i've gone with a nice hot cup!

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These are little patty things. As i walked past the stall i'm sure i smelt some kind of curry thing, and i was hoping they'd be like Jamaican patties. 

Sadly, they're not. I'm not quite sure what's in them but they're not the tastiest thing i've had. Nucky will get to try these!!

 
So, i've been reading a few forums for teachers coming to China, and teachers who are currently here.

I have a question for all of them: What is the obsession with 'bringing Christianity' to China? It is against the law to preach at the citizens, yet a lot of people seem to think that they'll be ok because they'll be protected by some bloke in the sky.

I have no issue with what religion you are, but when you start trying to change the beliefs of students and those around you, then i have a problem! The Chinese are doing perfectly well being Taoist/Daoist/Buddhist. They have their own set of beliefs, some of it enshrined in the ancient religions of China (I know one student who told me that every room in her Grandmother's house has a shrine for a particular god) some of it comes from Confucianism.

Teaching religion is a risky thing to do here. If you are reported and found to be guilty then deportation is the best thing you can hope for. The other side of that coin is jail. Pure and simple.

At the last place, even after the government sent a directive to the college telling them that there had been reports or Christianity being preached, the other FTs STILL taught religion in their classes. I'm not talking the stories of Christmas and Easter, but whiteboards FULL of religious wording, teaching the students hymns etc.

For anyone coming to China to teach who thinks that they can do some kind of missionary work, don't bother. It is offensive to these people and their long-held beliefs. If you NEED to go to church every sunday, or cover your living quarters and classrooms in iconography or tell everyone you meet how a being in the sky saved you and is the greatest thing and they should talk to him then stay at home and do it there. 

If, however, you can tone down your fervour and enjoy your religion in the privacy of your own home and not feel the need to change everyone around you, then this is a good country to come to. Some people are more than happy to talk beliefs with you as long as you don't berate them for not believing the same as you. I have had some wonderful conversations with Chinese people about the similarities between paganism and buddhism. We all go away having learnt something. I've been fascinated by the fortune telling here and the beliefs in the 'room Gods' - literally, the Kitchen God, the Bedroom God and the Family God who watch over the rooms. You only get these good conversations if you're prepared not to judge, not to preach and to speak in a civil manner.

That leaves me the other question: Why is it that the 'Christians' I come across are always judgemental and anything but Christian? I got told by a very upset student last year that the other FTs had told her (before i got there, before they'd even met me) that i was a bad person because i wasn't Christian, and they were better people because they were. Luckily, this was a student that i taught the first year i was there. She was upset on my behalf, but we had a chat about ignorance and how if you make decisions without knowing the facts then you're likely to make bad decisions. She agreed that this is what they had done and she would ignore anything else they had to say about me, or would come up to me and ask. I don't know how much damage they did to any other students that i had either taught previously, or begun to teach that year. I just hope that they now realise that their unchristian-like behaviour might have earned them a reprimanding at the Pearly Gates.
 
Rebecca is my new FAO (Foreign Affairs Officer). She is lovely! Not as outgoing as Susan, but a generally lovely person.

Today was her birthday and she came to my class this afternoon to invite me to her birthday meal. I was honoured to go! Then she told me it was a family meal...i was a little apprehensive, but i went.
I am so glad i went! The food was amazing and her family are so lovely. They all said that i have another Chinese family now, so i'm up to two chinese families - one in Chongqing and one in Huaian. There will be photos later. For some reason they won't upload at the moment :(

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The Children (Rebecca, Her husband, Steven and Me!

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The Family