Category: Nicole’s Stories

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My Amazing 2017

Both personally and professionally, 2017 was an exciting and productive year. In fact, I’d have to say it was one of the best, or maybe even the best year of my life. It was a year full of fabulous travels, visiting family and friends, lots of fun times and the year I dedicated myself exclusively to developing my online English school. I am really happy to be able to follow my passion full time and help more and more people speak clear, understandable English. If you’d like to see more of my adventures, check out the slide show I’ve created.

Accent Reduction English classes Seattle

A Rockstar in China

Today I entered a new reality. It’s a reality filled with adoring fans, screaming for autographs and pictures and boys telling me I’m beautiful. They hang on my every word, even though they can’t understand what I’m saying. My name is in lights on the marquee, and there is a lavish banquet in my honor. No, this is not a dream. Strangely, this was my world today. I was taken to a middle school in another town to do a workshop for the English teachers at the school. Although the city is big, it has a small-town feel. No one has ever seen a westerner in person, and I caused quite a stir. I was the show-and-tell object of the year.

Upon arrival at the school, as we were walking to the building, the other teacher with me pointed out the marquee – yes, my name was on it as if I were a rock singer in concert. I laughed and took several pictures. I went in and gave my two-hour workshop to the teachers and things went as expected, except that as students passed by the room, they would group around the window and stare in mesmerized and giggle and chatter. When the workshop finished, things turned funnier. I was taken to various classrooms packed with children to give short motivational speeches to them to practice English, study hard, etc, etc. They cheered, they screamed, a few tried their best to ask me questions in English. As I’m quickly whisked away to another classroom, children are running down the hall after us thrusting books and pens at me. They all want me to sign their English books! Some want pictures, a few asked for hugs. All want my QQ contact info (a cell phone chat program that everyone is on in China). After that, I was taken to a restaurant in a fancy hotel, where we had an amazing dinner with 10 people and tons of wonderful and expensive food (crab, rack of lamb, etc.) I’m a celebrity here, and all because I’m foreign. I’m apparently the most exciting thing to happen in a long time. How can I ever return to the U.S. and a life of being ordinary?

mode of transport

Thrilling modes of transportation in China

E bike with mittens and wind/cold shield at LYG Normal College [/caption] There are many ways to get around in China. Of course, there are cars, buses and taxis, and we’ve often seen images of Chinese people commuting by bicycle on TV and in movies. But there’s a whole other convenient way to travel. It’s by scooter or electric bicycle. They’re better than a car because they’re very inexpensive, they can go anywhere and get you places fast, even in traffic.

I had my first experience riding as a passenger today. I had lunch downtown with several other English teachers. I took the bus, so of course got off at the wrong place, since I don’t know my way around town, and am unable to ask for directions since I am deaf, mute and illiterate here. Fortunately, I have a cell phone, so my new buddy zipped over and picked me up. I hopped on behind her and we quickly flew across town through streets and alleyways.

We were a bit off the main street, so after lunch, one of the Chinese ladies offered to give me a ride to the bus stop. This ride was more interesting. We not only rode on the street with all the other vehicles, but also the wrong way into oncoming traffic and up on the sidewalk. Watch out pedestrians – vehicles always have the right-of-way here. Driving habits are somewhat unusual here. They obey stoplights, but drive wherever there happens to be space (in the right direction, wrong direction, on the sidewalk), but they drive fairly slowly and there seems to be few traffic incidents. ​