Teaching in China

Judy Tulchin is volunteering to teach English in Xi’an, China.  Xi’an is in the heart of the country, near the Terra Cotta Warriors.  Judy recently retired from teaching, but wanted to do more. She decided to join Global Volunteers to teach English in China, and her experiences there have been life enriching.

By Judy Tulchin

November 6, 2008

It is amazing to be able to travel in a country without speaking or reading the language. Chinese people are warm and helpful--as long as you can do sign language. Yesterday I went to the beautiful History Museum and took a taxi there. I enjoyed the visit of seeing the pottery especially. When Westerners were still only developing in the Middle East, the Chinese had porcelain teacups, jugs, paper, beautiful and complicated designs on metal ware, etc. They will supersede us in this century by what I see here.

I left the museum to go back to the hotel. It was the shift change for taxis and no one would pick me up. I got out my trusty map from the hotel and began to figure out the buses. A woman who tried to sell me postcards saw me and came to help. With no language but pointing to my hotel which I had circled on the map, she takes my hand and crosses the street with me. She points to the corner and holds up her hand for the #5 bus.  Of course, I second guess her and can't find the #5 on my map but I recognize a big park near the hotel and saw the #401 went there.

I jump on the 401 and hold up my one Yuan to pay the driver. This bus is different. There is a conductor in the back and he points to her. I give her my money and she asks me where I want to go? First thought is how the heck do I know? I take the map and point to the park. She then holds up two fingers. I owe her one more Yuan! I pay and she sits me behind her. After about 30 minutes, I tap her on the shoulder and point to the door to get off. She shakes her head no. I fortunately recognize the park after another 10 minutes and stand up. She holds onto me so I won't fall as the bus jerks to a stop. The door opens and Judy jumps off, waving to her new best friend!

Walked back to the hotel. We went out to eat at the Peking Duck Restaurant again. They have a most delicious dessert. A round donut stuffed with coconut rice and served hot.

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