Note the pics in the post below. As you can tell, I’ve been freed from my apartment to some extent. I am still hanging out at my place most of the day, but have taken a few minor excursions out. Being low-key about it. :)
Met a few more people too. A couple students, Jo and Ellie, who are friends with Will and Miriam (one of the girls I came with from NWYM) came over and chatted at our place for a while, which was nice. People’s schedules are so much more laid back here. Someone might say they’ll meet you at 2pm and they will arrive at 4pm. People who value promptness and scheduled plans might go crazy here. It seems it’s important to be flexible, spontaneous, and maybe most importantly, willing to be fully present in a given setting. The people I’ve met love to chat, get to know each other, practice their English with foreign teachers like myself, and are in no rush to leave. Everyone is so friendly and without overwhelming agendas that require them to hop from event to event in a tightly packed daily schedule. Living here exposes how fast-paced I normally live, at least relative to the locals I've met. I continue to be challenged to savor and be present in every experience and interaction rather than be restless waiting for something new.
Also met Will’s friend Overjoy, and went to his office to play ping-pong. Notice how drenched I am in the pic of Will and I. It is HOT and also very humid…playing ping-pong definitely brings out the sweat. Overjoy (his English name) met Will through “English Corner,” a casual café-like setting on campus where anyone can come (students or locals) and practice their English with teachers. People here love to practice their English, and this teacher-student relationship very naturally seems to lead to friendships, as is the case with Will and Overjoy.
Ping-pong was fun…I thought I was holding my own for a while, until I realized Overjoy was being generous with me to make it competitive. He’s much better than me. :)
That’s about the extent of my activity and interaction, given the situation. Finished “The Alchemist”—brilliant. Also got some curriculum materials, so I’m beginning to read through this and prepare for classes a bit. Also running stairs to stay active; I live on the sixth floor, no elevator.