On Friday, my new manager came to HQ to fetch me and take me to the English First (EF) office in Wudaokou. It’s about an hour north of the Central Business District by subway. It’s located in a very large mall. Although I’ll be spending a lot time at my new office, I am still about two weeks away from teaching my first class. I have to spend a fair amount of time preparing to teach, using EF’s pedagogy and methodology.
It looks as though I picked a good time to join this office. Their annual “team building” pow-wow is next week and we’re all doing an overnight in a wilderness area called Tao Yuan Xian Gu, which translates to “peach blossom valley” and is three hours away, but that is still considered part of Beijing. My manager said that there’s a lot of drinking involved. Oh my! I don’t drink like I used to. In fact, I rarely drink at all anymore. This could get ugly.
I have the weekend off but I came into the office today, Saturday, because I need to find an apartment and this is a good base to work from. Weekends are a very busy time at EF because it’s when adults can take the time for classes. Once I start work, my “weekend” is Thursday and Friday which I quite like. A few decades ago, when I started work at Charles Schwab, I worked weekends and also had Thursday/Friday off. Takes me back to the “good old days.”
Finding living accommodations is a major hassle according to my new colleagues. Apparently, foreigners have to use an agent and everyone here calls this a “necessary evil.” I have to pay the agent a month’s rent for whatever place I end up in. I still don’t get it. I got many names of agents but I decided to contact the agent representing Wuodaokou Flats. Click on the link of you want to see what some of my options are. I am looking at getting a two-bedroom place to accommodate the expected throngs as they line up to take advantage of this unique opportunity to visit Beijing. Now accepting reservations. First come, first served!
The mall has an amazing supermarket (and it IS super). It was my first visit to such a place here. I find visiting such food markets in other countries fascinating and this place did not disappoint. It seemed to have everything for the kitchen and home. There were a variety of fruits I have only heard about, including the much maligned Durian fruit which I must taste to see if it’s as vile as I have read.
Tomorrow, Sunday, I will report on my outing to find something more suitable than a hotel room to live in.