After a morning reception/conference, at which many speeches were given, four other teachers and myself were escorted by our driver and two other gentlemen to our new home of two weeks in Nan Tong. Now, I'm not exactly sure who all of these people are that have been assigned to look after our needs but there sure seems to be a lot of them. First there is Mr. Ying who seems to be a director of something or other at Nan Tong University. He is a very fun gentleman with a great sense of humour but unfortunately, no English. There seems to be some kind
Mr. Ying and Echo
of hierarchical structure of officious people involved in our employment and he is the top person we actually get to meet but I am pretty sure someone higher up is calling the shots. Next is Ben. I'm not sure how Ben fits in but he is some kind of business man or broker here in Nan Tong and he is our go to guy for anything important. Where to go shopping, where to get a drink, how to get train tickets and he is our primary escort for any planned outings. Ben studied in London for three years and his English is excellent. Each of the five teachers also has a helper assigned to them. One of the helpers was so efficient and her spoken English was so good that Mr. Ying quickly asked her to stay in our hotel with us to help all of us as needed. Echo has been an amazing guide, interpreter and helper for all of us. She is our twenty year old babysitter! I also have Kevin assigned as my personal assistant. Kevin's english is not very good but every morning he escorts me to the bus to go to the University where we teach. He carries my bags, has a bottle of water for me if I look the least bit thirsty, he sets up my computer in class, takes my attendance, fixes the lights and makes sure I am always where I am supposed to be....I want Kevin to come back to Canada and live with me always!
Nantong sports complex. My home for two weeks!
Our home for these two weeks is actually a stadium which is affectionately known as "The Little Nest" in honour of the Olympic stadium in Beijing. Our rooms our situated around the outside of the stadium with the playing field in the centre. As I leave my wing or hall I walk through the stair area where visitors for events would walk to get to their seats into the next hall where there is a dining area with private eating rooms for the VIPs - us!