Today we're headed to Wudaokou to look at apartments. We met up with this realtor yesterday and struggled with some form of communication, which was vaguely successful. He ended up marching straight to this British girl's apartment who lived in the building and translating through her, as she has been living here for seven years, speaks perfect Mandarin, and says he is the best realtor she knows of with the fairest prices. Today he is going to show us several apartments, so I'm really excited. Wudaokou is THE English teaching neighborhood, and most schools are located here.
Also, I might be picking up tutoring jobs and working like that for a while. I'd like to work 10 hours a week with a cram school or English prep school, then tutor another 10 hours. The pay would be even better than if I get a 40 hour teaching job with a public school. This way I could study Chinese easily and get a tutor for that, or do a language exchange and learn Chinese for free.
Two days ago, I got a cellphone with the help of this guy from Hong Kong, Pietros. He is studying Mandarin and will be here for a few more months. It was a very Chinese process to get the phone: you wait in a long line to sit at a counter where a woman asks you if you text message or call more often. Then you pick your number, which vary tremendously based on what numbers are present. (eg. Fours are very unlucky since the sound for four is the same sound for death, so numbers with many fours are cheapest.) Needless to say, I have several fours in my number. Then you get your sim card and buy a phone, which you must haggle like mad for. The whole process takes several hours.
It's been amazing so far, certainly a challenge, but incredibly rewarding. Every small victory feels so good. I'm really just so happy to be here.