Arriving in Huadu, Guangzhou, China

I will not bore you with the details of my flight in which I had the supreme fortune of being given an exit-door seat.

I will not bore you with the details of my landing in which I had to wait an hour for my luggage, the constant dread that, perhaps, they had left my bag in the States constantly drumming against the back of my skull.

I will not bore you with the details of my drive to GDCP (Guangdong Communication Polytechnic) and nor will I bore you any longer.

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I arrived at GDCP in the afternoon, four weeks into the semester. The campus was dead, the National Holiday (which, I was never told) having started the day before and ending the next. My drive pulls up beside a basketball court full of Chinese youths eager at their play. I watch them for a brief moment as ‘Mike’ makes some calls. A number of students, all majoring in Business English, will be my guides for the duration of my 12-month contract.

You will notice in the above picture that there is a tear in the fencing around the court. My first thought was that this was evidence of the school’s poverty. It may very well be, but it serves a far more practical purpose, one that this picture does not fully highlight.

They are the only entrances.

Spaced about the court, there are roughly four holes of varying width and height (none tall enough for me to do anything less than crawl through). When it first struck me that the court had no openings, I’ll admit to a moment of claustrophobia on behalf of the athletes within. I played around with the idea of, “Do they climb out? That must smart!”

It was not until the athletes invited me in to play that I learned of the holes’ purposes, but that is a story for another time.

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Soon, I was torn away from my confusion as three of my students arrived, and we began towards my new room, one pushed towards the back of the campus. The boys were (and are) extraordinarily nice, as is everyone I have come across in Huadu thus far.

I would tell you more, but I’m hungry, and it’s breakfast. Another time.

Copyright 2015 John H. Loase


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